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Alan Powers, Modern: the Modern Movement in Britain

Alan Powers, Modern: the Modern Movement in Britain Alan Powers, Modern: the Modern Movement in Britain, Merrell Publishers, isbn 1-85894-255-1, £35. (Figure 12.1) In Stone Voices, Neal Ascherson contends that a ‘mellow nostalgia and the sigh for what has gone are all too easy in Scotland.’ He sees this trait as ‘… a refusal to engage with Scotland’s modern history’ but argues that such recidivist attitudes are generated by an underlying sense of trauma, due to the nation’s rapid transformation over the past two centuries. Certainly a seismic shift occurred in the early twentieth century, when ‘Modernism’ burst upon us in the 1920s heralding an heroic period in architecture, and foreshadowing Huxley’s promise of a ‘Brave New World’ (1932), studded with skyscrapers and ‘… squat grey buildings of only thirty-four stories’. One of Modernism’s foremost protagonists, Mies van der Rohe, pronounced that: ‘Architecture is the will of the age conceived in spatial terms.’ The promise of Modernism was to meld aesthetic and technical advances with a dynamic social agenda but, sadly, given such vaulting ambition, its demise was inevitable and (at times) ignominious. As a polemical movement, however, it calcified rapidly and slipped into tired cliché and formulaic leitmotifs. Inevitably pure Modernism soon morphed into Jazz http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Architectural Heritage Edinburgh University Press

Alan Powers, Modern: the Modern Movement in Britain

Architectural Heritage , Volume 17 (1): 159 – Nov 1, 2006

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
© Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
1350-7524
eISSN
1755-1641
DOI
10.3366/arch.2006.17.1.159
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Alan Powers, Modern: the Modern Movement in Britain, Merrell Publishers, isbn 1-85894-255-1, £35. (Figure 12.1) In Stone Voices, Neal Ascherson contends that a ‘mellow nostalgia and the sigh for what has gone are all too easy in Scotland.’ He sees this trait as ‘… a refusal to engage with Scotland’s modern history’ but argues that such recidivist attitudes are generated by an underlying sense of trauma, due to the nation’s rapid transformation over the past two centuries. Certainly a seismic shift occurred in the early twentieth century, when ‘Modernism’ burst upon us in the 1920s heralding an heroic period in architecture, and foreshadowing Huxley’s promise of a ‘Brave New World’ (1932), studded with skyscrapers and ‘… squat grey buildings of only thirty-four stories’. One of Modernism’s foremost protagonists, Mies van der Rohe, pronounced that: ‘Architecture is the will of the age conceived in spatial terms.’ The promise of Modernism was to meld aesthetic and technical advances with a dynamic social agenda but, sadly, given such vaulting ambition, its demise was inevitable and (at times) ignominious. As a polemical movement, however, it calcified rapidly and slipped into tired cliché and formulaic leitmotifs. Inevitably pure Modernism soon morphed into Jazz

Journal

Architectural HeritageEdinburgh University Press

Published: Nov 1, 2006

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