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In the 1980s, after the steep disciplinary decline of architecture's and urbanism's authority, architects found themselves with a reduced field of influence in social decisions concerning the environment, the cities and architecture itself. As this erosion progressed and the ‘classical’ fundaments of modern architecture weakened (Eisenman 1984), the notion of ‘preservation’ proved itself to be a convincing source of legitimation. Silently, unnoticed, ‘preservation’ replaced ‘modernization’ as the driving force behind social decisions concerning the most important commissions and prestigious sites. As architects found that this enabled them to most effectively claim and defend a disciplinary field of influence they began to accept, some with enthusiasm, others with resignation, the new predominance of conservation over renovation. For the first time since the early twentieth ...

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