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Utopia and Postmodernism, the Same Battle?

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Until May 25th, the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) is presenting an exhibition highlighting a sequence of ideas and concepts between utopia and postmodernism, supposedly developed as a reaction against the latter.

Designed in two stages, "Utopia's Ghost: Postmodernism Revisited" is the result of research by Reinhold Martin and his students from Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

To begin, in the fall of 2006, a group of students registered for a Reinhold Martin seminar and put together a series of concepts to identify reminiscences of the utopian ideology in a number of architectural works that were usually considered as postmodernist.

Then, last fall, a second group worked with conservationists and archivists from the Canadian Centre for Architecture to delve deeper into these concepts and apply them to the Centre's collections.
The exhibition, presented in the Octagonal Gallery, is an assortment of "direct and indirect evidence and traces of the haunting presence of utopia's ghost in an architecture that was generally believed to have killed it off once and for all" [translation].

The resulting mosaic consists of original documents from the CCA's collections (including Peter Eisenman, John Hejduk, Aldo Rossi, James Stirling and Mickaël Graves), combined with reproductions of more than 60 projects by 16 architects, from period publications presented in their original format.

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