Canadian Architect


Utopia’s Ghost: Architecture and Postmodernism, Again

August 13, 2007
by Canadian Architect

This lecture by Reinhold Martin takes place on Thursday, August 16 at 6:00pm at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal.

It is difficult to get historians, theorists, or architects to agree on a definition of postmodernism, whether in architecture or elsewhere, except that whatever it is (or was), it has involved the exhaustion of modernist utopias. Many also assume that the postmodern period is now “over.” Architecture has had a special role to play in helping to form these impressions, largely due to assertions made by architects and architectural critics during the 1970s. This presentation, which is excerpted from a larger project that retheorizes postmodernism from a biopolitical perspective, will revisit some of these claims and the architecture with which they have been associated, in the interest of conjuring utopia’s ghost. Its aim is to construct a theoretical and historiographical framework from within which the utopian spirit might be made visible again, while suggesting that in its current, often techno-triumphalist mode, architecture has failed to escape from the postmodern impasse.

Reinhold Martin is Associate Professor of Architecture in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University, where he directs the PhD program in Architecture, and the Master of Science program in Advanced Architectural Design. He is a founding co-editor of the journal Grey Room, a partner in the firm of Martin/Baxi Architects, and has published widely on the history and theory of modern and contemporary architecture. He is the author of The Organizational Complex: Architecture, Media, and Corporate Space (MIT Press, 2003), and the co-author, with Kadambari Baxi, of Entropia (Black Dog, 2001) and Multi-National City: Architectural Itineraries (Actar, 2007). He is currently working on a book that re-theorizes postmodernism.

Admission is free, but reservations are required. Please call 514.939.7001 x1409 to reserve. For more information, please visit

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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