12 Pages

North versus South: Introduction

The complex relationship between Modern Architecture and the Mediter ­ ranean, a “meeting place” in the words of Fernand Braudel, of diverse cultural, economic, and social realities, is the common theme of the essays in this collection.2 A fountainhead of classical and vernacular traditions, the Mediter ­ ranean basin not only inspired native artists and architects of this southern region to delve into its visual, spatial, and material history for creative renewal, it also attracted individuals from northern countries who traveled to its shores in pursuit of education and recreational escape. As Barry Bergdoll outlines in the Foreword, this North-South relationship that brought northern artists, architects, and intellectuals to the “land where the lemon trees bloom” (as Wolfgang von Goethe described it) in search of classical proportions and new experiences began to change with the radical social and economic paradigm shifts that came with urbanization and industrialization of the northern countries. A growing belief that cultural and material progress was dependent

on technology began to upset the balance between humanist inquiry and science that had traditionally played an important role in art of architecture from the Renaissance onward.