Ed Driscoll

MODERN ARCHITECTURE, BIAS AND THE BBC

They all intersect at Samizdata.net, in a very interesting post. Be sure to read the comments.

UPDATE: I was about to post in Samizdata’s comments, but figured I’d post this here as well. Tom Wolfe’s From Bauhaus To Our House does a pretty good job of explaining how modern architecture came to be the dominant form of architecture in the US, and does a thorough job of deflating the egos and pretensions of Corbu, Mies, Gropius, Johnson, et al.

There’s a lot of modern architecture that I really like, but Corbusier’s housing projects and city planning were uniformly disastrous. It always amazes me to see them worshipped 30 years after the first American housing projects based on his designs (such as Pruitt-Igoe) were first dynamited. (There’s footage of Pruitt-Igoe, both before and after its spectacular demolition in Koyaanisqatsi, incidentally.)

In contrast, Corbusier’s private residences of the 1920s, where he got his start as an architect-for-hire, were pretty nifty. But they were individually commissioned, by wealthy clients who knew what they were getting into, and specifically wanted that style–a far, far different experience than those residents of projects such as Pruitt-Igoe and Cabrini-Green, who had modern architecture inflicted on them.