SAH 70th Annual Conference, Glasgow, June 7-11, 2017

Conference Session Chairs: Dr Karen Burns and Professor Paul Walker, University of Melbourne

Abstracts of 300 words due June 6, 2016. The Call for Papers and submission details can be found at the SAH website:

Postmodern architecture has conventionally been identified with late capital and vast, privately owned, semi-public interior spaces. This perception of 1970s and 1980s postmodern architecture as an agent of privatisation in a declining public sphere relies heavily on evidence from the United Kingdom and the United States. In those nations, the neo-liberal attack on modernist architecture as public policy – exemplified in the demolition of St Louis’s Pruitt-Igoe public housing – was followed by the decline of government agencies responsible for social housing and public works. Few large-scale examples of state postmodernism prospered in the United Kingdom and North America.

By comparison, the trajectory of postmodern architecture in other geographic settings has been neglected. For example, in Australia postmodern architecture in the 1980s is overtly connected to government agency. During the 1960s and 70s Australia experienced the same clashes between government bodies and community activists over modernist architecture as elsewhere. Australia subsequently also adopted neo-liberal economic and social policies.  A key difference in the Australian case, however, is that even conservative politicians remained committed to cultivating the idea of community. The public postmodernism that resulted in Australia is most apparent in Romaldo Giurgola’s New Parliament House (1979-1988). However, state patronage of postmodern architecture extended across the country and many modest community facilities were constructed in neo-vernacular and classical modes.

We invite papers that examine the reception and trajectory of postmodern architecture in geographic contexts other than - or in contrast to – architecture’s postmodern condition in North America and Britain. In particular, we are interested in submissions that examine postmodern architecture in specific settings and in relation to evolving conceptions of government agency, community, and the public realm, as well as in relation to privatisation and neo-liberalism’s ‘cultural logic’.