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Conference on Global Regionalism in Architecture

Nov 17, 2016

PD Dr. Michael Falser, coordinator of the Cluster’s research Project D18 “Picturesque Modernities” organized the international conference “Picturesque Modernities: Architectural Regionalism as a Global Process (1890- 1950)” at the German Center for Art History in Paris. It took place from November 30 to December 02, 2016, and was a collaboration with the German Center for Art History Paris, the University of Poitiers, and the University Paris-Sorbonne and the Association d’Histoire de l’Architecture.

In the last twenty years, architectural historiography approached regionalism as a pan-European movement between 1890 and 1950. As a flipside of the International Modern Movement with its rationalist and cosmopolitan agenda, the pan-European movement helped to reinforce regional identities through the language of regionalist building styles. When European nation states such as France, Great Britain, Netherlands or Germany entered a late-modern phase of political saturation and a stronger need of cultural self-definition, architectural regionalism emerged as artistic strategy. It was fostered either by centralist regimes to stabilize the national project through a higher, however controlled, valorisation of its peripheral elements, or by centrifugal forces towards provincial independence.

Transnational approaches set the different European colonial contexts within the first half of the 20th century in relation to each other. They can also help to conceptualize the recent inter-related effects between globalization and decentralization, where the notions of the global and the local are often enmeshed simultaneously in contemporary architecture.

The Project D18 “Picturesque Modernities” is coordinated by Michael Falser and aims to overcome the territorial determinants of nation-states. It also evolves a multi-polar concept of space in global art history and recognizes colonies not as containers for European style imports and transformations but as highly innovative laboratories for architectural ‘neo-styles’. These ‘neo-styles’ were constitutive in the formation of ‘regionalist styles’ in the European metropoles.

The international conference in French, English and German took place at the German Center for Art History in Paris from 30 November to 2 December 2016. It was organized by Michael Falser, coordinator of the Cluster’s research Project D18 “Picturesque Modernities”, in cooperation with the German Centre of Art History (Paris), Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire en histoire, histoire de l’art et musicologie/CRIHAM of the University of Poitiers, the Centre André Chastel - Laboratoire de Recherche en Histoire de I'Art of the University Paris-Sorbonne and the Association d’Histoire de l’Architecture.

This conference is the second event after the International Conference “Picturesque Eye. Framing Regionalist Art Forms in Late Empires (1900-1950)” which took place in Vienna/Austria in December 2015.

For more information please visit the conference website.


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  • Drawing for a regionalist architecture entitled "Auberge dans la Somme" in Charles Letrosne's publication "Murs et toits de chez nous" (1923-6)

  • The"Technische Hogeschool" in Bandung/Java in the Dutch East Indies (today Indonesia) by Henri Maclaine Pont in 1920 (Photo: Michael Falser 2014)