New Architecture and City Planning: A Symposium

By Paul Zucker | Go to book overview

THE NEED FOR A NEW MONUMENTALITY

By SIGFRIED GIEDION

Motto: Emotional training is necessary today. For whom? First of all for those who govern and administer the people.


INTRODUCTORY REMARK

The "American Abstract Artists" are preparing a volume on their activities and their problems, and invited two of my friends and myself to collaborate. It happened that we sat together one evening and speaking about this invitation, we found it much more effective if all of us were to write on the same subject, each from the outlook offered to him by his own field, Fernand Léger, from the point of view of the painter, J. L. Sert, from that of the architect and urbanist, and myself from the historical side. Finally, we tried to sum up our opinions in a common resolution of nine points, which will be published together with our articles in the forthcoming volume of the American Abstract Artists. I am indebted to this Association for the permission to print my article in advance, so that the discussion on monumentality may reach the architects at an early date.

All of us are perfectly aware of the fact that monumentality is a dangerous affair in a time when most of the people do not even grasp the elementary requirements for a functional building. But we cannot close our eyes; whether we want it or not, the problem of monumentality is lying ahead in the immediate future. All that can be done within the limits of our humble efforts, is to point out dangers and possibilities.

-- S.G.

Modern architecture had to go the hard way. Tradition was mercilessly misused by the representatives of the ruling academic taste in all fields concerned with emotional expression.

-549-

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