Bart Lootsma
University of Innsbruck – Institute of Architectural Theory, History and Landmark Preservation


Architecture has changed from a discipline in service of the larger part of the population through public housing, public buildings, public spaces, urban planning and design to a particular and already in itself disparate niche market of the real estate business that has more to do with the media industry than with public tasks. Architectural criticism has become part of this media industry as well. Thus, Postmodern architecture could flourish as the bastard child of political and cultural populist strategies. Today, architectural criticism finds itself in a deep crisis due to new developments in publishing and it’s financing. This also affects Critical Theory. With its background of ideas rooted in Marxism and Enlightenment, Critical Theory seems to have great difficulty with not only the speed of new developments and the unpredictability of their directions, but also with the increasingly dominant irrational but powerful aspects of marketing and propaganda in which it’s voice seems no longer heard beyond the walls of the academic ghetto.

architectural criticism, postmodernism, populism, individualisation, critical theory



SAJ Vol. 3, 2011, No. 3