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Critical Regionalism

Critical Regionalism is an approach to architecture that strives to counter the placelessness and lack of meaning in Modern Architecture by using contextual forces to give a sense of place and meaning. The term Critical Regionalism was first used by Alex Tzonis and Liliane Lefaivre and later more famously by Kenneth Frampton.

Frampton put forth his views in "Towards a Critical Regionalism: Six points of an architecture of resistance." He evokes Paul Ricouer's question of "how to become modern and to return to sources; how to revive an old, dormant civilization and take part in universal civilization". According to Frampton, Critical Regionalism should adopt modern architecture critically for its universal progressive qualities but at the same time should value responses particular to the context. Emphasis should be on topography, climate, light, tectonic form rather than scenography and the tactile sense rather than the visual. Frampton draws from phenomenology to supplement his arguments.

As put forth by Alex Tzonis and Liliane Lefaivre, Critical Regionalism need not directly draw from the context, rather elements can be stripped of their context and used in strange rather than familiar ways. Here the aim is to make aware of a disruption and a loss of place that is already a fait accompli through reflection and self-evaluation.

Critical Regionalism is different from Regionalism which tries to achieve a one-to-one correspondence with vernacular architecture in a conscious way without consciously partaking in the universal.

Critical Regionalism is considered a particular form of post-modern (not to be confused with Postmodernism as architectural style) response in developing countries.

Architects who have used such an approach in some of their works include B.V.Doshi, Charles Correa, Raj Rewal, and Tadao Ando.

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