In search of our very own Las Vegas

2011-06-30
In search of our very own Las Vegas. Polish architecture after 1980
Lecture by Michał Wiśniewski
June 30, 6 p.m.


In 1972 Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour published Learning from Las Vegas, a provocative, interdisciplinary research study concerning the American capital of hazard and, simultaneously, a symbol of kitsch and the so-called bad taste. In their book the city of Las Vegas was also recognised as a powerful manifestation of the real visual and aesthetic needs of the American society.
At the very same time, during the early 1970s, the Polish architecture was dominated by the modernist discourse and focused on monumental eddifices made of prefabricated reinforced-concrete slabs. The fall of the communist system as well as implementation of the new economic rule allowed Poles to rethink their own aesthetic and architectural needs. Within the last two decades, Polish architecture has faced a growing interest in such problems as locality and identity. From the Baltic Sea coast up to the Tatra Mountains one may seen new constructions that, quite often, are recognised as an expression of kitsch and bad taste by the critics. On the other hand, new Polish architecture might be seen as a manifestation of the economic and aesthetic aspirations of the society. Naive historicism as well as a need of luxury underpin the aesthetic factors of thousands of newly built Polish houses and public buildings.
The lecture delivered by Michał Wiśniewski will focus on such problems as the background and identity of the Polish architecture of the last thirty years.



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