Critical Regionalsim

Topics: Modernism, Postmodernism, International style Pages: 23 (4710 words) Published: April 2, 2013
Page number:


Early Modernism


International Style


Post Modernism


Introduction into explaining critical regionalism:




-post-modern regionalism


Critical regionalism


Buildings and architects


- Marika Alderton House- Glen Murcutt
- Beach House- OMM Architects
Modernist others:
- Falling waters- Frank Lloyd Wright
- Saynaysalo Town Hall- Alvar Aalto
Further Examples:
- Kandalama Hotel- Geoffrey Bawa
-San Cristobal Stables- Luis Barragan
-Ocean Swimming Pool- Alvaro Siza
-Greenwood House- Norman Eaton






After the introduction of modernism to America in 1929 at an exhibition held by Phillip Johnson, the International style was born. This was found with much criticism from critics, architects and the general public who felt that they were living, working and moving around a sterile built environment.

Post modernism tried to counter this issue, but was also found to have many problems of its own in the over-ambitious, form based architecture that was being produced. As a reaction thereto, in the 1980’s, architectural theorists Lianne Le Faivre and Alexander Tzanis set a theoretical framework, highlighting the principles found in the architects work that seemed to be successful in producing an architecture that was using modernism aspects, but making it place specific, all creating somewhat beautiful architecture. Critical regionalism is a principle idea rather than a style. It sets up a critical analysis of the site and allows a design to be created specific to the issues of the site. Critical Regionalism embraces the ideas of a rational, functional building but also embraces the contextual forces of the topography, climate and culture. The reactive philosophy is critical, because it is both a critique of globalism and regionalism, and highlights the positive and negative aspects of both.

Critical regionalism is a post modern architecture, in that it is a reaction to the issues of modernist architecture, but must not be confused with Post-Modern architecture. It is important to first understand where critical regionalism sits in relation to what is happening architecturally and globally around that time. The architectural theoretical framework of Critical Regionalism is to be unpacked into principles which can be substantiated and further explained through a thorough analysis of the work of four different architects. A further confirmation of them can be undertaken with a short look at a further four buildings.


Early Modernism
After the First World War much of the infrastructure of the buildings and cities had been destroyed and many people were left homeless. This led to a need for much of the destroyed infrastructure and housing to be rebuilt quickly and economically. With very little capital available in government and in society itself due to the war, a need for a functional, economical and efficient architecture became clearly evident. This became the driving force behind Modernist Architecture. The Industrial Revolution brought about new technologies that created standard, mass produced materials. This machine driven revolution was reinforced by the war and allowed for this economical rebuilding of the city.

The City before the war

The City after the war

The new materials and technologies challenged architects to
design and think in a new way. For example, the use of
reinforced concrete allowed for a flexibility of design and
plan. The Modern Movement was driven by the machine, in
principal and aesthetically. In this way, elements that made the building function that were previously hidden could be
expressed as a feature of the building such as staircases,
service ducts and structural columns. Modern architecture
searched for the one truth, this being a truth to material and function, and so buildings...

Bibliography: a Globalised World. 2003. Prestel Publishing LTD.
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