PhD seminars series 2010-2011
The Historical Project: Whatever Happened to Operative History
Thursday June 21st from 16.00 to 19.00 – J.J.P. Oud room
8th Seminar with Anthony Vidler
Histories of the Immediate Past, Present, and Future: Operative Historians from Colin Rowe to Manfredo Tafuri
Architecture, at least since the beginning of the twentieth century, has suspended historical references in favor of universalized abstraction. In the decades after the Second World War, when architectural historians began to assess the legacy of the avant-gardes in order to construct a coherent narrative of modernism’s development, they were inevitably influenced by contemporary concerns. The seminar examines the work of two historians of architectural modernism – Colin Rowe and Manfredo Tafuri – and the ways in which their histories were constructed as more or less overt programs for the theory and practice of design in a contemporary context.
Vidler’s investigation demonstrates the inevitable collusion between history and design that pervades all modern architectural discourse—and has given rise to some of the most interesting architectural experiments of the postwar period.
Anthony Vidler is Professor of Architecture and Dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, the Cooper Union, New York. He received his BA in Fine Arts and Architecture and Diploma in Architecture from Cambridge University in England and his PhD from the Technical University of Delft, the Netherlands. He taught at Princeton University from1965 to 1993, serving as Chair of the PhD Committee in Architecture and Director of the interdisciplinary Program in European Cultural Studies. In 1993 he moved to UCLA as Professor of Art History and Architecture and Chair of the Department of Art History. In 2001 he was appointed Professor and Dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, the Cooper Union, New York. Vidler’s scholarly work includes studies in 18th and 19th century French architectural history, with emphasis on the work of the Enlightenment architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, and modern and contemporary architecture and urbanism, with a general interest in cultural theory. His books include The Writing of the Walls: Theory and Design in the Late Enlightenment (1987); Claude-Nicolas Ledoux. Architecture and Society in the Ancien Regime (1989); The Architectural Uncanny: Essays in the Modern Unhomely (1992); Warped Space: Art, Architecture, and Anxiety in Modern Culture (2000) and most recently James Frazer Stirling: Notes from the Archive (2010) and Scenes of the Street and other Essays (2011). He has received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a Senior Fellowship of the National Endowment of the Humanities, a Getty Scholar’s Fellowship, and the Architecture Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for 2011. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences.