Demetri Porphyrios’s Sources of Modern Eclecticism – Studies on Alvar Aalto (1983) is an acclaimed, radical and controversial inquiry on Finnish architect Alvar Aalto (1898–1976). It considers Aalto as a historical case study of European modernism and detaches Aalto’s architecture from its standard reading as natural, organic modernism. For Porphyrios, the ideological and stylistic roots of Aalto’s architecture are in the classical-vernacular tradition, the Arts and Crafts movement, National Romanticism and the late 19th and early 20th-century Scandinavian architecture.
According to Porphyrios, the book stemmed from the received opinion of Aalto and the architectural climate of the 1970s. Aalto was conceived to be beyond any intellectual, academic study. The displacement of semiotic theory into architectural theory had resulted in what Porphyrios calls a ‘make-believe culture’. At the same time, however, Aalto’s “work best lay bare the contradictions, that is, the prejudices, myths and enacted expiatory strategies, of the middle years of twentieth century industrialized society. It is exactly the unveiling of certain of these prejudices that constitutes the ‘newness’ ow whatever in this book may seem new”.
The copy for sale is an ex-library copy. The covers show wear and the free end paper has the library stickers and markings, but the pages are completely out of markings and tidy.