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Spacesuits, Sunglasses and TV Universities: Everything Is Architecture At The ICA

February 21, 2017 by in Reviews

14 September 2015, Litro

The first issue of the revamped magazine of the Central Association of Austrian Architects—Bau: Schrift für Arkitektur und Städtebau—launched in 1965 with a bang. Or rather, a Whaam!, a stylised blast spliced from Roy Lichtenstein’s 1963 diptych and detonated on the cover. It’s one of a dozen covers from the magazine’s 1965-70 run currently displayed, along with several original issues, in the ICA’s Fox Reading Room, until October.

That explosive first cover was graphic revolt against the prevailing architectural ethos, of Modernism and Internationalism, and a sly discharge of their fascination with machinery and functionalism. That very machinery, new technologies of communication and space exploration, devised, through war, as means of destruction, threatened to invalidate the traditional definitions and contexts of architecture. What was architecture when buildings were only the most basic containers for our lives, when the human sphere was conducted across new dimensions, of media and information, in a Baudrillardian hyperreality of television, theme parks and instantaneous communication? What importance did buildings have when, as Marshall McLuhan wrote, we had “extended our central nervous system… in a global embrace, abolishing time and space”?

Read more at Litro.

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