Pomophobia and Feminism: Revisiting the Swedish Postmodern Discourse

Helena Mattsson

This essay is an excerpt of Architecture in Effect vol. 1 edited by Sten Gromark, Jennifer Mack and Roemer van Toorn. Published by Actar Publishers.

In his article “1980–2000: Pomofobi och uppsving,” the architect Thomas Hellquist (2001) argues that an avoidance of postmodernism, what he calls “pomophobia,” ruled the architectural establishment in the early years of the 1980s. This interpretation seems reasonable, as few practitioners would have called themselves postmodernists, but revisiting the period today, can we reframe the postmodern turn in Swedish architecture to broaden the picture? Looking more closely into the international postmodern discourse, another picture develops, one where the Swedish case is not an exception but an important historiographical piece influencing the understanding of the bigger picture. If the concept of “postmodernism” was unclear from the start—as Charles Jencks wrote in 1975, “The only way to kill off the monster is to find a substitute beast to take its place and decidedly ‘Post Modern’ won’t do the job” (Jencks 1975: 3)—revisiting the discussion today is even more confusing. The attempts to define the concept all share a critique of modernism, and they signify that a shift could be formal, social, or political. Otherwise, the lowest common denominator seems to be the contradictions inherent in the discourse. However, postmodernism has left us (as modernism did) with a sedimented idea of a “style” in architecture and certain conceptions of a discursive content.

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Building without Bias: An Architectural Language for the Post-Binary

Hannah Rozenberg

Technology is not neutral. We’re inside of what we make, and it’s inside of us. We’re living in a world of connections – and it matters which ones get made and unmade.

Donna Haraway, ‘A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century’ (1991), pp.149-181

Man is to Computer Programmer what Woman is to Homemaker.

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Mind the (Commuting) Gap and the City

And The City | Prima Abdullah

In 1994, Tokyo was already a city with one of the lowest crime rates. With only 60 crimes per 100,000 people, it had earned a reputation as one of the safest cities. Unfortunately, not everyone experiences the same sense of safety: at least 70% of women commuters have experienced harassment. A women’s group in Osaka, Japan’s second-largest city, says three-quarters of women in their 20s and 30s who responded to a questionnaire reported encountering a groper— or chikan in Japanese, at least once.[1]

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Depot Boijmans van Beuningen: A New Type of Experience


Architects: MVRDV
Location: Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Year: 2020
Photography: Ossip van Duivenbode and Rob Glastra

Located in Rotterdam’s Museumpark, the depot features a new type of experience for museum visitors: a sturdy engine room where the complete collection of 151,000 objects is made accessible to the public. In addition to the various storage and care areas, the depot has a restaurant and an award-winning rooftop forest at a height of 35 meters. The construction completion paves the way for interior furnishings and the long process of moving the museum’s complete collection into its new storage facility.

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