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This paper argues that the alliance between cinema and design can maximise the environmental and social sensitivity of architecture to address urbanisation beyond technoscientific faith.

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The Modern Nostalgia: Architecture, Autonomy, Philosophy

Studies in History and Theory of Architecture
Seasoned Modernism. Prudent Perspectives on an Unwary Past • vol. 7/2019

The autonomy of architecture was retroactively formulated during the third decade of the twentieth century, by the historian Emil Kaufmann, as the analogy between Claude-Nicolas Ledoux’s architecture and Immanuel Kant’s philosophy. Autonomy was given a new impulse during the second half of the twentieth century, this time advocating the return to the discipline, and aiming to counter the creative crisis of architecture, the technoscientific approaches and the degradation of the modern city.

The introduction of the term “autonomy” into architecture attests to the presence of the past in any new formulation by initiating a rational genealogy that linked Ledoux, Le Corbusier and Aldo Rossi through the sociopolitical dimension of architecture and the echoes of the modern sensibility of the Enlightenment during the twentieth century. The deep cultural roots of architectural autonomy and modernism synthesized the transition from an old tradition to a new beginning. Thus, the question is not which modernism is dead or alive. Instead, we should simply strive to be modern, because our processes of cultural renewal must be persistent rather than exclusive to any historical period.


Perfect Horror: A philosophical provocation on Ludwig Hilberseimer’s Hochhausstadt (1924)

Harvard Graduate School of Design
Platform 9: Still Life

Ludwig Hilberseimer’s Hochhausstadt is a theoretical urban scheme with architectural character. Reality was assumed as what it is, to provide an alternative to the chaos of the metropolis. The Real was understood as a defeat, while the urban project was presented as a potential remedy for our ills. What if we just simply assume failure as fate? Look around. Perfect Horror is a provocation, a reflection on the implicit success of failure and the tacit failure of success.


Ecological Urbanism
Mohsen Mostafavi, Gareth Doherty (eds.)

(Collaboration as Research Assistant)

Excerpt from Lars Müller Publishers

While climate change, sustainable architecture and green technologies have become increasingly topical issues, concerns regarding the sustainability of the city are rarely addressed. The premise of Ecological Urbanism is that an ecological approach is urgently needed both as a remedial device for the contemporary city and an organizing principle for new cities.

Ecological Urbanism, now in an updated edition with over forty new projects, considers the city using multiple instruments and with a worldview that is fluid in scale and disciplinary focus. Design provides the synthetic key to connecting ecology with an urbanism that is not in contradiction with its environment.

The book brings together practitioners, theorists, economists, engineers, artists, policymakers, scientists and public health specialists, with the goal of providing a multilayered, diverse and nuanced understanding of ecological urbanism and how it might evolve in the future. The promise is nothing short of a new ethics and aesthetics of the urban.


Morphologic: la cualidad espacial de la densidad de población
Morphologic: The Spatial Quality of Population Density

Architecture Magazine of San Pablo CEU University, Madrid, Spain, Constelaciones n° 3, 2015. ISSN: 2340-177x

La ciudad y su arquitectura se difuminan cuando el proceso de urbaniza-ción se impone sobre la definición de la forma arquitectónica a través de los flujos continuos de información que hoy en día caracterizan nuestra vida en sociedad. La ciudad de los sistemas se contrapone su propia estructura es-pacial. Este ensayo propone una metodología que reconcilia la densidad de población y sus implicaciones socioeconómicas y políticas, con la forma de la ciudad, a través de una nueva manera de medir patrones de concentra-ción de población capaz de definir el espacio construido y por consiguiente el espacio público, a través de los tipos arquitectónicos.La ciudad parece quedar atrapada en el pragmatismo de un método cuantitativo que contradictoriamente, lejos de consolidar, colapsa con-ceptualmente el tiempo y la estructura espacial de la ciudad y cuyo ob-jetivo es cuestionar la manera en que construimos, física y teóricamente, la ciudad del siglo XXI

The city and its architecture vanish when the urbanization process prevails over the definition of the architectural form through conti-nuous flows of information that nowadays define our lives. The city of the systems confronts its own spatial structure. This essay proposes a methodology that reconciles population density, and its socioeco-nomic and political implications, with the form of the city, through a new way of measuring patterns of population concentration able to define the built space, and therefore the public space, through the architectural types.The city seems trapped in the pragmatism of a quantitative method that, as a contradiction, instead of consolidating, collapses the time and the spatial structure of the city conceptually and which main goal is to question the way we build, physically and theoretically, the city of the 21st century.

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Nicholas Hawksmoor
London Churches

Edited by Mohsen Mostafavi
With photographs by Hélène Binet

(Collaboration as Research Assistant)

Excerpt from Lars Müller Publishers

British architect Nicholas Hawksmoor (approx. 1661–1736) is recognized as one of the major contributors to the traditions of British and European architectural culture. Nevertheless, there is insufficient visual documentation and analysis of his work. Nicholas Hawksmoor: London Churches reconsiders his architecture in relation to urbanism. The publication focuses on a series of important London churches the architect designed during the early part of the eighteenth century. The key distinguishing features of these churches are their spires, each designed with different qualities and motifs. While Hawksmoor was inspired by the ancient history of architecture, his work was considered radical and contemporary in its day.

Photographer Hélène Binet was specially commissioned to document the various aspects of the seven remaining London churches. Her immaculate black and white photographs demonstrate the beauty of Hawksmoor’s architecture with special attention to the variety of scales, sites, interiors, textures, and materials.

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