This book was published originally in 1929, for what it constitutes the first history of the modern architecture. But his transcendency remained eclipsed by the appearance, only three years later, of another book of the author who would: The international style, corresponded with Philip Johnson like fruit of the exhibition that both organized in the Museum of Modern Art of New York (MoMA) in 1932.
Hitchcock holds in this book that the historical critique must be capable of showing how the architecture of the present is the last point in the dialectics of the history, and that enclosed the most advanced contemporary forms do not constitute a rooted out phenomenon, but the last phase in a long line of development. And for it it goes back to the Middle Ages to explain the evolution that, according to him, gave place to the modern born architecture in the decade of 1920.
To plan this line of development through, Hitchcock rewrites the history of the architecture of last five centuries. In his opinion, the phases for which the European architecture has happened from the culmination of the full Gothic in the 13th century must not be considered to be successive independent styles, but rather ways of doing feeder industries of a ‘modern style’. To explain it, it divides of ‘Romanticism Period’, that it gave step to a ‘New Tradition’, which, in turn, ended in the innovative works of the ‘New modern Pioneers’.
This edition includes a prologue of the teacher Emilia Hernández Pezzi and an epilogue of the investigator Macarena de la Vega on Hitchcock’s legacy in the later historiography of the modern architecture. Both contributions are a part of the labors of investigation of the Department of Architectural Composition of the Etsam, which has collaborated in the edition and publication of this book.