Anxious Modernism: Experimentation in Postwar Architectural Culture by Sarah Williams Goldhagen & Rejean Legault

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Anxious Modernism: Experimentation in Postwar Architectural Culture
Edited by Sarah Williams Goldhagen & Rejean Legault

8vo. pp. 335. b/w illustrations. index. hardcover. dw. Cambridge: The MIT Press in association with Canadian Centre for Architecture, [2000],


ISBN-10: 0262072084 / ISBN-13: 9780262072083


The two decades after the Second World War are typically viewed as an inchoate interregnum between an expiring modernism and an incipient post-modernism. Yet this tidy narrative tells only half the story, leaving out a second development, an evolving and powerful modernism. The essays here reveal that a wide range of postwar architects and theorists—including Saarinen and Rudofsky in the United States; ATBAT-Afrique in Morocco; Price and the Smithsons in England; Bakema in Holland; and the Metabolists in Japan—were determined to renew rather than abandon the legacy of modernism.

Presenting new research, these essays analyze an individual or movement that grappled with modernism in response to developments within and outside the architectural profession. They reveal a nexus of pre-occupations that dominated discourse of the postwar era, including authenticity, place, individual freedom, and popular culture. In addition, the introduction and coda discuss the critical themes of postwar architecture and propose a framework for conceptualizing architectural modernism and its evolution after the war. Together, the book's essays remap the emerging field of postwar architectural studies, refocusing attention on modernist ideas and work that have had a critical, ongoing impact on architectural culture.