Cultural And Conceptual Frames For Architectural Criticism

Güzer, C.Abdi
Since the beginnings of seventies 'everyday architecture*, as a non-crilical and mass-produced form of architectural practice, is celebrating an acceleratingly dominant ground of freedom. The outcome of this liberation is a 'no-rule' architecture presenting itself as a sceneography based form-fetishism. The commodity based promolion of numerous 'isms' and their image-based mass productions remove architecture from being a critical practice and create a false consciousness due to its representative relations with culture, reality, tectonic form, regional and contextual aspects. This shift is neither an outcome of a liberating postmodern project nor an inevitable aim of the avantgarde positions engaged with postmodern 'isms' in the field of architecture, but rather it is a consequence of contextual transformation initialed under the disciplinary frame of architectural criticism. In olher words, transformations of architectural criticism under the conditions of media-socieiy and postmodern culture prepared a disciplinary context for legitimizing false-consciousness of transformations in architectural practice. When postmodernism is traced beyond its abstract and reduced definition as an architectural 'ism', it manifests the emergence of new cultural, social, economic and theoretical forms where architectural criticism similar to architectural practice faces a series of transformations. These transformations not only represent an institutional shift towards mediating and legitimizing the conditions of postmodernity, but also, as a theoretical attempt, to examine and transform itself as part of the same 'logic' or 'movement of ideas' in culture itself. The conditions of 'popular culture, mass-media and consumer-society' create a postmodern world in which everything has been reduced into 'representations' (Baudrillard, . 1981). Transformations in architectural criticism, aiming to adapt itself to conditions of postmodernism towards creating a critical consciousness, are open to become a vicious-circle which ends up in a self-legitimating position creating a false consciousness. In fact, this vicious-circle is not particular to architectural criticism; it is housed in the nature of postmodern theory as well. As Connor (1990,218) puts it: Although postmodern theory may begin with the attempt to politicize the realm of the aesthetic, it can invert easily into the distracting and self-promoting aestheticization of politics. This study aims to understand and unmask a process of self-legitimating and assimilating relation between different cultural spheres of architectural criticism in its postmodern transformations. Also by mapping cultural and positional differences between and across different forms of architectural criticism, it presents a critical effort to uncover the limits of architectural criticism.


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Citation Formats
C. A. Güzer, “Cultural And Conceptual Frames For Architectural Criticism,” ODTÜ Mimarlık Fakültesi Dergisi, vol. 14, no. 1-2, pp. 71–84, 1994, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: