Sibyl Moholy-Nagy and the Vicissitudes of Modern Architecture

Sibyl Moholy-Nagy and the Vicissitudes of Modern Architecture

Sibyl Moholy-Nagy and the Vicissitudes of Modern Architecture

This book is constructed as an intellectual biography of Sibyl Moholy-Nagy. Sibyl Moholy-Nagy was born in 1903 in Loschwitz, near Dresden, the daughter of Werkbund architect Martin Pietzsch. After the death of her husband Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, she started upon a scholarly career, publishing first his biography (Experiment in Totality, 1950) and several other books (Native Genius in Anonymous Architecture, 1957; Raul Villanueva and the architecture of Venezuela, 1964; Matrix of Man, 1968). Apart from these books, Moholy-Nagy wrote the introduction to The Architecture of Paul Rudolph (1970) and published many articles, in periodicals such as Architectural Forum, Progressive Architecture, Bauwelt and Casabella. She thus was a major voice in the architectural culture of the fifties and the sixties. Her significance relies upon her early but acute criticism of some aspects of modernist architecture, especially of its preference for abstract, neutral spaces and its disdain for the everyday needs of its inhabitants. She was moreover extremely interested in the world at large, venturing out to Latin America, Japan and India, and setting up courses on tropical architecture and the global history of human settlements. She thus represented and defended a version of modernism which was informed by aesthetic and historical sensitivities that have been largely absent from canonical historiographies of the period.

Author: Hilde Heynen

Image source: Andy Merregaert

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