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Where is architecture truly 'modern'?

By Kathleen James-Chakraborty
Oxford University Press Blog

Architecture since 1400 (Kathleen James-Chakraborty)Too often, we in Europe and the English-speaking world presume that we have a monopoly on both modernity and its cultural expression as modernism. But this has never been the case. Take, for instance, the case of sixteenth and seventeenth century urbanism in Europe and Asia. One can focus on the different ways in which classical precedent was deployed in Europe, teasing out the distinctions between the early and late Renaissance, not to mention Mannerism and Baroque. These had no exact counterparts in the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires, which stretched east from Budapest to what is now Bangladesh. Indeed, even many northern Europeans were slow to be impressed, although the revival of antique classicism certainly left its imprint upon Iberian colonial outposts (one can find sixteenth and seventeenth century churches with Roman-inspired facades in the Yucatan, Macau, and more). But from Madrid to Delhi, many capitals nonetheless shared the same new features during these years. The emergence of large, logically organized public spaces lined by uniform facades, broad tree-lined boulevards, and domed houses of worship tied these places together and evoked paradigms that were established even earlier to the east, especially in Beijing. The court cultures of Istanbul, Isfahan, and Delhi made almost exactly the same breaks with their medieval pasts as their counterparts in Paris, Madrid, and Rome - See more at:

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Architecture since 1400