Critical Regionalism In Architecture Of Miami Florida

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Critical Regionalism in Architecture of Miami Florida

Critical Regionalism in Architecture of Miami Florida


Critical Regionalism is a title that is bound to attract geographers. Originally an architectural term, "critical regionalism" contains not only a negative response to the awful, mass-produced buildings of post-WWII American sprawl, but hopefully the seed of establishing more socially uplifting landscapes in the future. It is a reaction against the soul-destroying "crudscapes" (Alexander, 2003) we have built, and a philosophical framework for making rural places and regions and their landscapes not only livable, but connected to and appreciated by adjacent regions. This paper discusses critical regionalism in architecture of Miami Florida in a concise and comprehensive way.

Critical Regionalism in Architecture of Miami Florida

Instead of continuing the debate over this text as either reactionary or propositional, I would rather situate the architectural examples put forward in the text - Utzon, Botta, and Aalto - with those buildings that possibly generated this reaction - Venturi, Graves, and Rogers to come to some basis of evaluating the criticalness of regionalism and its priority in the resistance to the destructive forces of universal technology (Alexander, 2003). Simply put, is critical regionalism simply veiling a more general unsentimental argument for thoughtful, sensitive architecture?

The text begins with a long quotation from Paul Ricouer describing the current state of destruction of traditional culture and its impetus by the universalization of civilization. The transition towards a mediocre civilization makes homogeneous the various cultures of the world problematizing the new growth of 'underdeveloped' cultures. The cultural past is put into question in the move towards modernization. Ricouer questions "how to become modern and to return to sources; how to revive an old, dormant civilization and take part in universal civilization" (Alexander, 2003).

This question asserts the necessity of a historical model of continuous evolution whereby lessons of the past inform future moves. However there often exists, as Ricoeur states, the requirement to abandon a whole cultural past in order to take part in modern civilization (Alexander, 2003). If critical regionalism is a solution then one would want to know how a region is to be (re)defined under the circumstance of whole cultural abandonment and therefore its shifting boundaries.

Culture and Civilization

With regard to the point of view of Alexander Tzonis and Liane Lefaivre I will say that elaborating the Ricoeur quotation, Frampton discusses the state of building to be 'conditioned' by the building industry to the point of restriction. These restrictions extend to the urban scale such that any building proposal is either stripped bare to the elements of production or wrapped up in gratuitous facades hiding the bare reductive product (Kunstler, 2003). He categorizes these two approaches respectively as the high-tech and the facades of compensation to which we can assign some architects: Richard Rogers, high-tech and Robert Venturi and Michael Graves 3 , the facades.

Coupled with this is the demise of the city fabric and thus its corresponding culture. With the onslaught of universal civilization stirred by increasing hunger for development, freestanding high-rises and freeways more ...
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