Situating the Modern

From National Romanticism to Critical Regionalism, architecture\’s ability to evoke a sense of place, locality or identity has been valued as a form of resistance to the homogenizing effects of supra-national, \’international\’ and/or global discourses. At the same time, preoccupations with place or culture have also informed \’invented traditions\’ of all sorts – formal/ stylistic appropriations of vernacular precedents for modern identity politics in the service of colonialism, nationalism and/or tourism/theme parks. This lecture course offers a historical overview of the evolution, politics and aesthetics of regionalist thought in architecture over the last century, addressing the ambiguity between its \’critical\’ and \’folkloric\’ dimensions. With a cross-cultural perspective that transcends the western/non-western binary, it focuses on particular geographies that have been paradigmatic in the development of regionalist theories and practices across the globe. Topics include National Romanticism in Nordic countries, North American regionalism, the Mediterranean in interwar modernism, nationalist appropriations of vernacular traditions in Anatolia and the Balkans, the significance of the Tropics in post-WWII modernism (especially Latin America, Caribbean, the Middle East and the Subcontinent) and more recent discussions of \’landscape urbanism\’, \’vernacular modernism\’ and \’situated cosmopolitanism\’ which engage critically with the effects of globalization. Lectures will be complemented by discussion of key figures/ texts including Mumford, Rudofsky, Oliver, Belluschi, Drew and Fry, Norberg-Schulz, Frampton, Lefaivre-Tzonis, Colquhoun, Cronon and Waldheim.