Panel discussion at ISIH 2014 Conference: Intellectual Hinterlands

Call for Papers for a panel at the ISIH-conference in Toronto, june 2014. We are in need for new papers to complete our panel on ‘Apocryphal and Apostolic Modernism. Forgotten connections between religion and architecture, 1945-1970’.

This panel seeks to discuss the connection between religious and philosophical concepts and the theoretical discourse on architectural modernism from the period 1945-1970. The panel is structured around two different questions that, to a certain extent, mirror each other. The first one is: in what way has religious thinking, of Catholic origin, influenced the theoretical discourse on architectural modernism? Here, the panel seeks papers that will focus on the writings of (European) architects whose theoretical concepts (e.g. form, empathy) did root in religious traditions. Often, canonized views on modernism have, unjustly, neglected and even excluded this complex type of religious imagination. Next to focusing on this ‘apocryphal modernism’, the panel also seeks to answer a second question: in what way did non-religious, philosophical and aesthetic concepts influence the theoretical discourse on religious architecture? Here, the panel wants to concentrate on writings (monographs, art-theoretical journals) by (European) Catholic intellectuals from the fifties and the sixties that reflect on the necessity to innovate religious architecture in line with modernist ideals. This part can be termed “apostolic modernism”. As this panel will disclose the diverse aesthetic theories that were mobilized to safeguard a ritualistic or sacred understanding of the built environment in an increasingly technocratic society, it covers a ‘hinterland’ of both intellectual and religious history. We are looking for three papers which do not reduce the impact of religious beliefs to a regressive element at work within modernity, but disclose the interaction between artistic and religious imagination in the twentieth century, and this in the field of architecture.

Rajesh Heynickx
KU Leuven - Faculty of Architecture
Paleizenstraat 65/67
1000 Brussels