Modern Movement Heritage by A. Cunningham

By A. Cunningham

This choice of essays serves as an advent to trendy architectural historical past and the explicit difficulties concerning the conservation of contemporary constructions. It covers coverage, making plans and development. a range of case stories elaborates on those matters and illustrates how difficulties were addressed. This quantity celebrates the 1st five years of DoCoMoMo's function and effect during this vital region of establishing conservation.

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Conversely our grandfathers’ emphasis on modern architecture’s functional and economic justifications contrasts poignantly with our own embarrassment over the technical and operational validity of MoMo buildings—confronted as we are by the bleak track record of their actual performance in so many cases. Banham was careful to distinguish between the European and the American ‘take’ on technology-the force for artistic abstraction versus the harbinger of operational liberation—citing Buckminster Fuller’s devastating critique of the International Style and its Bauhaus adherents.

There is something very appealing, even sensual in a building which is gradually becoming a ruin. Such a building does reveal the influence of the passing of time, it reminds us of the fleeing away of the past. It thus awakes very strongly—much stronger than a historical building which has been restored—our awareness of history, of past generations, of people living and dying before us. Tschumi however was not the first to offer such an observation. When the historical restoration of old buildings emerged as a common practice in the nineteenth century, John Ruskin was a declared opponent of the whole enterprise.

Therefore it seems to make sense not only to consider the consequences of listing a building but, equally, what the level of urgency for action is. Is the urgency immediate, is short term attention required, or is attention in the longer term sufficient? Since preservation is directly related to economic interest and financial means, important buildings can disappear overnight, notwithstanding democratically approved legislation or bureaucratic safeguards. Gone is gone. The case of GIL building at Campobasso in Italy is a striking example.

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