Architecture Without Architects

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Architecture Without Architects cover

Architecture Without Architects: A Short Introduction to Non-pedigreed Architecture is a book based on the NYC MoMA exhibition of the same name by Bernard Rudofsky originally published in 1964. It provides a demonstration of the artistic, functional, and cultural richness of vernacular architecture.

Previous research[edit]

Rudofsky had long been interested in vernacular architecture. In 1931 he completed his dissertation on vernacular concrete architecture on the Greek Cyclades islands.[1] He was convinced that modernism, but especially modern architecture got out of touch with the needs, and sensuality of mankind.

NYC MoMA exhibition[edit]

After having curated the highly controversial NYC MoMA-show "Are Clothes Modern?", an exhibition where Rudofsky argued that clothing lacked utility, and - due to its highly artificial nature - even had harming effects on the human body,[2] Rudofsky developed the exhibition Architecture Without Architects, that was from 11 Nov. 1964-7 Feb. 1965 on show at the NYC MoMA.[3] In 200 enlarged black-and-white-photographs, he showed various kinds of architectures, landscapes, and people living with or within architectures.[4] Shown without texts or explanations, the visitors were just confronted with imagery that showed indigenous building traditions, which were very much at odds with the ideas of architectural modernism which had been promoted through NYC MoMA's Philip Johnson in his famous 1932 exhibition "Modern Architecture. International Exhibition". Although the show was heavily critisied, it became one of the most successful exhibitions in the history of the NYC MoMA.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rudofsky, Bernard (1931). Eine primitive Betonbauweise auf den südlichen Kykladen, nebst dem Versuch einer Datierung derselben (Begutachter: Siegfried Theiss, Franz Krauss). Dissertation, Wien, Technischen Hochschule.
  2. ^ Kino, Carol (2008-02-24). "Are Clothes Modern?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-02-16.
  3. ^ "Architecture Without Architects. MoMA Press Release" (PDF). 7 December 1964.
  4. ^ "Architecture Without Architects | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2017-02-16.