March 2, 2006

A to Z of Critical Regionalism

Hmm well with a little time off I decided to publish a manifesto I began writing a few years ago whilst in grad school. The theme is Critical Regionalism, a list from A to Z.

The term Critical Regionalism was first used by Alexander Tzonis and Liane Lefaivre and later more famously by Kenneth Frampton in his position paper "Towards a Critical Regionalism: Six points of an Architecture of Resistance." Without getting two heady, Frampton proposes that Critical Regionalism mediates between universally accepted practice and the particularities of place or locality, recalling the phrase, "think globally act locally." Further, that architects should adopt modern archtitecture critically for its universal progressive qualities but at the same time should value responses particular to the context with emphasis on topography, climate, light, tectonic form, etc.

As this approach is neither formalised nor an architectural style per sae, this manifesto seeks to project examples of Critical Regionalism.


Anonymous said...

If you are interested ingreat examples of Critical Regionalism, you should search for Portuguese architecture (Alvaro Siza, Fernando Tavora, Souto Moura, etc). Between the 60's and 80's they combined modern ideoligies and stylistic language with tradicional and local experience, materials and techniques. They managed to produce architecture with the two worlds (past and future, local and global).

Anonymous said...

I forgot to say that their architecture also copes with such themes as light, building/surroundings, psychological confort, architectural history and references to other architects (Tavora-Corbusier, Siza-Aalto, Souto Moura-Mies van der Rohe). Their architecture is not just Critical Regionalism, but also Modernism, Post Modernism, Organicism or Minimal Architecture.

mad architect said...

Ips...they are on the list. Thank for the comments. I am a BIG fan of Siza and subsequently Souta de Moura. Their works are filled with such "relevant" character. Thanks again

John Hill said...

This series is a great idea! I'm looking forward to seeing it unfold. There's so many out there that could fit the term, so many I'd like to suggest, but I'll wait and see what you post.

It might be a good idea to have one post that lists and links to the various architects (maybe an addendum to this one) so they're all accessible from one place.

Anonymous said...

i like frampton but i dont understand the whole idea of his thinking about critical regionalism in more of urbanistic approach. what do you think?

Anonymous said...

any idea of the relation between the idea of Phenomenology and the Critical regionalism ?
i am an architecture student . currently doing some research on the topic of Listen TO the Voice of Architecture as my title ..
Hope u guys can give me soem guidance on that. Thankz ..

epiphenoman said...

i just came back from two weeks holidays in sri lanka.
it's wonderful to visit bawa's house, garden and many more projects all over the country.
naturally i compared him with fTAVORA who i appreciate so much after having a chance to work with aSIZA in 2008. of course, sLEWERENTZ is another example from my CRITICAL REGIONALISM list.
thanks for your blog.

kuns liu,

Just a thought! said...

Hey, just a though on CR ..there are many 'good' examples on CR, works that embody light, climate, topography... but there seems to be not real 'bad' projects..only written critique of how it doesn't work.

Can anyone provide any examples that do not work?


priyanka sawant said...


Critical regionalism offers cultural studies, framework through which increasing problematic concepts of region is tangled wid rapid globalization,and how can it be balanced out. Are we in the pride of our regional identity an ''isolated part of a larger whole??''
Older cultural values or statement made responded to a particular event,social or climatic environment at that time.
Man has always begin responding and securing his living according to these myths or facts because it gives him a social backup.
Our every day lifestyle according to cultural know how(rigid believes) n comfort defines a local culture which as failed to connect to the outside world. I agree to critical regionalism according to kenneth frampton he says-
''how to become modern and to return to resources,how to revive an old dormant civilization and take part in universal civilization.'' but is this statement really sensitive towards all societies in the world? or its just some proactive people interference and manipulating of reality.
Man has begin changing to satisfy his ever growing needs change is a part of any human evolution.
But are we changing or trying to ape the so called Superior cultures because of the mind set we have of they bin developed countries and they were the ones who brought bout colonization??
As Kenneth Frampton suggests architecture presents ''a compensatory facade'' an illusion of stability designed to root
society in a culture that has become eroded by the rapacity of development. Critical regionalism join the cultural ideas in a more revised way.So that any city in India does not look or feel similar to any city in Europe, but at the same time bin apart of world development. Not begin backward n rigid accepting positives of other civilization.Are we going blankly follow something to attain the never ending means of lifes end?.
But in this process we are modernizing the cultural ideas??so what is culture is it flexible? It is an individual approach to how much he wants to get influenced by modernization.Something has to change for better but do we actually realize the balance this change should have?? or we just do things for the name sake. Is critical regionalism going to confuse the mindset of people to what to respond to ??

Iréné said...

tell me more about critical regionalism because i'm confused .is it the same with postmodernist architecture if not ,what the difference between them?

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