Josef Frank and the history of architecture: Gothic and the Renaissance, Leon Battista Alberti and Albrecht Dürer in architectural discourse on Neues Bauen at the beginning of the 1930s

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Abstract

The paper focuses on Josef Frank’s convinced use of historiographical arguments in his sharp critique of German modernist architecture. Frank’s attention to architectural history dates back to his education at the Technische Hochschule in Vienna, with Carl König, and the writing of a doctoral thesis on Leon Battista Alberti’s religious buildings in 1910. If a profound knowledge of Alberti’s writings informs Frank’s entire theoretical work, the point discussed here is the parallel between Neues Bauen and Gothic traced by Frank to exclude Neues Bauen from a true modernity, based, on the opposite, on a classical tradition of thought. An attempt is made to reconstruct Frank’s historiographical references and to insert his work in the broader historiographical context, thus highlighting a close link between architectural theory and critique on the one hand and contemporary historiographical constructions on the other.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Art Historiography
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Historiography
  • Viennese Architecture

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