Rationalist Traces
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Modern European architecture has been characterised by a strong undercurrent of rationalist thought. Rationalist Traces aims to examine this legacy by establishing a cross-section of contemporary European architecture, placed in selected national contexts by critics including Ákos Moravánszky and Josep Maria Montaner. Subsequent interviews discuss the theoretical contributions of Giorgio Grassi and OM Ungers, and a survey of Max Dudler and De Architekten Cie.'s work sets out a consistency at one remove from avant-garde spectacle or everyday expediency. In Germany Rationalism offers a considered representation of state institutions, while elsewhere outstanding work reveals different approaches to rationality in architecture often recalling canonical Modernism or the 'Rational Architecture' of the later postwar period. Whether evident in patterns of thinking, a particular formal repertoire, a prevailing consistency or exemplified in individual buildings, this relationship informs the mature work of Patrick Berger, Claus en Kaan Architecten, Carlos Ferrater, Cino Zucchi or Hans Kollhoff. The buildings and projects of a younger generation - Javier García Solera, GWJ Architekten AG, biq, Andrea Bassi or Beniamino Servino - present a Rationalism less conditioned by a concern to promote a unifying aesthetic. While often sharing a deliberate economy of means, or a sensual sobriety, they present a more oblique or distanced relationship with the defining work of the 20th century.


Andrew Peckham teaches architecture at the University of Westminster in London. He recently published 'Norwich Forum 1998-2001' in the Journal of Architecture.

Charles Rattray read architecture at the University of Edinburgh and worked in practice for a number of years. He teaches at the University of Dundee, is a regular contributor to various architectural journals and is Associate Editor of Architectural Research Quarterly. Recent publications include Modern

Ulster Architecture (Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, 2006).

Torsten Schmiedeknecht is an architect and currently a lecturer at the School of Architecture at the University of Liverpool. He edited Fame and Architecture (John Wiley & Sons, 2001) with Julia Chance, and An Architect’s Guide to Fame (The Architectural Press, 2005) with Paul Davies.



On the Threshold of Rationalism

Andrew Peckham, Charles

Rattray and Torsten


The Dichotomies of Rationalism

in 20th-Century Italian


Andrew Peckham

Selected Italian Projects

Andrew Peckham and

Lucia Tozzi

In Interview with Giorgio Grassi

Lucia Tozzi

Concrete Constructs: The Limits

of Rationalism in Swiss


Ákos Moravánszky

Selected Swiss Projects

Torsten Schmiedeknecht

Schinkel’s Order: Rationalist

Tendencies in German


Werner Durth and Roland May

Selected German Projects

Werner Durth and Roland May

Rationalist Practice

Max Dudler

Dialogues with OMU

Andrew Peckham and Torsten


The Employment of Reason

Charles Rattray

Dutch Selected Projects

Charles Rattray

Rationalist Practice

De Architekten Cie.

French Rationalism: A Broken


Joseph Abram

Selected French Projects

Joseph Abram

An Open and Flexible Tradition

Josep Maria Montaner

Selected Spanish Projects

Josep Maria Montaner

Interior Eye

Foster + Partners’ Hearst Tower

and Gehry Partners’ IAC Building

Jayne Merkel

Building Profile

Pedro and Inês Bridge, Coimbra,


Jeremy Melvin  

Practice Profile

Gert Wingårdh

Timothy Tore Hebb

Spiller’s Bits

Mythic Collaboration

Neil Spiller


Brigitta Zics: Working on

Interactive Potential

Valentina Croci

Yeang’s Eco-Files

Part 1: Some Basic Premises

for Green Design

Ken Yeang

McLean’s Nuggets

Will McLean

Why Critical Modernism?

Charles Jencks

Home Body

Leon van Schaik

Site Lines

Hertzian Space: Material

Response to Spatial Presence

Mark Taylor