(AD): Re-imagining the Avant-Garde

Architectural Design (AD)

Re-imagining the Avant-Garde: Revisiting the Architecture of the 1960s and 1970s

Guest Edited By: Matthew Butcher and Luke C. Pearson

Special issue of the Architectural Design (AD) explores the on-going importance of the work of Architects associated with the Avant Garde of the 1960s and 1970s with today’s designers and artists.
The avant-garde of the 1960s and 70s has been likened to an ‘architectural Big Bang’, such was the intensity of energy and ambition with which it exploded into the post-war world. It produced architectural projects that redefined the discipline and remain highly influential today. In contemporary design, references to the likes of Archizoom, Peter Eisenman, John Hejduk and Superstudio continue to define the approaches of a new wave of practitioners. This avant-garde was highly diverse, and not tied to a single methodology or tendency in its political, formal and cultural preoccupations. It was also geographically divergent – reaching from Europe to North America and Japan. The avant-garde was, however, unified as a critical and experimental force, critiquing contemporary society against the backdrop of extreme social and political upheaval. Those turbulent times mirror today.

Re-Imagining the Avant-Garde outlines the continuing power and relevance of avant-garde projects for contemporary architectural practice. The book explores how such projects retain their power as historical precedents, operating as barometers of a particular design ethos, establishing critiques of society and inventing new formal techniques. Although our subsequent digital revolution has reshaped every aspect of architecture and culture, Re-Imagining the Avant-Garde explores why this historical period continues to retain an undeniable grip on new generations of architectural designers and theorists, demonstrating the ways they are reinventing these approaches in a contemporary context.
Contributors: Pablo Bronstein and Sam Jacob, Sarah Deyong, Stylianos Giamarelos, Damjan Jovanovic, Andrew Kovacs, Perry Kulper, Igor Marjanović, William Menking, Michael Sorkin, Neil Spiller and Mimi Zeiger.

Featured architects: Archizoom, Andrea Branzi, Jimenez Lai, Luis Miguel (Koldo) Lus Arana, Klaus, NEMESTUDIO, Superstudio, and UrbanLab.

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Matthew Butcher is an academic and designer. He is Associate Professor in Architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL and editor and founder of the architectural newspaper P.E.A.R.: Paper for Emerging Architectural Research. His work has been exhibited at the V&A Museum, London; Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York; The Architecture Foundation, London and the Prague Quadrennial, Prague.

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