br Theoretical framework br Design
Design research projects
Banham and modernity In architectural context, modernity is defined more often by examples than by theories. Consequently, there are idiosyncrasies in its movement. Functionalism stands out from such idiosyncrasies (Sharp, 2002: 4; Benevolo, 1977: 436; Dean and Zevi, 1983; Birkert, 1994: 3). Reyner Banham is one of many architectural historians who unveils and supports functionalism. He recalls the 1850s decree of Horatio Greenough: “Beauty is the promise of function” (Whiteley, 2003: 295). In this sense, the history of architecture is neither a record of stylistic development nor a chronicle of most celebrated buildings. With this position, the notion of architecture at that time is in question. Banham quotes this to challenge for a reformulation of history of architecture in dealing with contemporary circumstances. What is modernism in architecture? Studies on modernism in architecture have been presented in several publications. Rykwert (1983) argues that the essential idea of modernism had been posed since the 18th century in French Academy. Accordingly, the French intellectuals and architects ranging from Claude Perrault to Nicholas Louis-Durand, have already put the Vitruvian Greco-Roman architectural doctrine in question; here, modernism is understood in the broadest sense of the words as the awareness of the contemporary world in the context of practice and technique. For Banham, the question on modernity is neither rhetorical nor prophetic, either in content or in tone. He takes the question seriously, which leads to an intricate investigation into the possibility of technology. History and hop over to this site of architecture in Banham\'s mind are indispensably inquisitive rather than a dry, dispassionate, and uncritical narrative. As far as the history and theory of modern architecture is concerned, no one is idiosyncratically able to talk and write about it without going through Banham\'s positions and expositions. As one of the most profound theorists and historians on functionalism in the Age of Machine Aesthetics, the relation of Banham to modernism in architecture is seemingly neither a “father and son” relationship nor a “subject and object” binary, but nerve net might be properly said as a co-existential pair of the 20th century architectural history. To certain extent, Banham is more than just an observer and a witness of historical movement of modern architecture. Properly speaking and regarding his rigorous scholarship, Banham is probably one of the best references of knowledge, power and subject of modernity in architectural history. As an editor of Architectural Review (1952), Banham is the man in action in polemics and debates on contemporary architecture in Western world. The approach to Banham\'s works in this study is considerably hermeneutical by which Banham\'s concepts and its modern contextuality will be necessarily dismantled and unfolded for their intrinsic and explicit meanings and significances. By nature, the study is to make modernism a case based upon Banham\'s passion in the dynamic relationship between technological innovations and artistic endeavours that happens and makes a history for the presence of architecture. This study will emphasize its analysis in an explorative way that enables one to see the interplay between power, knowledge, and subject in Western industrial and capitalist cultures. The goal of this study is to uncover and to unfold Banham\'s vision on history of architecture as the immediate future of comprehensive ecosystems, instead of dated works in classified styles by names of architects (Banham, 2009: xxxiv). In order to achieve this goal, this study will handle three categories of architectural presence: function, technology, and aesthetics. These threefold presence will be studied with respect to Banham\'s thoughts, positions, commentaries, notes, and unspoken messages.