The New Paradigm in Architecture  

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"Charles Jencks's The New Paradigm in Architecture (1977) is often regarded as having popularized the use of the term postmodernism." --Sholem Stein


"The phrase 'post-modern' is not the most happy expression one can use concerning recent architecture. It is evasive, fashionable and worst of all negative – like defining women as 'non-men'."--incipit to The Language of Post-Modern Architecture (1977) by Charles Jencks


"First published by Rizzoli in 1977, The Language of Post-Modern Architecture went into a total of eight editions, starting with the first one in 1977, and then others in 1978, 1981, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1991 and 2002. The last edition of 2002 was extensively rewritten, with two additional chapters added to it under the titles ‘The New Paradigm I’, and ‘The New Paradigm II’. The title of the last edition was also modified to The New Paradigm in Architecture: The Language of Post-modernism (Yale, Yale University Press, 2002)." --[1]


"[The] Purist style, [...] was meant to instil [...] corresponding values in the inhabitants. Good form was to lead to good content, or at least good conduct; the intelligent planning of abstract space was to promote healthy behavior. Alas, such simplistic ideas, taken over from philosophic doctrines of Rationalism, Behaviourism and Pragmatism, proved as irrational as the philosophies themselves. Modern architecture, as the son of the Enlightenment, was an heir to its congenital naivities [...] These shortcomings are now well known, thanks to the writings of Ivan Illich, Jacques Ellul, E. F. Schumacher, Michael Oakeshott and Hannah Arendt."--The Language of Post-Modern Architecture (1977) by Charles Jencks

 "Modern architecture died in St. Louis, Missouri on July 15, 1972 at 3:32 p.m. (or thereabouts) when the infamous Pruitt–Igoe scheme, or rather several of its slab blocks, were given the final coup de grâce by dynamite."--The Language of Post-Modern Architecture (1977) by Charles Jencks
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"Modern architecture died in St. Louis, Missouri on July 15, 1972 at 3:32 p.m. (or thereabouts) when the infamous Pruitt–Igoe scheme, or rather several of its slab blocks, were given the final coup de grâce by dynamite."--The Language of Post-Modern Architecture (1977) by Charles Jencks

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Language of Post-Modern Architecture is a book on the then emergent postmodern architecture by Charles Jencks first published in 1977 by Academy Editions. In subsequent editions, the book was re-titled The New Paradigm in Architecture: The Language of Post-Modern Architecture.

The book's most frequently quoted soundbite is "Modern architecture suffered from elitism. Post-Modernism is trying to get over that elitism not by dropping it, but rather by extending the language of architecture in many different ways —into the vernacular, towards tradition and the commercial slang of the street. Hence the double-coding, the architecture which speaks to the elite and the man on the street."

Blurb to the 2002 edition

The New Paradigm in Architecture tells the story of a movement that has changed the face of architecture over the last forty years.

The book begins by surveying the counter culture of the 1960s, when Jane Jacobs and Robert Venturi called for a more complex urbanism and architecture. It concludes by showing how such demands began to be realized by the 1990s in a new architecture that is aided by computer design-more convivial, sensuous, and articulate than the Modern architecture it challenges. Promoted by such architects as Frank Gehry, Daniel Libeskind, and Peter Eisenman, it has also been adopted by many schools and offices around the world. Charles Jencks traces the history of computer design which is, at its heart, built on the desire for an architecture that communicates with its users, one based on the heterogeneity of cities and global culture.

This book, the first to explore the broad issue of Postmodernism, has fostered its growth in other fields such as philosophy and the arts. First written at the start of an architectural movement in the mid-1970s, it has been translated into eleven languages and has gone through six editions. Now completely rewritten and with two new chapters, this edition brings the history up to date with the latest twists in the narrative and the turn to a new complexity in architecture.

Table of contents of the 1977 edition

Introduction

Part I. The death of modern architecture:

  • Crisis in architecture
  • Univalent form
  • Univalent formalists and inadvertent symbolists
  • Univalent content

Part II. The modes of architectural communication:

  • Metaphor
  • Worlds
  • Syntax
  • Semantics

Part III. Post-modern architecture:

  • Recent departures
  • Multivalent architecture.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The New Paradigm in Architecture" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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