0133 Is there an Ideologically-Biased Broadening of the Concept of Modern Architecture?

Questioning the Limits of Postmodernism's Inclusivism and Testing a Further Expansion

  • Joana Brites (Author)
    Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal

    Joana Brites is an Assistant Professor of Art History at the Faculty of Art and Humanities of the University of Coimbra (UC), Portugal, where she is Art History Undergraduate Director. She completed her master’s thesis and her doctorate in Art History (20th century Portuguese architecture) at UC and during the development of the research for both academic degrees received a scholarship from the Foundation for Science and Technology. She worked as an art historian in the Office responsible for the application of the University of Coimbra for World Heritage Status (UNESCO). She is an Associate Researcher in the Centre for 20th Century Interdisciplinary Studies and her research focuses on the art and heritage of fascist regimes.

Identifiers (Article)


This paper examines and discusses the postmodern historiographical revision of the concept of modernism in architecture. On the one hand, it highlights the deconstruction of the militant meta-narrative of the Modern Movement and the consequent expansion of the boundaries of modern architecture. On the other hand, it shows that remnants of an evaluative scale of modernisms linger on and the ideologically motivated refusal to draw parallels with the contextual architectural approaches found in 20th century dictatorships still endures. Crucial contributions for reframing the architecture of fascisms are underlined and the requirements for its critical historiography are propounded. To test them the architecture of the Portuguese New State – regarded as particularly modernization-resistant – is characterized as modern, thus supporting, in conclusion, a further extension of modernism's scope.


Postmodernism, Historiography, Modernism, Fascism, Estado Novo, Architecture, Modernity