Finding a Foothold: Architectural Meaning in the Post-war Period Part 1 Dissertation 2004 Chris Foges London Metropolitan University London UK This dissertation is concerned with what and how architecture might Œmean¹.While many early modernists asserted that architecture could and should onlyever talk about itself, in the post-war period calls grew for a redefinitionof the terms of modernism, to include a wider role for Œmeaning¹ as afunction. In this context, Le Corbusier¹s chapel at Ronchamp, itselfdescribed by James Stirling as evidence of a Œcrisis of rationalism¹,epitomises the central concern of the age. Here, it is used as a case studythrough which contemporary ideas on meaning and architecture, drawn fromlinguistics and philosophy, are assessed.In the second part of the dissertation, post-war British modernism isconsidered. Here again, it is arguable that concerns over how and, moreimportant, why architecture might carry Œmeaning¹ is the focus of dispute inan architectural landscape Charles Jencks has described as a Œscarredbattlefield¹. Pitted against one another are, on one hand, an architectureso committed to the avoidance of monumentality, or the possibility ofŒembalmed¹ meanings, that it aims for complete dematerialisation, and on theother, a new commitment to fixedness, place, and identity.Both positions were informed and underpinned by an understanding ofarchitecture and society that was intensely political and specific to aparticular period in time. In conclusion, therefore, the dissertationexplores the relevance of such a debate to contemporary architecturalpractice, and considers the possibility of an architecture that isresponsive to changing needs while acting as a support for both anindividual and a collective sense of identity - an architecture thatresponds to the human experience of being in place and time. Chris Foges This dissertation’s sense of its own form is subtle and self-assured. Seen retrospectively, the sequence of subjects is not surprising, but as they happen the individual moves all contain the unexpected. None of the regular players, Reyner Banham, say, or Cedric Price, plays quite the role we are used to. The student knits together projects and contemporary statements about them in an effortless way; anyone who has tried to do this knows how difficult it is. There is much more to say about meaning in architecture, of course, but he is consistently provocative in his forays into the territory and sets a large number of interesting ideas in motion in the short space.