Thinking the Present: Recent American Architecture

Recent American architecture has not received the attention it deserves and needs in order to arrive at a positive understanding of its present. Despite the formidable dissemination of information, there has been a tendency to ignore the complex and shifting factors that definitively contribute to the actual production of architecture. Contemporary design has been seen as unrelated either to theoretical developments in other spheres of cultural production or to new conditions in politics and the economy.Thinking the Present is a collection of essays delivered to a recent conference at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University that examines the consonances and disturbances of recent American architecture and attempts to revise the terms in which it is thought, articulated, and practiced. Although an imprecise line separates the recent past from the actual present, today’s architectural condition remains indebted to certain seminal issues that emerged in the mid-seventies. From this point of departure, the collection of essays analyzes the nature and impact of underlying theoretical and ideological issues on the development of the past twelve years of American architecture.
Thinking the Present includes an introduction by Rafael Moneo and essays by Peggy Deamer on Michael Graves, Martin Filler on the large firms, Alan Plattus on Venturi Rauch and Scott Brown, K. Michael Hays on Peter Eisenman, Carol Burns on Frank Gehry, Herbert Muschamp on “recent proliferations,” and Hal Foster on architecture, development, and memory.
Thinking the Present is an excellent introduction to the state of contemporary American architecture and a thought-provoking overview of where it is headed.

Co-Editor Carol Burns,

Princeton Architectural Press, 1990