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Modernity and Early Cultures

Reconsidering non western references for modern architecture in a cross-cultural perspective


Edited By Anna Minta and Bernd Nicolai

At the beginning of the 20th century, the discovery of early cultures exerted a formative influence on modern architecture. Discussions on early civilizations in the Middle East, South-East Asia, and the pre-Columbian cultures of North and South America as well as new perceptions of archaism and primitivism revolutionized the production of art and architecture.
In this anthology, European and North and South American scholars from various fields address art and architectural theory to show the avant-garde’s historical relation to archaeology and its influence on the development of Modernism. Contributors include Can Bilsel (San Diego), Luis E. Carranza (Rhode Island), Johannes Cramer (Berlin), Christian Freigang (Frankfurt), Maria P. Gindhart (Atlanta), Jorge F. Liernur (Buenos Aires), Anna Minta (Bern), and Bernd Nicolai (Bern).


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Oriental Projections


Architecture in the Museum Theodor Wiegand and the Reproduction of Antiquity in Berlin’s Pergamon Museum1 Can Bilsel We have now had a glimpse of all the rooms of the new museum. In all of them it has proved possible to reconstruct the architectural masterpieces of ancient times in their full original height, thus show- ing the real proportions and conveying to the visitor an adequate sense of space. In this museum, the greatest museum of architec- ture the world over, it is intended that visitors should rivet their attention first and foremost on the immense ensemble and then be enabled to follow the evolution of style from the sixth century B. C. down to the threshold of the Christian era […] Theodor Wiegand, The Pergamon Museum, c. 19302 The State Museum of Berlin, popularly known as the Pergamon Museum, is among the most complex buildings of the German capital. Originally conceived as the extension of the Royal Prussian Museum by the archi- tect Alfred Messel in 1907, the building was completed twenty-four years later during the artistically productive and politically uncertain days of the Weimar Republic. As the regimes that patronized the museum changed, so did the original program and architecture of Messel: the museum that opened to the public in 1930 took its final shape in the hands of Berlin’s cultural bureaucracy, whose factions had waged a “museum war” to gain more influence in its plans. The museum met with immediate success in 1930 when it was presented to the...

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