The politics of friends in modern architecture : 1949-1987

Troiani, Igea Santina (2005) The politics of friends in modern architecture : 1949-1987. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This thesis aims to reveal paradigms associated with the operation of Western architectural oligarchies. The research is an examination into "how" dominant architectural institutions and their figureheads are undermined through the subversive collaboration of younger, unrecognised architects. By appropriating theories found in Jacques Derrida's writings in philosophy, the thesis interprets the evolution of post World War II polemical architectural thinking as a series of political friendships.

In order to provide evidence, the thesis involves the rewriting of a portion of modern architectural history, 1949-1987. Modern architectural history is rewritten as a series of three friendship partnerships which have been selected because of their subversive reaction to their respective establishments. They are English architects, Alison Smithson and Peter Smithson; South African born architect and planner, Denise Scott Brown and North American architect, Robert Venturi; and Greek architect, Elia Zenghelis and Dutch architect, Rem Koolhaas.

Crucial to the undermining of their respective enemies is the friends' collaboration on subversive projects. These projects are built, unbuilt and literary. Warring publicly through the writing of seminal texts is a significant step towards undermining the dominance of their ideological opponents. It also appears that through the making of these projects, the unrecognised architects are able to convert themselves to being recognised as new figureheads.

This thesis contends that as a consequence of the power within each of the three friendship partnerships, the architects are enabled to collaborate against the dominant ideology of their respective enemies and gain status. It also contends that a cycle of friendship and warring is the political system by which the institution of modern architecture has historically reengineered itself to suit the times.

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ID Code: 16040
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Taylor, Jennifer, Hockings, John, & Kumarasuriyar, Anoma
Keywords: Architecture - modern architecture; History � modern architectural history, 1949-1987; Architects - Alison Smithson, Peter Smithson, Denise Scott Brown, Robert Venturi, Elia Zenghelis, Rem Koolhaas, Philosophy - Jacques Derrida, Politics of friendship; Subversive collaboration
Department: Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:55
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2015 04:48

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