Smart Talks

The limits of international architecture

Richard Anderson: Internationality: El Lissitzky and Architecture, 1924-30 (EN)
Helena Čapková: Antonín Raymond decolonized: his work in India (EN)
14. 11. 2022
Knihovna Hanse Beltinga

Richard Anderson is Senior Lecturer in Architectural History at the University of Edinburgh. He is the editor of Ludwig Hilberseimer’s Metropolisarchitecture and Selected Essays (New York, 2012; second edition 2013) and the author of Russia: Modern Architectures in History (London, 2015), a cultural history of Russian architecture since 1861. His forthcoming book, Wolkenbügel (MIT Press 2024), examines the origins and international resonance of El Lissitzky’s project for a horizontal skyscraper. He served as co-chair for the European Architectural History Network’s sixth international conference in 2021. Richard has been Head of the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA) since 2019.

Richard Anderson

Internationality: El Lissitzky and Architecture, 1924-30

Among the adjectives used to described the new architecture that emerged in Europe during the 1920s, the word „international“ is among the most ubiquitous. The exhibition curated by Walter Gropius for the Bauhaus week of 1923 was titled the „Exhibition of International Architects.“ L’Esprit nouveau, one of the primary vehicles for the diffusion of Le Corbusier’s ideas, described itself as „an international review of aesthetics.“ In 1932, Philip Johnson and Henry-Russell Hitchcock would label the distinctly modern architecture of the previous decade the „international style.“ While it is self-evident that architects working in multiple countries were involved in the definition of new approaches to design, the presentation of a coherent international approach to architecture depended not only on the construction of buildings with shared characteristics, but also on the circulation of images and ideas. This presentation examines how the condition of internationality was produced through a detailed analysis of a single project: El Lissitzky’s Wolkenbügel. Lissitzky’s use of photography, image manipulation, and printing bring the material infrastructures that facilitated the manifestation of aninternational architecture into view. This analysis explores how Lissitzky conceived the Wolkenbügel in relation to both its conditions of construction and it capacity for

As exhibited at ‚Typen neuer Baukunst‘, 1925

Helena Čapková is a Tokyo / Kyoto / Prague based curator, researcher and art history professor, who currently teaches at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto. Her publications include: Transnational Networkers: Iwao and Michiko Yamawaki and the Formation of Japanese Modernist Design (2014), Antonin Raymond’s “Glocal” Modern Architecture (1921–1976) (2019) and Bedřich Feuerstein, architect: Prague–Paris–Tokyo (2022).

Helena Čapková

Antonín Raymond decolonized: his work in India

Czech-American architect Antonin Raymond (1888-1976) is well-known for his successful practice in pre- and postwar Japan. His important works outside of the Japan-American framework have remained unexplored until recently. This talk will introduce the transnational research process of Raymond related material in India and it will demonstrate the potential of decolonization as a method while researching seemingly familiar subjects and their work.

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