Reading Kenneth Frampton: A Commentary on Modern Architecture 1980

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


In this project, I focus on the first edition of Kenneth Frampton’s Modern Architecture: A Critical History, published in 1980. I search for clues and positions that will provide the reader with an unprecedented insight into the significance of Frampton’s historiography of modern architecture. I explore selected themes in line with Frampton’s many-faceted contribution, certain aspects of which can be noted between the lines of his ongoing criticism of the present-day architecture, which inevitably lead us to a critical understanding of the past, the modernity of architecture’s contemporaneity. The compiled chapters attempt to open a window onto the constellation of themes that allowed Frampton to hold on to his anteroom view of history even amidst the flow of time and flood of temporalities spanning 1980-2020. In addition to looking at the quotations Frampton has chosen for the opening of each chapter of A Critical History, I also offer a retrospective reading of the three photographic images dividing the first edition of the book into three main parts. My project does not attempt to discover what Frampton was thinking when writing A Critical History. Nor does it contextualize Frampton’s book historically, though historicity remains integral to a critical re-writing of history. Rather, I have approached A Critical History as an artifact, unlocking its tropes to elucidate how Frampton’s critical presentation of the history of modern movement architecture and the book’s classificatory mode (periodization?) contribute to our understanding of the contemporaneity of architecture today.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherAnthem Press
Number of pages212
ISBN (Print)9781839983498
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


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