This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Books by Charles Jencks. Charles Alexander Jencks born 21 June is an American architecture theorist and critic, landscape architect and designer. Architect A new paradigm is sweeping through science, changing both our view juumping the universe and of mankind. Sep 01, Sepehr Sami rated it liked it. John Marshall rated it it was ok Nov 13, Visit our Beautiful Books page and find lovely books for kids, photography lovers and more.
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Combining opposite roles is itself a goal of the postmodern agenda, and Jencks was one of the first to define it positively as an umbrella movement. This primary definition occured because architecture, like opera, is a hybrid artform, necessarily mixing fast-changing technologies and slow-changing values. It is the perfect subject to Charles Jencks onfront the problems of modernity, and thus the nascent movement helped lead worldwide shifts in the other arts and sciences.
Every field soon adopted pluralist approach and, in a globalised world, defined its particular version of the new philosophy - under such rubrics as "postmodern dance" and "complexity science. Summers in this idyllic refuge of dissident artists and intellectuals had a strong influence on his outlook. After getting degrees at Harvard, in English literature and architecture, he moved to the UK in where he has lived ever since.
In Jencks received a PhD in architectural history, studying under the radical modernist Reyner Banham, from whom he learned much especially how to enjoy disagreements. The fruits of this confrontation turned into his pluralist critique of the reigning dogma, Modern Movements in Architecture, published by Penguin books , which became a best-selling textbook for fifteen years.
It criticised the suppression of the outlying modernists — the Expressionists, Constructivists, Organicists who did not fit the party line — and showed how Modernists had collaborated with Vichy, Mussolini and Hitler.
In short, the book revealed the dark sides of Modernism without either supporting a return to the past or a single style. The new PM movement was defined as based on pluralism and hybridity, combining opposite codes of architecture that could adequately express the contradictory requirements and tastes of a global society. Chaos science, fractals, and present-day cosmology all derive from this new paradigm. By the late s it had become the orientation of many creative disciplines.
The ad hoc use of readymade materials, and a basic garage, meant that the savings could be used on symbolic ornament: such things as the one-inch rotunda, the eleven shades of blue that bring out the Cape Cod landscape and metaphors of the body.
His polemical text with Nathan Silver defined Adhocism — the Case for Improvisation in and Adhocism became one of the several strands of Post-Modernism that waxed and waned, as it has done over the centuries.
The question of expressing content in contemporary life was one of the pressing issues of the s: who is the ultimate user of architecture; what values should be crystallised in architecture, above all what is public architecture to represent?
This was followed by other anthologies on semiotics, the theory of signs. His London house, designed with Maggie Keswick and a host of Postmodern architects including Terry Farrell and Michael Graves, was based on explicit and implicit signs and symbols. They referred to cosmic meanings that remain eternal — black holes and whirlpool galaxies — or to local nature, the sun, the moon and changing seasons.
And they depicted self-organising patterns that might become the iconology for a Post-Christian architecture, rather than the gratuitous ornament being tacked onto buildings, or the empty neutrality, the default mode of so much Modernism.
Three years later Jencks switched to landscape design as a site for symbolic exploration, particularly the hybrid landforms that mix sculpture and epigraphy. The great outdoors became the focus for symbolism when Maggie asked Charles to design in the family home and garden in Scotland. Writing and design informed each other. After Maggie died in , Jencks helped co-found and further the Maggie Cancer Caring Centres, twenty of which were built in twenty years.
Architects who had become friends were asked in the first instance to design these small havens, close to a mega-NHS-hospital. Above all was the idea that cancer needs the care of a friend, a relation or attentive companion, someone that can help you navigate the difficult route through over-choice and pain. Major architects took up the challenge, and produced strikingly different icons to the same programme, a demonstration of the pluralist paradigm.
By the year a conjecture became current among scientists that we inhabit a Multiverse, an ensemble of universes. This speculation explains a lot, is reinforced by theories such as inflation and some evidence. It presumes that the parameters and laws are set slightly differently, as one universe grows from another, illuminating why ours is so miraculously fine-tuned for life and basic qualities.
From , Jencks started work on The Crawick Multiverse, a fifty-five acre site in southwest Scotland. It remains a site where every summer new cosmic installations and performances take place.
Galaxies and black holes are celebrated by landforms and local red sandstone. The mythic center of the earth is an Omphalos of boulders; several agencies that affect life — such as the Solar Flare-Earth Shield — are dramatized. Greater complexity, greater meaning? The story of the universe shows the evolution of ever-greater complexity punctuated by catastrophic setbacks and moments of devolution towards simplicity.
This mixed message — benign at the large scale with gratuitous suffering at the small — is oxymoronic. His idea that greater meaning emerges over time assumes that positive evolution also entails greater sensitivity and organisation, more of the qualities that makes life worth living. The PIC inscribed at the top of the Multiverse is the principle of increasing complexity at work. The growth of many cultures, and the cultivation of better wine, are typical positives that do not deny their opposite, mass-cult and the proliferation of plonk.
But they put the race to the bottom in perspective. Global culture may homogenise the landscape, but materialists cannot deny the continuous evolution over three billion years, that ever-more crystals and beautiful minerals have emerged and continue to do so. The Metaphysical Landscape, an exhibition of sculpture at Jupiter Artland , presented the mixed world view. The value of imagination and the imagination of values see to that.
With Post-Modernism, he was looking to the past. Now, for the first time, with his new book on morphogenesis he is taking a look at the future. There is no question that his argument will have an important critical effect on architecture at the beginning of the new millennium. Peter Eisenman. Architect A new paradigm is sweeping through science, changing both our view of the universe and of mankind. Charles Jencks is one of a handful of thinkers with the courage to embrace the emerging paradigm and interpret it architecturally. This inspired synthesis of art, design, science and philosophy charts a bold new course not only for architecture, but for Post-Modern thought.
Send to friend 15 Apr Renowned theorist Charles Jencks bequeaths a powerful built and written legacy following his passing in October last year. Best known for contributions to journalism, land art and Maggies Centres Jencks is a towering figure who moved mountains to inspire others. Here Mark Chalmers weaves together three strands of a stellar career. Charles Jencks passed away in October last year.