Paradigms of authorship seams to be inbred in concept of architectural practice. Authorship issue has become a significant problem in architecture from 15th century with more then one thing interrupting better understanding of the complexity of it, especially with all the modernist movements of 20th century.
Charles Jencks is famous architectural historian with a special interest in post-modernism, as well as a landscape architect and cultural theorist. His started his history with design in the wood studio. In his writing he presents an overlook on the shift from modern to postmodern architecture. In his book ” The language of post-modern architecture” the author attempts to analyse the change in architectural design from the first reactions to the Bauhaus pioneers in its post-war revolution to the 20th century. Jencks states that the post war victory of first generation of modernist was strongly led by Mies van Der Rohe as well as Le Corbusier and Gropius followed by such a big names like Peri (Pei) or Bunshaft. Despite very descriptive title his main intentions are not very clear as he seams to fail to develop the concept of “the language” of post modern architecture or just simply explain it clearly enough . The name post-modern was created by understanding that post modernism would be clearly a strong departure from modernism and the author defends that concept on many grounds. The book written in 1977 presents the point of view that the new coming style and approach called post- modernism is still about to appear. He divides that process to three stages: the Death of Modernism, The Modes of Architecture Communication, and the last one, Post Modern Architecture. All of them very generously illustrated in Black and white as well as colour.
The author’s comments on architectural forms are perceptive, bright and funny. His attempt to best capture the architectural movements of 20th century in they whole complexity deserves acknowledgment. The attention to architectural metaphors is extremely interesting but he use very small audience for his analysis, consisted only from his fellow colleagues, architects, critics and students, while strongly avoiding looking at the larger context but important to understand that the label dose not matter but the concept, idea does. Looking at his narrow definition of Modernism and his strict view of the architecture of that period and his argument for emerging new concept, he fails to demonstrate the existence of such a language.
“There are professions more harmful then industrial design, but only a few of them.… designers have become a dangerous breed.” (Papanek, 1972, p.14)
The opening line from Papanek’s book is as provocative these days as it was in 1971 when “the Design for the Real World” was published. The author worked on the book from 1963 and most of the writing took place in Scandinavia where he was at the time a guest lecturer at the couple of design schools like one in Stockholm or Helsinki. His persistency in need for a change in the design philosophy with a strong point on sustainability forced a change in the design vision and influenced the 60’s strong faith in progress and innovation driven by countless developments in science and technology that have been changing modern design since industrial revolution to take another turn and from consumer activism to move towards environmentalism.
Panapek was a designer and theoretician as well a laude critic of consumer culture and a strong advocate for an ecologically and socially responsible design. In his book he presents the belief that designers are to much focused on aesthetics. He also tries to redefine the meaning of design by saying that “design is the conscious effort to impose meaningful order”.
Interestingly sometimes Papanek may seam to be a bit confrontational if your point of view doesn’t line up with his, especially when talking about designing obsolescence and disproportions in the world’s wealth. Papanek presents the idea where design is incorporated in many areas of life to serve less fortunate and where designers give their time to help others, in a few words he describes design as an act of creativity involved in solving a problem. The book contains some great insights, especially in regards to possibilities and power of multi disciplinary teams and collaborative work as well as critical facts about important issues of different design project.
The two different perspectives in terms of looking at the design industry and two approaches to how to move forward.
Respectively the book by Victor Papanek and the views of Charles Jencks both influenced the issue of authorship in different ways.
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