Mélange Modernism: Case Studies of Alternative Architectural Practices at the Crossroads Between Modernism and Postmodernism

by

Alexandru Sabău

Keywords

  • alternative practices
  • Romanian Postmodernism
  • competition proposals

This article seeks to illustrate certain lesser-known aspects of the 1980s Romanian architecture. It pursues marginal endeavors that derive from the official state-run practice, attempting to create critical works and to establish a form of synchronism with currents from the Western Bloc. The umbrella term _mélange Modernism _is put forward in order to encompass a wider range of searches and creations, which have a common background: a pedagogical modernist education mixed with forms of postmodernist experimentation. I seek to make an overview of this palette of searches and creations, with the intent of finding their place in the architecture scene of the 1980s.

As the official state-run practice was driven by an agenda that suppresses critical thinking in favor of politically imposed stances, this paper seeks to investigate the manner in which these architects were practicing intimate critical discourses during this period and ultimately, what can be remembered and appreciated from this historical moment other than the official state-run practice. Looking towards the Western Bloc of the time, we find a late Postmodernism that cultivated architectural drawing as the receptacle for discourse and as an object of art in itself. Similarly, groups of architects from the Eastern Bloc were creating in phase with this culture of architectural drawing. The article aims to present similar practices in Romania.

I am going to comment on four case studies that illustrate these efforts to create critical architectures: a diploma project, two proposals for international competitions, and a built architectural object.