Kenneth Frampton on His Early Career and Appreciating Architectural Talent From Around the Globe

Housing for Mahouts and their Elephants, by RMA Architects, who Frampton names as a practice doing exceptional work in Asia. Image © Carlos Chen Housing for Mahouts and their Elephants, by RMA Architects, who Frampton names as a practice doing exceptional work in Asia. Image © Carlos Chen

In a recent interview with Metropolis Magazine, Kenneth Frampton answered questions about his existing architectural influence and his opinion as it relates to the direction of architectural theory and criticism. Frampton has long been a prominent voice in the world of architectural theory and writing. He has taught at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) since 1972, all the while publishing a large collection of critical essays and books on the topic of 20th-century architecture—the most notable of those being his 1983 essay “Towards a Critical Regionalism: Six Points for an Architecture of Resistance.”

Even today, Frampton's evaluation of critical regionalism is still widely appreciated. In the interview, Frampton admits that he now sees the influence of critical regionalism primarily outside of "the Anglo-American world," but he believes that the implied importance of a "direct democracy" is what he sees as most beneficial.

MPavilion by Studio Mumbai, , who Frampton names as a practice doing exceptional work in Asia. Image © John Gollings MPavilion by Studio Mumbai, , who Frampton names as a practice doing exceptional work in Asia. Image © John Gollings

The tendency is for places like New York to suffer from the illusion that they are the center of the world.

When citing extraordinary work and the practice of critical regionalism today, Frampton looks specifically to the architecture of South Asia in Bangladesh and India. Some of the architects he mentions are Marina Tabassum and Kashef Chowdhury, as well as Rafiq AzamRahul Mehrotra and also Bijoy Jain. Architecture that takes advantage of innovative modern design to solve contextual problems is what makes these architects exemplars in Frampton's mind.

Read more about Frampton and his future plans in his interview with Metropolis Magazine here.

Bait Ur Rouf Mosque by Marina Tabassum, who Frampton names as a practice doing exceptional work in Asia. Image © Aga Khan Trust for Culture / Rajesh Vora Bait Ur Rouf Mosque by Marina Tabassum, who Frampton names as a practice doing exceptional work in Asia. Image © Aga Khan Trust for Culture / Rajesh Vora