Karl Popper’s Architectural Legacy: An Intertextual Reading Of Collage City



Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter’s book Collage City has been one of the most inspiring works in the field of architecture with its elaborate and stimulating critique of Modernist and Post-war architecture and city planning. Published first as an article in 1975 and later as a book in 1978, Collage City has been one of the cornerstones of postmodern architectural and urban theory since. Philosopher Karl Popper’s ideas on historicism, utopia, tradition, liberal society, etc. had a great influence in shaping the urban architectural theory of Colin Rowe. Although Karl Popper’s impact is very obvious in the book, little attention has been paid to his legacy on Collage City. This paper traces Karl Popper’s legacy on Rowe’s urban architectural theories and design strategies through an in-depth comparative reading of Collage City and Popper’s seminal publications. I argue that a thorough understanding of the context and the content of the collage city argument, and therefore this specific episode in architectural thinking, can only be grasped truly through this intertextual reading. Hence, the intertextual reading in this paper reveals the social, political, and philosophical basis of the collage city argument, which has been approached mainly as a formalist premise so far. In conclusion, the paper aims to reveal the difficult, ambiguous, even blurred, but also productive relationship between the ideas of Colin Rowe and Karl Popper, between architecture and philosophy.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4305/metu.jfa.2016.1.6


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