Modern Architecture Goes Global, Local

Event: Architecture in the Age of Globalization: A Conversation with Kenneth Frampton
Speaker: Kenneth Frampton — Ware Professor of Architecture, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation & author, Modern Architecture: A Critical History
Location: Center for Architecture, 04.10. 08
Organizer: AIANY International Committee

Modern Architecture

Courtesy thamesandhudson.com

The practice of architecture is both global and local, Kenneth Frampton states in the latest section of Modern Architecture: A Critical History (Thames & Hudson, 4th ed., 2007): “Architecture in the age of Globalization: topography, morphology, sustainability, materiality, habitat and civic form 1975-2007.” The six subsections focuses on the globalization of architectural practice due to the “ever-escalating rate of telematic communication and the constant increase of transcontinental air travel.”

Whether discussing topography or morphology, Frampton argues that true architecture responds to contextual and programmatic realities by creating a tectonic form. For example, landscaping based on topographic and forestation patterns determined the master plan of IBM Solana (1992) near Dallas/Fort Worth, designed by Peter Walker and Partners Landscape Architects, in collaboration with Barton Myers Associates, Mitchell/Giurgola Architects, and Legorreta + Legorreta Architects. In another instance, Foreign Office Architect’s Yokohama International Terminal (2002) derived the building’s form from horizontal circulation patterns.

Frampton acknowledges architecture’s great impact on the environment in this new section, as well. It is only in recent years that architects have begun to incorporate sustainable approaches to housing and urbanism. Addressing the exponential population increase, designers are reintegrating the individual dwelling into a collective development. The challenge, Frampton argues, is in creating a sense of “home” and individualization in high-density urban areas. As a result of densification, especially in underdeveloped countries, architecture must address its public appearance or civic form.