‘Isms and ‘Wasms: Chronograms of Architecture

Charles Jencks’ famous diagrams Six Streams of Architecture and the Evolutionary Tree illustrate his understanding of the evolution of ideas and styles in architecture as an organic flow of undulating blobs. Here he created an endlessly splintering taxonomy of ‘isms and ‘wasms, constantly morphing as movements in culture and architecture interbreed, cross-pollinate, and fade away leaving ripples in their wake. His diagrams were not only analytical, but also speculative. These were drawings of time that looked back to the past in order to predict the future, offering not only projections but also a critique and diagnosis of the current state of things, as well as a provocation and call to action to change them. Chronograms of Architecture is a collaboration between e-flux Architecture and the Jencks Foundation to rethink Charles’ evolutionary diagrams in relation to the contemporary ecology of architecture. The six newly commissioned diagrams—perhaps six streams of a map of now—provoke questions around the techno-optimism and techno-bureaucracy, the feminist spatial practice and racial disparity, and the ecological implications and the productive conditions of architecture. The diagrams are contextualised with digitised material from the Charles Jencks archive and newly commissioned essays that offer reflections and critiques of Charles’ practice of diagramming architectural history.