The unbearable lightness of building: a cautionary tale.

Sayer, Derek G. (2004) The unbearable lightness of building: a cautionary tale. Grey Room, 16. pp. 6-35. ISSN 1536-0105

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Journal Article
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Grey Room
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This was published as the lead article in a special issue of the respected MIT Press architecture journal The Grey Room on memory and commemoration. Its significance is twofold. Substantively, it provides a detailed history, for the first time in English, of what was in its time the largest functionalist building in Europe (and a structure admired by Le Corbusier among others), the Trade Fair Palace in Prague'a leading example of that largely forgotten interwar Czech architecture Kenneth Frampton has hailed as 'a modernism worthy of the name.' Methodologically, it adds sophistication to discussions of modernism and modernity through systematic confrontation of the building's actual history'including, during World War II, as a processing centre for Jews en route to concentration camps'and what the building has come to signify in discursive retrospect. Earlier versions of this essay were delivered by invitation in the prestigious McGill School of Architecture public lecture series (Montr'al, 2002; other lecturers in the same series have included Daniel Libeskind, Jacques Herzog and Anthony Vidler), and as the keynote lecture at the Czech Studies Workshop at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2003). RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type :
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29 Feb 2008 14:55
Last Modified:
21 Nov 2022 20:27