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The Death and Life of the Contemporary Library: Masters Thesis

Space, Time and Architecture
Relavence to a Digital Age?


Web Design Dave Edwards Copyright 2010


The fifth and final edition of space Time and Architecture was published in 1969 a year after Sigfried Giedion had died. The purpose of this edition was to document the final years of its first generation of practitioners and include a so called third generation of architects including Jorn Utzon. Historically this year was significant; it marked the year when man first walked on the moon indicating a continuing development of scientific modernity.

Social shifts had become manifest with violent reactions against the alienation of modern life. In his 1965 Aesthetic Theory; philosopher Theodor W Adorno stated that “the practice of modernity had inevitably become totalitarian and reduced the individual to consumer or provider of labour” . Both he and Walter Gropius died in 1969 leaving the modern project in crisis. Although the accepted and dominant movement, modernism had not led to the synthesis, unity and emancipation, that enlightenment had promised. The social problems of mechanisation and the modern metropolis had led people to question the modern. A number of theorists had written that the crisis had created a new cultural condition of post modernity. By 1972 Charles Jencks had declared that “modernism is dead.” In architecture the sixties was seen as the end of modernism, but in recent years a questioning of whether the modern project did not disappear but evolve, beyond the conventional associations of aesthetic modernism described by Giedion. The assertion that Modernity was an incomplete project was first stated in 1979 in an essay by Jurgen Habermas, his key comment was that the reactionary alternatives to modernity; post and pre-modernity, could be used as critiques of the modern allowing the project to evolve. In 1983 young theoretical architect Zaha Hadid, reiterated this sentiment stating “that modernism was an unfinished project worth continuing.”

The essay will be divided into two sections: The first will consider the original text by Gideon, which will include the context in which the text was written, how Giedion saw modernity and the critical response to the books notion of history. The second part will deal with digital architecture taking the view that this represents the forefront of current architectural development. It shall look at emergent trends looking specifically at the spatial conceptions of its production comparing them with Giedions’ notions of Space Time and Architecture to determine whether after 65 years it still has relevance.









Space Time and Architecture