Style: In Defence Of... Modernism

Machine Books
Free Sample

This series is about style.

Philosopher Georg Lukacs described the style of a piece of work as the attempt to reproduce one's view of the world within it. Looked at in this way, he says, style ceases to be a formalistic category but rather, “it is rooted in content; it is the specific form of a specific content.” After all, style is not technique, but ought to convey an intention. Sociologist Georg Simmel said that style is the aesthetic attempt to provide a “unifying encompassing context”.

This series is about the content and context of style.

Undoubtedly, it will irritate and enthuse but it is intended to be a fillip for our contemporary era in which style is often equated with fashion - where style can be dismissed in order to avoid dealing with its essence. Therefore these essays are not style over substance, but the very substance of style.

The De Stijl manifesto of 1918 argued that the liberal arts should engage in a dialogue to create a new “wisdom of life”. The robustness of these essays suggests that such an ambition still resonates. Such an exchange can still appear vital and captivating.

Each Style: In Defence Of… confronts us with new ideas for contemplation and critique. We hope that minds might be open to critically engage with each of these polemical bulletins. In so doing, we might reasonably formulate what we stand for.

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Additional information

Publisher
Machine Books
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Published on
13 Oct 2015
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Pages
12
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Language
English
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Genres
Architecture / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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By 2025, China will have built fifteen new 'supercities' each with 25 million inhabitants. It will have created 250 'Eco-cities' as well: clean, green, car-free, people-friendly, high-tech urban centres. From the edge of an impending eco-catastrophe, we are arguably witnessing history's greatest environmental turnaround - an urban experiment that may provide valuable lessons for cities worldwide.

Whether or not we choose to believe the hype – there is little doubt that this is an experiment that needs unpicking, understanding, and learning from. Austin Williams, The Architectural Review's China correspondent, explores the progress and perils of China's vast eco-city program, describing the complexities which emerge in the race to balance the environment with industrialisation, quality with quantity, and the liberty of the individual with the authority of the Chinese state. Lifting the lid on the economic and social realities of the Chinese blueprint for eco-modernisation, Williams tells the story of China's rise, and reveals the pragmatic, political and economic motives that lurk behind the successes and failures of its eco-cities.

Will these new kinds of urban developments be good, humane, healthy places? Can China find a 'third way' in which humanity, nature, economic growth and sustainability are reconciled? And what lessons can we learn for our own vision of the urban future?

This is a timely and readable account which explores a range of themes – environmental, political, cultural and architectural – to show how the eco-city program sheds fascinating light on contemporary Chinese society, and provides a lens through which to view the politics of sustainability closer to home.
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