The 1960s and 1970s avant-garde has been likened to an ‘architectural Big Bang’, such was the intensity of energy and ambition in which it exploded into the postwar world. Marked out by architectural projects that redefined the discipline, it remains just as influential today. References to the likes of Archizoom, Peter Eisenman, John Hejduk and Superstudio abound. Highly diverse, the avant-garde cannot be defined as a single strand or tendency. It was divergent geographically – reaching from Europe to North America and Japan – and in its political, formal and cultural preoccupations. It was unified, though, as a critical and experimental force, critiquing contemporary society against the backdrop of extreme social and political upheaval: the Paris riots of May 1968, the anti-Vietnam war movement in America and the looming ecological crisis.
Re-imagining the Avant-garde outlines how in contemporary architectural practice, avant-garde projects retain their power as historical precedents, as barometers of a particular design ethos, as critiques of society and instigators of new formal techniques. Given the far-reaching impact of the subsequent digital revolution, which has since reshaped every aspect of practice, the issue asks why this historical period continues to retain its undeniable grip on current architecture.
Contributors: Pablo Bronstein and Sam Jacob, Sarah Deyong, Stylianos Giamarelos, Damjan Jovanovic, Andrew Kovacs, Perry Kulper, Igor Marjanovic, William Menking, Michael Sorkin, Neil Spiller and Mimi Zeiger.
Featured architects: Archizoom, Andrea Branzi, Jimenez Lai, Luis Miguel (Koldo) Lus Arana (Klaus), NEMESTUDIO, Superstudio and UrbanLab.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Enduring Experiments: How the Architectural Avant-Garde Lives On
Chapter 2 Superstudio as Super-Office: The Labour of Radical Design
Chapter 3 Function Follows Form: Some Affinities Between Pure Icons, Hardcore Architecture
Chapter 4 Avant-Garde in the Age of Identity: Alvin Boyarsky, the Architectural Association and the Impact of Pedagogy
Chapter 5 The Little Big Planet of Architectural Imagination: An Interview with NEMESTUDIO’s Neyran Turan
Chapter 6 Feedback Loops: Or, Past Futures Haunt Architecture’s Present
Chapter 7 ArChapterive of Affinities: Making Architecture from Architecture
Chapter 8 Avant-Garde Legacies: A Spirited Flâneur
Chapter 9 System Cities: Building a ‘Quantitative Utopia’
Chapter 10 The Function of Utopia
Chapter 11 Feverish Delirium: Surrealism, Deconstruction and Numinous Presences
Chapter 12 Behind the Wheel: Charles Darwin and Superstudio Do the Driving
Chapter 13 Play it Again: In Conversation with Architect Sam Jacob and Artist Pablo Bronstein
Chapter 14 Architecture Between the Panels: Comics, Cartoons and Graphic Narrative in the (New) Neo Avant-Garde
Chapter 15 Copying as Cultural Iconoclasm
Chapter 16 Anticipating the Digital: The Game of Supersurface
Chapter 17 Counterpoint – What Comes After the Avant-Garde?