Home » The work of Max Cetto: Restorations of topography and disciplinarity in twentieth century modern architecture. by Juan Manuel Heredia
The work of Max Cetto: Restorations of topography and disciplinarity in twentieth century modern architecture. Juan Manuel Heredia

The work of Max Cetto: Restorations of topography and disciplinarity in twentieth century modern architecture.

Juan Manuel Heredia

Published
ISBN : 9780549809784
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403 pages
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This dissertation examines the work of architect Max Cetto. Educated and trained in the progressive circles of Weimar Germany during the 1920s, Cetto witnessed and participated in the rise of modern architecture during its heroic decade. BeginningMoreThis dissertation examines the work of architect Max Cetto. Educated and trained in the progressive circles of Weimar Germany during the 1920s, Cetto witnessed and participated in the rise of modern architecture during its heroic decade. Beginning in 1936 he worked for the National Socialists in one of the remaining enclaves of modernism in the country. At the eve of the war and frustrated by the socio-political climate of Germany, he decided to immigrate to America. After a brief but crucial stop in the United States, he settled in Mexico in 1939, where he remained for the rest of his life.-Having the privilege of learning, debating, and working with important architectural figures, Cetto arrived to Mexico with a solid career behind him. Yet it was in his adoptive country where he produced his most influential work. Apart from many significant buildings he contributed to transform Mexican architectural culture, which by the time of his arrival was enthusiastically committed to responding pressing social demands but was also highly formalistic in prospects, methods and results. Paradoxically as an alien, his specific contribution consisted of a place-oriented hermeneutics that challenged the instrumental and aesthetically-oriented one of local architects. In the wider context, his work belonged to a comprehensive realignment of the international modern movement meant to overcome its inaugural stage and achieve effective consonances between buildings and their physical and cultural milieus. Cettos topographical approach introduced and revived ways to thematize topics of site, materiality, spatiality and practicality. More peculiarly, he helped to redirect the efforts of Mexicos relatively autonomous but isolated modernism within a proper disciplinary perspective.-This dissertation takes issue with the view that sees his work as the imposition of an international style in an independent national/modern horizon. It also challenges the argument considering him a sublimator of the tension between modernity and tradition. While it partially acknowledges these claims, it sees problems of diffusion, intrusion or synthesis as marginal. More narrowly but of greater architectural relevance, it considers his education and professional upbringing, namely the influence of Hans Poelzig, and his role as a young practitioner, as determinant for his mature work. Without disavowing the influence that Mexico exerted upon him, it regards his formative background as the basis for his transformative role as both advocate of architectures disciplinary identity and its compliance with the structures of the natural world.