Love it or hate it, architecture of the 1970s now has another label: historic.
The 1970s turn 50 in 2020 and Docomomo US will spend the year looking at a time of great change and an even greater variety of forms, technical advances and ideas of architectural thinking. With their mirror skins, brush-hammered concrete facades, dramatic or colorful forms, expressions of whimsy and historical context, Docomomo US and our chapters will explore these elements and more to see what rises to the top.
For all the fragmentation and contradictions, architectural designs of the 1970s had many powerful external forces to take into consideration including the recently passed National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. An Act, that perhaps unconsciously, led to the desire to build more original or monumental forms over similar universally applied ideas. Architectural designs also were responding to the cultural zeitgeist of political and social upheaval, the looming energy crisis, new advances in material and building technology, and sought to elevate egalitarian values much like in earlier designs. But architecture of the 1970s is also uniquely aligned with corporate development, branding and large project or campus architecture. When, if not in the 1970s, does a building shape or form correspond more directly with a corporation’s identity and values?
It is these contradictions and transgressions we seek to explore and comprehend in this golden anniversary of 1970s architecture.