Critical Regionalism

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Critical Regionalism. A strategy for achieving a more humane architecture in the face of universally held abstractions and international clichés. Coined by Alexander Tzonis (1937– ) and Liane Lefaivre in 1981, the term was seized upon by Frampton, who argued that architects should seek regional variations in their buildings instead of continuing to design in a style of global uniformity using ‘consumerist iconography masquerading as culture’, and should ‘mediate the impact’ of universal civilization with themes drawn indirectly from the individual ‘peculiarities of a particular place’. While appreciating the dangers of industrialization and technology, he did not advocate revivals of either the great historical styles or a humbler vernacular type of building. In essence, he sought the deconstruction of global Modernism, criticized post-Modernism for reducing architecture to a mere ‘communicative or instrumental sign’, and proposed the introduction of alien paradigms to the indigenous genius loci. He cited the work of Aalto and Utzon as offering examples of Critical Regionalism in which the local and the general were synthesized.


Amourgis (ed.) (1991);
W. Curtis (1996);
H. Foster (ed.) (1983);
Frampton (1982)