Journal Article

The Architect's Intention: Interpreting Post-War Modernism through the Architect Interview

Robert Proctor

in Journal of Design History

Published on behalf of Design History Society

Volume 19, issue 4, pages 295-307
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 0952-4649
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1741-7279 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jdh/epl024
The Architect's Intention: Interpreting Post-War Modernism through the Architect Interview

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • History of Art
  • Art Forms
  • Industrial and Commercial Art
  • Art Styles

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

This article applies recent work in the field of oral historiography to the architectural history of post-war modernism to show that the architect interview does not give a direct access to intention (the use to which it is most often put), but should be considered in light of its specific formal qualities. The uses and problems of the interview in establishing authorship within the inherently collaborative practice of architecture are explored, and the interview is seen as inherently privileging an artistic or authorial concept of the architect's role. The potential for an analysis of the interview as a textual form constructed around narrative conventions is shown through case-studies, to establish a mode of historical writing which takes narrative and its underlying functions of meaning as its subject matter. The nature of artistic intention in relation to interpretation is also examined, leading to a view of the architect interview as a text of reception, the ‘self-reception’ of the architect. In a final section, the dependence of memory on historical evidence provides another way in which the interview can be analysed as an architect's own history of the past. While the architect interview has previously been described as unreliable, this article shows that the forms of its unreliability are significant in themselves, and can lead to modes of interpretative history which are specific to oral forms of evidence.

Keywords: architecture; design intention; Great Britain; historiography; modernism; oral history

Journal Article.  8525 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Art ; Art Forms ; Industrial and Commercial Art ; Art Styles

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.