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Title: Architectural design, 1954-1972
Author: Parnell, Steve
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis examines the architectural magazine's contribution to the writing of modern architectural history using the magazine Architectural Design (AD) as a case study. There are four main narratives to this research, one "grand" and three "micro"; The overarching grand narrative (or meta-narrative) is the proposal to replace the existing art historical formulation of architectural history with a more holistic understanding of history based on power struggles in the field of architecture. This strategy is derived from an application of Pierre Bourdieu's theoretical framework to the field of architectural cultural production. The position of the architectural magazine as an institution in the construction of the architectural profession, and the ever-changing definition of architecture is one underlying micro-narrative. The introduction discusses the role that the architectural magazine played in the emergence of the modern architectural profession, alongside other institutions, specifically the academy and professional bodies. The central, and largest, micro-narrative is a critical history of the magazine Architectural Design from 1954 to 1972. Brief biographies of its editors and a background to the magazine from its inception in 1930 up to 1953 precede this by way of contextualisation. This history of AD discusses the content and context of the magazine and traces its shift from a professional architectural magazine to an autonomous. "little" magazine, focussing on several key structural themes that underpin the magazine. Throughout, the role that AD played in the promotion of the post-war neo-avant-garde, in particular the New Brutalists and Archigram, is documented and the relationships between the small circle of people privileged to produce and contribute to the magazine, and AD's rivalry with the Architectural Review are highlighted. The final micro-narrative is a reading of post-war modem architectural history from 1954 to 1972 through the pages of AD, tracing the rise and demise of modem architecture in terms of three defining shifts from the period evident in the magazine: "high to low"; "building to architecture"; and "hard to soft". This period also coincides exactly with the life of the Pruitt Igoe housing blocks in SI. Louis whose demolition, according to Jencks, represented the death of modern architecture. A growing post-modern sensibility in architecture is manifest in the magazine through an increasing resistance to modernist thinking. This study consciously employs post-modern methodologies to a period of modern architecture in an attempt to disturb modernist mythologies that have ossified into history.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available