Style: In Defence Of... Classicism

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
14 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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Taking the break-up of the Soviet Union and the entry of Russia, China and India into the global market as the start of a new era of globalisation, Robert Adam compares new developments in architecture and urban design with major shifts in the balance of power since 1990.

Based on the principle that design unavoidably follows social change, politics and economics, this analysis casts a new light on recent architecture. Starting with the lead up to events in the 1990s, links are established between the global dominance of the North Atlantic economies, architectural style and a dramatic increase in international architectural practice. The widely-observed homogeneity of the global consumer economy is examined in relation to branding, tourism and international competition between cities, and parallels are drawn with universal architectural and urban types, iconic architecture and the rise of the star architect. Contrasting pressures to maintain differences are identified in the break-up of nation states, identity politics, targeted marketing and environmentalism, and these are related to attempts to reinforce local identity through architecture and urban design.

Using social, political and economic change as a guide to new directions in architecture and urban design, the book ends by tracing the changes in global power revealed by the 2008 Western financial crash and its immediate impact on the built environment. By comparing past patterns of cultural influence, the book speculates on how architecture and urban design may come to reflect wider global trends.

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