[March 24 2016]
Nicolas Grospierre “Modern Forms: A Subjective Atlas of 20th Century Architecture” is a extraordinary guide to modernist architecture. Edited by Elias Redstone and Alona Pardo, and published by Prestel Random House, the book is a visual archive of 200 buildings built between 1920 and 1989 from all over the world. With his collection of photographs, Grospierre documents how architecture and political and cultural ideologies are linked together.
” […] But apart from this Modernist cosmopolitanism, I feel, first and foremost, that Modernism in architecture was the physical embodiment of one of the most beautiful ideals of mankind: progress. In architecture, it meant to create buildings that would make a better life for the common man. We know, of course, that this ideal failed.And not only did it fail in its political or ideological dimension, but it even failed practically, as many of these buildings proved to be utopian and sometimes alienating, in their everyday use. This is perhaps especially true in the architecture of the former socialist camp. But to my eyes, this does not disqualify progress, on a philosophical level. It is perhaps because progress was an erroneous ideal from the very start, that makes it even more beautiful.”