In 1983 Paolo Portoghesi connected the rise of architectural postmodernism to the struggle of the Polish Solidarity movement, writing: “The architecture of our century opposes ideology to life, projects to reality.” This statement points to an ambition, shared by many postmodern architects, to position style and aesthetic as a form of politics, while complicating the geographical narratives of architecture postmodernism originating from the West. Yet because categories such as “ideology,” “life,” “project” and “reality” were understood and used quite differently by different architects in different political, economic and cultural contexts, it also points to the need to place the study of principles underlying postmodern architecture in the context of global politics and international relations, what we call postmodernism’s geopolitical aesthetic.

Prompting a particular bonding between design and ideology, the flourishing of postmodern aesthetics in the global West, East and South was arguably connected to the shift from late socialism to late capitalism. Yet very few postmodern authors and architects would acknowledge their complicity with capitalist expansion. Through examples of postmodern translations in Chile, East Germany, Italy, the Soviet Union and the US, this special collection examines the roles of politics and aesthetics in the global expansion of architectural postmodernism.

Was postmodernism an instrument of propaganda or dissent? How was it shaped by processes of restructuring in late capitalism as well as “late socialism”? What were the criticisms levelled at postmodern style and ideas? What was translated and what was lost in postmodern exchanges between architects in the West, East and South? By examining these questions this special collection will contribute to emerging global histories of architectural postmodernism.

The collection includes four original articles plus an introduction by editors Maroš Krivý and Léa-Catherine Szacka.

Lidia Klein, University of North Carolina at Charlotte "Between Propaganda and Dissent: Postmodern Architecture in Pinochet’s Chile"

Aaron Cayer, University of New Mexico "Aesthetics of Indeterminacy: The Architecture of Conglomerate Corporations"

Torsten Lange, ETH Zurich “Entertainment Value: The Friedrichstadtpalast and Late-Socialist Critiques of Postmodernism”

Da Hyung Jeong, New York University “Italo-Soviet Architectural Exchanges and Postmodernism under Late Socialism”

Research Article

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