Christian Norberg-Schultz’s Demotion of Textual History
This chapter focuses on Christian Norberg-Schulz, one of the most influential architecture theorists of the 1960s and 1970s. He was a key interpreter of phenomenology in general and of Martin Heidegger in particular for architectural audiences. Through his carefully staged photo-essays, Norberg-Schulz theorized the history of architecture as the recurrence of visual patterns. The chapter argues that his photo[historio]graphy was fundamentally antihistorical; it attempted to ward off critical reflection by concealing its own historical construction. Norberg-Schulz passed off his photographs as universally valid visions of a timeless natural order that modern architects were invited to return to, in order to escape history.
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