In his 1983 now-classic essay Towards a Critical Regionalism, Six Points of an Architecture of Resistance, Kenneth Frampton discussed an alternative approach to architecture, one defined by climate, topography and tectonics, as a form of resistance to the placeness of Modern Architecture and the gratuitous ornamentation of Postmodernism. An architectural attitude, Critical Regionalism proposed an architecture that would embrace global influences while firmly rooted in its context. The following explores the value and contribution of Frampton’s ideas for contemporary architecture.
Kenneth Frampton: The Latest Architecture and News
The Royal Architecture Institute of Canada awarded the 2021 Gold Medal to the architectural duo Brigitte Shim and A. Howard Sutcliffe. The distinction is a recognition of the architects' long-lasting and pivotal contribution to Canadian architecture.
Architecture has deep wells of research, thought, and theory that are unseen on the surface of a structure. For practitioners, citizens interested, and students alike, books on architecture offer invaluable context to the profession, be it practical, inspirational, academic, or otherwise. So, for those of you looking to expand your bookshelf (or confirm your own tastes), ArchDaily has gathered a broad list of architectural books that we consider of interest to those in the field.
In compiling this list, we sought out titles from different backgrounds with the aim of revealing divergent cultural contexts. From essays to monographs, urban theory to graphic novels, each of the following either engage directly with or flirt on the edges of architecture.
The books on this list were chosen by our editors, and are categorized loosely by type. Read on to see the books we consider valuable to anyone interested in architecture | Last updated in December 2019.
British architect, historian, critic and educator Kenneth Frampton has been announced as this year’s recipient of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2018 Venice Biennale. The decision was made by the Board of The Venice Biennale chaired by Paolo Baratta, upon recommendation from the Biennale’s curators, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects.
Having studied at the Architectural Association in London, Frampton has taught at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University, New York since 1972. He has also lectured at several leading institutions, including ETH Zurich, the Royal College of Art in London, and the Berlage Institute in Amsterdam. Perhaps his most influential work, “Modern Architecture: A Critical History,” was described by Biennale President Paulo Baratta as a book which “no student of the faculties of architecture is unfamiliar with.”
In a recent interview with Metropolis Magazine, Kenneth Frampton answered questions about his existing architectural influence and his opinion as it relates to the direction of architectural theory and criticism. Frampton has long been a prominent voice in the world of architectural theory and writing. He has taught at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) since 1972, all the while publishing a large collection of critical essays and books on the topic of 20th-century architecture—the most notable of those being his 1983 essay “Towards a Critical Regionalism: Six Points for an Architecture of Resistance.”
Even today, Frampton's evaluation of critical regionalism is still widely appreciated. In the interview, Frampton admits that he now sees the influence of critical regionalism primarily outside of "the Anglo-American world," but he believes that the implied importance of a "direct democracy" is what he sees as most beneficial.
Until April 30th, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark is exhibiting the work of Wang Shu. The first in a new series of monographic exhibitions collectively titled "The Architect's Studio," this show of the work of the 2012 Pritzker Prize winner features an exhibition catalog that includes essays from Kenneth Frampton, Ole Bouman, Yiping Dong and Aric Chen. The following excerpt from the exhibition catalog, written by Kenneth Frampton, is republished here with the permission of the author and publisher.
The work of the Amateur Architecture Studio has come into being in categorical opposition to the recent, rapacious development that has engulfed large tracts of the Chinese continent, and which was first set in motion by Deng Xiaoping’s 1983 decision to open up the People’s Republic of China to foreign trade, first with special economic zones and later with regard to the entire country. Based in Hangzhou, Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu have witnessed firsthand the juggernaut of maximizing Chinese modernization from its impact on their own city. Three decades ago, Hangzhou had been expressly chosen by them as a desirable place in which to live and work, largely because of its venerable artistic traditions and its harmonious report with nature, symbolized for them by the virtually sacred West Lake, set in the very heart of the city and traversed, then as now, by the flat-bottomed boats plying across its surface. Wang Shu’s unique sensibility takes as its point of departure the equally panoramic tranquility of traditional Chinese painting. As Wang Shu has written:
“I am always amazed by these paintings when I see that the trees, the buildings and mountains are not just placed haphazardly... every building is laid out in a certain way in relation to the landscape and the trees, the direction it faces depending on the light and the features of the location, which make it suitable for human habitation.”
This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Kenneth Frampton on the Art & Artifice of Architectural Models."
For decades, students at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, & Preservation signed up for Kenneth Frampton’s legendary class, Studies in Tectonic Culture. The course tasked students with creating realistic representations of buildings “as a pedagogical exploration of the history of architectural tectonics”—and the models long spilled into the hallways of the architecture school before being hidden away in the archives.
Now, the Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery has decided to pull some of these models out from obscurity and display them in a whole new light for the show Stagecraft: Models and Photos, which opened February 9th. Produced during the 1990s and early 2000s, the models are of significant 20th-century buildings around the world, from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Samuel Freeman House to Peter Zumthor’s St. Benedict Chapel.
Update: We've added links to help you find these books for purchase and, in 5 of 8 cases, tracked down a way you can read them online for free!
Quality over quantity, so the saying goes. With so many concepts floating around the architectural profession, it can be difficult to keep up with all the ideas which you're expected to know. But in architecture and elsewhere, the most memorable ideas are often the ones that can be condensed textually: “form follows function,” “less is more,” “less is a bore.” Though slightly longer than three words, the following lists a selection of texts that don’t take too long to read, but impart long-lasting lessons, offering you the opportunity to fill gaps in your knowledge quickly and efficiently. Covering everything from loos to Adolf Loos, the public to the domestic, and color to phenomenology, read on for eight texts to place on your reading list:
Reflections on Architecture, Society and Politics: Social and Cultural Tectonics in the 21st Century
Reflections on Architecture, Society and Politics brings together a series of thirteen interview-articles by Graham Cairns in collaboration with some of the most prominent polemic thinkers and critical practitioners from the fields of architecture and the social sciences, including Noam Chomsky, Peggy Deamer, Robert A.M. Stern, Daniel Libeskind and Kenneth Frampton.
Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) hosts a conversation among five of the most influential contemporary Japanese architects: Toyo Ito, Kazuyo Sejima, Sou Fujimoto, Akihisa Hirata and Junya Ishigami. Moderated by Columbia GSAPP professors Jeffrey Inaba and Kenneth Frampton, the conversation aims to explore the relationships and creative exchanges among this prominent group of architects and designers.
Urbanization is more than the growth and physical expansion of cities. It is a process that transforms territories, changes existing reciprocities and establishes new relationships between different places. In the Shadow of the Megacity will address the wider impact of urbanization, both within and beyond the city, in an attempt to trace the present contours of the urban and imagine its future.
Global, the Winter 2014 issue of ArchitectureBoston magazine, out now, is an examination of the challenges and opportunities facing architects working abroad, from the Middle East to Africa to Asia. The topics explored in this issue include how to value resource-constrained approaches, honor local vernacular, and learn from the urbanization precedents set in other parts of the world. In this article, Jay Wickersham FAIA examines how in a globalized market, architecture firms can take steps to ensure that their designs act in the best interests of the foreign communities they affect.
The signs of architecture’s globalization are all around us. Foreign students flock to Boston to study architecture, prominent buildings are designed by foreign architects, American firms build practices around international projects. Globalization has allowed architects to work outside their own regions and cultures, at a scale and with a freedom of design they might never enjoy at home. But beneath the excitement and glamour of international practice, I sense an unease. Are we creating vital and original new architectures, or are we homogenizing cities and landscapes and obliterating regional differences? Are architects helping to strengthen and develop the economies of host communities, or are they acting as unwitting tools of inequality and repression?
Following the highly anticipated world premiere of Archiculture (watch here!), Arbuckle Industries has now shared with us the first of over 30 never-before-seen full length interviews with some of the industry’s leading practitioners, all discussing the profession and how we are or should be training the next generation of designers.
“A painter is a magician that immobilizes time.” - Iberê Camargo
The Fundação Iberê Camargo, which received a Golden Lion at the 2002 Venice Biennale of Architecture, is Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza's first project in Brazil. It serves as an architectural exemplar not only for the city of Porto Alegre, but also for the entire country of Brazil. Defined by Siza as "quasi-arquitecture" -- with careful explorations of light, texture, movement and space--the building cultivates a direct relationship between the viewer and the artwork, and, in turn, allows visitors to richly come into contact with Iberê's (one of the great names of twentieth-century Brazilian art) work.
"Architects don't invent anything, they just transform reality." - Álvaro Siza
The first in Brazil to use white concrete--seen around the entire exterior-- the building does not use any bricks. The visitor is guided through a trajectory of descent throughout the building via ramps in the nine exhibition halls. The monolith is supported by massive slabs, pillars and beams. No detail escaped the hands of the architect; the furniture and signage were also designed by Siza.
Last week, the project was nominated as one of seven finalists in the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP). Now in its first edition, and with a distinguished jury (Francisco Liernur, Sarah Whiting, Wiel Arets, Dominique Perrault, e Kenneth Frampton), the MCHAP recognizes exceptional architecture built in the first 13 years of the 21st century.
With this news, we are presenting an extensive set of photos of this important project, realized and generously shared by one of the world's most important architecture photographers: Fernando Guerra of FG+SG - Últimas reportagens.
Story written by Joanna Helm for ArchDaily Brasil. Translated by Becky Quintal.
Scroll to see Guerra's beautiful images of the Fundação Iberê Camargo:
We caught up with Kenneth Frampton earlier this week at the event to announce the finalists of the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) in Santiago, Chile. Beyond asking him about the MCHAP jury's selection process, we took a moment to ask our classic ArchDaily question: what is architecture? Listen to his answer in the video above, or read the transcript of his answer after the break.
To determine the finalists, the five jury members - Francisco Liernur, Sarah Whiting, Wiel Arets, Dominique Perrault, and Kenneth Frampton - spent the last twelve days visiting projects, speaking with the architects, users and owners of the spaces, and entering into intense debate among each other.
As jury member Dominique Perrault noted, “There’s a lot of means by which to evaluate projects - models, drawings, images - but we took all opportunities to test the quality of the architecture. In the end, only by visiting can you sense the ‘touch of god’ - the presence of the building itself in the context.”
The resulting finalists show tremendous variety - in terms of scale, place, typology, program, materials, etc. - making the task of choosing a winner all the more challenging. See all seven finalists, as well as a video of Kenneth Frampton discussing the selection process, after the break.