Postmodernism: Uses of Language in Architecture 5/5

Date: Wednesday 25 May 1977
Time: 18:00
Venue: Art Net
Running time: 54 mins

Charles Jencks defends the use of the hybrid term 'postmodernism', expanding upon his much-cited statement that 'Modern Architecture died in St Louis, Missouri on July 15, 1972 at 3.32 p.m. (or thereabouts)' when several of the slab blocks of the Pruitt-Igoe scheme were demolished. Jencks argues that the 'crisis in architecture' identified by Malcolm MacEwen intersects with a credibility gap in the relationship between modern architecture and the public. For Jencks, where modernism was exclusive, postmodernism is inclusive - its dialectical momentum capable of including a place for modernism. Extending this argument, Jencks explores the usefulness of discussing architecture as a language. Analyzing the clumsy semiotics of certain modernist and late modern buildings, he notes the shift in postmodern architecture towards a double coding that freely incorporates the elitist elements of modernism with more traditional and popular tastes.

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