Marissa Looby and Michael Holt explore the inherent paradox in the idea of being modern: Is today’s concept of “newness” simply a mimicry of the past?
When the contemporary architect is requested to design something modern, they are faced with a contradiction: they seek something situated in the past. However, what does one mean by modern? The term “modern” is easily confused with its architectural stylistic equivalence, Modernism, as it is with its linguistic relative, modernity. The convergence of modern/Modernism/modernity becomes crystalline when considering that they all inherently reject “tradition” so as to be particularly “of their own time.” Therefore, in accepting modernity as the present period or in holding an appreciation of Modernist ideals or aesthetics, the architect is paradoxically working against the idea of what it is to be modern.