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Synopsis

This innovative edited collection charts the rise, fall and possible futures of the word primitive.

The word primitive is fundamental to the discipline of architecture in the west, providing a convenient starting point for the many myths of architecture's origins. Since the almost legendary 1970s conference on the Primitive, with the advent of post-modernism and, in particular, post-colonialism, the word has fallen from favour in many disciplines. Despite this, architects continue to use the word to mythologize and reify the practice of simplicity.

Primitive includes contributions from some of today’s leading architectural commentators including Dalibor Vesely, Adrian Forty, David Leatherbarrow, Richard Weston and Richard Coyne. Structured around five sections, Negotiating Origins; Urban Myths; Questioning Colonial Constructs; Making Marks; and Primitive Futures, the essays highlight the problematic nature of ideas of the primitive, engage with contemporary debate in the field of post colonialism and respond to a burgeoning interest in the non-expert architecture.

This now controversial subject remains, for better or worse, intrinsic to the very structure of Modernism and deeply embedded in architectural theory. Considering a broad range of approaches, this book provides a rounded past, present and future of the word primitive in the architectural sphere.

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