Functional or modern? On the preference for rational explanations in the historiography of Swedish modernism

Christina Pech

Project Period: 2014-2015
Type: Senior research project
Program Area(s): Critical Historiography


The project aims to study the historiography of Swedish modernism departing from material published by the Swedish Museum of Architecture during the late 1970s. A working hypothesis, directly derived from my PhD thesis Arkitektur och motstånd. Om sökandet efter alternativ i svensk arkitektur (2011), is that Swedish architectural modernism as we know it today was largely formulated in the years around 1980. In connection to this it is suggested that written material – exhibition catalogues, monographs, biographies et cetera - produced by the museum contributed to framing the questions, positions, people and buildings that are still reproduced in scholarly as well as popular discourse. The project will apart from analysing ideas and trajectories put forward by staff and associated researchers at the museum investigate the preference for the term functionalism (instead of modernism) in the Swedish architectural context, as one assumption is that the preferred Swedish terminology has
contributed to exclude international discourse and thereby a number of relevant readings and potential knowledge.

Researcher(s) Bio and Publications