Kenneth Frampton

I went to hear Kenneth Frampton launch the fifth edition of his book (it actually appeared pre-COVID in 2020) Modern Architecture: A Critical History, first published in 1980, the high noon of Post-modernism, as demonstrated by Paolo Portoghesi’s 1980 Venice Architecture Biennale. Frampton’s book was in some way, I sensed, a riposte, a canonical text of the modern movement, suggested by Robin Middleton, who was Frampton’s successor as technical editor on Architectural Design in the 1960s, and commissioned by Thomas Neurath, the then managing director of Thames and Hudson. What was impressive was – as Frampton was the first to acknowledge – the nearly impossible geographical range of the book, including brief sections on each of the countries of South America, but also how up-to-date the selection of architects: Chipperfield, not just for the Henley Rowing Museum, but also the Jacob Simon Gallery in Berlin (2018); Niall McLaughlin for the Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre in Worcester College, Oxford; and Eric Parry for 4, Pancras Square in London (2017). I just hope I remain as intellectually- and physically – alert at 91.

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