Critical Regionalism was based on
• Lack of sense of place in Modern architecture
brought about Phenomenology
• Charles Moore’s ‘ Body, Memory and
Architecture’ ,and works of
• An approach to architecture that strives to counter the
placelessness and lack of meaning in Modern Architecture
by using contextual forces to give a sense of place and
• It was based on Phenomenology
• The term critical regionalism was first used by Alexander
Tzonis and Liane Lefaivre and later more famously and
pretentiously by Kenneth Frampton in "Towards a Critical
Regionalism: Six points of an architecture of resistance."
• Regionalism is an idea stuck to vernacular, and Modernism
is about total newness
• Critical regionalism says,’do not copy vernacular as such, as
the region/context does not exist anymore’. You are not
denouncing regionalism, but being critical about it.
• Sometimes Regionalism goes back to just Conservatism
and resorts to blind use of vernacular.
• But Critical Regionalism seeks architectural traditions
that are deeply rooted in the local conditions.
• This results in a highly intelligent and appropriate
• In its broadest sense, then, the Critical Regionalist
sensibility looks to the uniqueness of site and location
-a design method that is assuredly modern but relies on
the organic unity of local material, climatic, and
cultural characteristics to lend coherence to the
finished work. The result is an architecture suited to
light and touch.
• Kenneth Frampton in his seminal writings on the topic of Critical
Regionalism, Towards a Critical Regionalism: Six Points for an
Architecture of Resistance, describes modern culture and buildings
as moving towards a state of civilization that is both universally
conditioned and exhaustively optimized by technology. He
believes that urban form has become limited by universal building
practices and methods which are driven to form by the iconic
symbols of modern culture, the highway and the skyscraper.
Frampton’s answer to this dilemma is Critical Regionalism, which
he describes as, “mediating the impact of universal civilization
with elements derived indirectly from the peculiarities or a
particular place.” Frampton believes this move towards a critical
regionalism can recapture a lost sense of “place” which has
become an endangered species as globalization, mass
commercialization and the internet moves the world towards
homogeneity and the universal.
• According to Frampton, critical regionalism should
adopt modern architecture critically for its universal
progressive qualities but at the same time should value
responses particular to the context. Emphasis should be
on topography, climate, light, tectonic form rather
than scenography and the tactile sense rather than the
• As put forth by Tzonis and Lefaivre, critical regionalism
need not directly draw from the context, rather
elements can be stripped of their context and used in
strange rather than familiar ways.
Säynatsalo Town Hall- Alvar Aalto
Visual vs Tactile….
• Mediate the impact of universal civilization
with elements derived indirectly from the
peculiarities of a particular space.
• Preference to how the architect deals with the
irregularities of the physical landscape rather
than how he or she employs local culture
• The architect should enter “a dialectical
relation with nature”, taking clues from the
topography and avoiding bulldozing in order to
• Using top-lighting and exposing the elements of
construction, speaking more of the relationship
of the building to its space.
• “Fatehpur Sikri’s courtyards always fascinated me, and the gardens of
Bangalore influenced me. If you pick up the gardens and put them in the
courtyard, then the character changes. Instead of a courtyard that is dry
and rigid, you make a green corridor, in which you can walk and be
comfortable.Of course, when I talked to the clients, I did not talk about
Fatehpur Sikri. I talked about Madurai temple. I said there are courtyards,
there are open spaces, and there are corridors, which are the focal
points. I said that we will create a contemporary institution as important
as the temple, as a temple of learning.
• it had to be done with local materials, to have a local identity, and
working with local craftsmen is cheaper, and local materials are longlasting. That is how stone was used.
• I preferred that the building disappeared, and that you feel that you are
only in spaces. The whole idea began with that: do you really want
dominant architecture? Or architecture that merges with the society and
becomes a part of society. There is a dialogue between the building, the
space, and the people. That is the point.”
B V Doshi on IIM Bangalore design
• “architecture can shape a lived and sensed intertwining
of space and time; it can change the way we live:
Phenomenology concerns the study of essence:
architecture can elevate the experience of daily life
through the various phenomena that emerge from
specific sites, programs and architecture.”-
A watercolored diagram of the Nelson-Atkins museum addition shows Holl’s concept as “the stone”
and “the feather.” By defining the original beaux-arts influence building as “the stone” and
highlighting qualities such as, heaviness, directed movement, internal views, hermetic, and imperial,
he then set up a series of contrasting qualities, such as lightness, open movement, outward views,
meshing into landscape and indigenous. “His strategy has always been that of intertwining opposite
Bruder Klaus Field Chapel / Peter Zumthor
....a wigwam made of 112 tree
trunks. Upon completion of the
frame, layers of concrete were
poured and rammed atop the
existing surface, each around
50cm thick. When the concrete of
all 24 layers had set, the wooden
frame was set on fire, leaving
behind a hollowed blackened
cavity and charred walls.
The unique roofing surface of the
interior is balanced by a floor of
frozen molten lead. Gaze is
pulled up by way of obvious
directionality, to the point where
the roof is open to the sky and
night stars. This controls the
weather of the chapel, as ran and
sunlight both penetrate the
opening and create an ambience
or experience very specific to the
time of day and year.