The exchange of knowledge and skills between cultures has always been a driving force for innovation. This session focuses on the ways in which transnational networks and exchanges of ideas fostered innovation and change in 20th-century architecture.
Contributions might address questions such as why traditional architectural idioms were abandoned in favour of new ones, who pursued change and why, and what obstacles were encountered? Which architectural precedents from outside of a culture served as sources for change and how were these interpreted and altered? What kind of exchange was pursued between which actors and in which locations? What kinds of networks were established and for what ends? Modernism and its proliferation and re-contextualisation are central to this session.
Network theory and the research of transnational influences have recently been given heightened attention. The 2013 WHA (World History Association) conference “Diasporas and Refugees in World History” addressed such themes and ways in which research outcomes have recently found their way into the classrooms of secondary and tertiary education. The SAHANZ (Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand) 2014 conference “Translations” addressed the influences of European architecture in Australia and New Zealand and the EAHN (European Architectural History Network) provides a world-wide network of scholars working on this field and analyzing how modern architecture, developed in a cultural ‘centre’, has found its way into ‘peripheral’ spaces world-wide.
Whereas many of these conferences and groups focus on the relationship between the European ‘centre’ and the Asian, African, and Pacific ‘periphery’, this session would focus mainly on connections between countries often thought of as within the ‘periphery’ and Great Britain, the European continent, and the USA. Investigations into transnational networks and exchanges will enable discussion on the ways in which networks might have supported the development of architecture that sought to delineate national and cultural identities, and that wished to be perceived as either modern and independent or as adhering to inherited traditions.
Session chair: Dr Tanja Poppelreuter, University of Ulster; t.poppelreuter[at]ulster.ac.uk