Stockholms stadsbibliotek och Moderna museet - En analys av arkitekturkritik i svensk press

by Ingemark Milos, Anna, PhD

Abstract (Summary)
In this dissertation, The Public Library and the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm – A Study of Architectural Criticism in the Swedish Press, the textual genre of architectural criticism is discussed from different perspectives. The principal aim is to illuminate, through a close reading of a sample of articles, how professional critics discursively and rhetorically communicate their idea of architecture and architectural quality. My case studies consist of a selection of the critical reception in the press of Stockholm Public Library (Gunnar Asplund 1928 and the competition for an extension 2007-2008) and the Museum of Modern Art (Rafael Moneo 1998). After a briefly sketched history of architectural criticism and a survey of the critique in swedish press I give an account of a method of approaching the critical articles within the framework of a case study concerning textual analysis. My close reading, where both form and contents are in focus, has its starting point in the methods of critique (normative, interpretive and descriptive) and critical elements (description, interpretation, evaluation and contextualization) respectively. In addition I am using a variant of discourse analysis and a simplified form of rhetorical analysis. This eclectic method is above all applied to my empirical material in the vertical analysis, where I am scrutinizing every single article starting from my questions at issue. The horizontal analysis – based on all texts in the case study – consists of an all-embracing, thematic treatment as well as a reflection on the authors’ use of language and rhetoric. My conclusion from the close reading is that the assessments themselves, which primarily touch upon aestethic and spatial qualities, are often expressed implicitly (for example by means of metaphors or rhetorical questions) and normatively (for example by means of comparisons with canonized buildings). My impression is that architectural critique as a phenomenon, is characterized by three different intentions: to assess architectonic quality, state one’s view of architecture/introduce an ideal and to convey experiences and knowledge – which influence different texts in varying degrees. There is a verbal tradition within the field of architecture which offers both a terminology and a way of expression that is unmistakable. I am of the opinion that within the criticism of architecture there exists a kind of meta-critical model where an account of the form, function and origin of the building combined with an established terminology, expressions characteristic of the period associated with current discourses and a rich imagery is typical.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Lunds universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:HUMANITIES and RELIGION; Aesthetic subjects; rhetoric; discourse analysis; close reading; architectural value; Rafael Moneo; Gunnar Asplund; art museum; library; cultural buildings; Architectural criticism; Swedish press


Date of Publication:01/01/2010

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