File(s) under permanent embargo

Thought and feeling in Giedion's mechanization takes command

conference contribution
posted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by Mirjana LozanovskaMirjana Lozanovska
An internal crisis within architecture and the way historiography both presents and conceals it, can be seen most strikingly in the contrast between two publications by the architectural historian Sigfried Giedion, Space Time and Architecture: The Growth of a New Tradition, published in 1941, and Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History, published in 1948. These two publications take us back to the scene of World War Two, the former during the war and after Giedion's affair with America, and the latter after the war. At the time of publication Giedion's former book, Space, Time and Architecture, was seen as a "blockbuster" by the architectural community (especially in the USA). The latter publication, Mechanization, did not receive a favourable response by the same professional community. Their contrasting historiography suggests that the internal crisis of architecture is in a constant struggle with architecture's exterior, in this case, war. Giedion's Mechanization can be seen as the shadow text of the progressive myth of the former. With a focus on Mechanization, the paper aims to open its discursive approach to history. The post-war city is where Giedion's publications and my studies on "a gap of history" coincide and intersect. Giedion is fascinated with psychic factors shown in the recurring theme of the split between thought and feeling and exemplified in the dialectic between image and text. Drawing on psychoanalytic theory I argue that this functions as a mirror-stage in relation to a discourse on architecture and to architecture's disciplinary boundaries where the subject of architecture lacks the ideality and unity that is represented in the former publication.



Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand. Conference (30th : 2013 : Gold Coast, Queensland)


879 - 889


Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand


Gold Coast, Queensland

Place of publication

Gold Coast, Qld.

Start date


End date








Publication classification

E1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2013, Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand


A Brown, A Leach

Title of proceedings

OPEN 2013 : Proceedings of the 30th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand

Usage metrics