Jan Kenneth Birksted


On his book Le Corbusier and the Occult

Cover Interview of February 19, 2010


I write in the introduction that it is now up to others to follow up the hypotheses, research methods, and historiographical approaches I outline, in order to prove, improve or disprove my research findings.

Hayden White (in his classic book, Metahistory) expresses the desire for a historiography that embodies contemporary ethical ideas. This book embodies my ethical ideas about the importance of historical research methodologies for cross-cultural understanding.

But I also hope that my Burckhardt-like notion of historiographical context will have an effect on architectural history and on our way of thinking about modernism in terms of its underlying regional cultures. There exist other cultures and other ways of being that must be considered and respected if we want to understand architecture.

In 1976, Isaiah Berlin said of Herder, another Freemason: “He deeply hates the forces that make for uniformity, for the assimilation, whether in life or in the books of historians, of one culture or way of life to another. He conscientiously looks for uniformities, but what fascinates him is the exception.”

© 2010 Jan Birksted