Postmodernism Unbound

Principal Investigator(s): Dr Francesco Proto


About us

Following the latest reassessment of Postmodernism in architecture, this research is a monograph in progress addressing the recent history of architecture in the light of neo-avant-garde fine art trends of British and American Pop Art as well as the critical theoretical notions of object, image and event. The projected outcome is a re-reading of the contemporary history of architecture flirting with the increasing dematerialization of the built environment consequent upon the advent of advanced/turbo-capitalist trends and the commodification of existence it has brought about.

The latest research in this project, comprising a chapter in the forthcoming publication, focuses on Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown’s research on an American approach to Classicism leading to the implementation of popular culture in contemporary construction techniques, and the consequent spreading of bad taste in the built environment. By addressing the concept of unintentional originality that Venturi and Scott Brown ascribe to popular culture, the book chapter also explores the aesthetic concept of ‘failed emulation’ inhabiting contemporary class struggle.

Research impact

The research project challenges the prevalent understanding of European Postmodernism by highlighting the long-lasting impact that the undisclosed relationship between the artistic neo-avant-gardes and architecture is having on the discipline, as well as the ante-litteram virtualization of the built environment stemming out of it.

  • Proto, F. “James Stirling’s Post-Avant-Garde Collage: The Flatbed Picture Plane and the Pursuit of Virtuality”, Architectural Research Quarterly, 25, Issue 3 (2022): 231-244.
  • Proto, F. “The Pompidou Centre or the Hidden Centre of Dematerialization”, The Journal of Architecture, 10, no. 5: 573-589.  

Forthcoming publication

  • Proto, F. “Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown: Guild House to Decorated  Shed” (Architectural Research Quarterly).

Chapters in progress

  • Proto, F. “Jean Nouvel and the Cartier Foundation”
  • Proto, F. “Archigram and the Architectural Happening”