Changing Ideals in Modern Architecture, 1750-1950 Paperback – 21 Jul 1998
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"Even now, after so much of its substance has been elaborated by subsequent scholarship, Changing Ideals in Modern Architecture remains a pioneering achievement. It still provides an ideological history of the modern movement, covering an extremely wide trajectory and one which is animated throughout by a sharp critical bias. Its challenging originality stems from the way in which Collins constantly begs the question as to the fundamental nature of tectonic modernity as this has evolved over the last two centuries." Kenneth Frampton, from the Introduction
About the Author
Peter Collins was professor of archiecture, McGill University.
Kenneth Frampton is professor of architecture at Columbia University and the author of many books on architectural history and theory, including Modern Architecture.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is an essential read for anybody interested in modernist architecture, and the architectural history of the last three centuries.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The various ideas architects have desperately flung around since 1750 are all traced, dissected, and put into their social contexts. Rationalism, Romanticism, Ecclecticism, Historicism/Archeology, Classics versus Goths, the Moderns, the various analogies to other fields architects have attempted - it is all discussed. The book stops at 1950, but this does not detract from its relevance in 2004, as we can see that architects have continued to explore connections with other genres in order to create their various forms. It is important to realize what we're doing and if it has ever be done before - and - it all pretty much has been. Not to despair though, Collins keeps it an interesting read, if you do not chuckle at his wit every now and then, then your sense of humor is dead. It is important to read this critically, and I found myself only very occasionally disagreeing.
One of my favorite chapters, which is almost a six-page long joke, is entitled "Architecture and Gastronomy." (and yet - it is not a joke!)
The only criticism of the book is perhaps his less-intensive use of illustrations than he might have. Those that he does include however are well-chosen.
A very closely related work to this is J. Mordaunt Crook's 1987 "The Dilemma of Style: Architectural Ideas from the Picturesque to the Post Modern." Crook makes a book that attempts to do essentially the same thing, but has a slightly diferent perspective. I mention it because I believe these two, Crook and Collins, should be read by any architect worth their salt.
Kenneth Frampton writes a fairly interesting introduction to the 1998 edition, hopefully this book will continue to have stamina for future generations of architects.