Shifting Grounds:
Re-Mapping the Historiography of Architectural Modernism in Europe

16.11.2023, 18:30 h: Keynote-Lecture by Ákos Moravánszky

Since Nikolaus Pevsner’s book, An Outline of European Architecture (1942), the historiography of architectural modernism in Europe has been based on the assumption that the shared norms for the new aesthetic were produced by European culture. It is up to the individual historian to decide which European countries are the „producers“ and which ones are the „recipients“ of the system of norms, claimed Pevsner. Non-Western architecture has no normative power – he even described some of its representants as “anti-rationalists”. While today we easily criticize such attempts to legitimize modern architecture with a historical genealogy as constructs, the contribution of East-Central European architects remains largely unrecognized. Architectural production in the Cold War period in those countries is generally seen as incompatible with the appreciation of individual creativity and authorship of the „masters“ – a position that is still present in Western history writing. To re-map the historiography of modern architecture means to challenge such entrenched tropes. The talk will trace recent attempts to revise the myth of the „Iron Curtain“, focusing on collaboration and the exchange of ideas. 

Ákos Moravánszky 

Ákos Moravánszky is Professor Emeritus of the Theory of Architecture, ETH Zurich, Institut gta (History and Theory of Architecture) where he has taught since 1996. Born 1950 in Hungary, he is a graduate of the Budapest Technical University. After practicing as an architect, he received his doctorate at the Vienna Technical University and was appointed Editor-in-Chief of the leading architectural journal of Hungary, Magyar Épitőművészet. He was Guest Researcher at the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte in Munich (1986-1988) as an Alexander-von-Humboldt Fellow, Research Associate at the Getty Center in Santa Monica, California (1989-1991) and Visiting Professor at the M.I.T. (1991-1996). He is Visiting Professor at the University of Navarra, Pamplona and has an honorary doctorate from the Budapest Technical University. His main fields of research are the history of Central European architecture and materiality of architecture. 

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Ákos Moravánszky
• Thu, 16.11.2023, 18:30 – 20:00 h

Conference venue and dates

Pilecki-Institute, Pariser-Platz

Pilecki-Institute, Pariser Platz 4 A, 10117 Berlin
• Thu, 16.11.2023, 9:30 – 20:30 h
• Fri, 17.11.2023, 10:00 – 20:00 h

Associated exhibition
„Soft Ground. 5 Years of Excercising Modernity“ at BHROX bauhaus reuse, Ernst-Reuter-Platz
• 25 Oct – 25 Nov 2023,
Tue-Sun 12:00 – 20:00 h