The New Mexico Center for the Performing Arts: A study in critical regionalism



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Critical Regionalism is an approach to architecture that was first postulated by Alexander Tzonis and Liane Lefaiwe, and later defined by Kenneth Frampton as a theory that might oppose Post-Modernism. "Critical Regionalism", according to Frampton, "is not intended to denote the vernacular as was once produced by the combined interaction of climate, culture, myth and craft, but to identify those recent schools whose aim has been to represent the limited constituencies in which they are grounded." (Frampton, 1985, p. 313) This is not to say that climate, culture, myth and craft are to be excluded when defining a critical regionalism. On the contrary, as a theory Critical Regionalism seeks to create an architecture that is rooted in the particulars of a site. In recent years regionalism has lost its appeal as an architectural theory because so-called regionalist design has been marketed as a saleable image rather than as a fundamental approach to architecture. Regionalism has become a convenient catchall for the superficial application of a local vernacular. This is where critical regionalism differs from regionalism. Critical Regionalism is best when it understands a site's topography, culture, climate, light, indigenous materials, built environment and even its' spiritual qualities. "Critical Regionalism serves as a means of anchoring a building to its surroundings without resorting to overt historicism." (Dietsch, Aug. 1991, p. 13)



Architecture, Music-halls, Theaters, Architecture and climate, Regionalism, Albuquerque (N.M.)