Architecture: An Art for All Men

Architecture: An Art for All Men

Architecture: An Art for All Men

Architecture: An Art for All Men

Excerpt

Thirty years have passed since my Enjoyment of Architecture was first published. These three decades have seen a revolutionary change in the architecture of the whole world. The old eclecticism which then still reigned over large areas has faded into impotence, though here and there it continues to lead a strange half life in real-estate speculative building and in the minds of sentimental government or ecclesiastical authorities. The economic conditions which fed it and the ideals of culture in which it flourished have passed away, as industrialism has fired questions in our faces and new complexities have forced us to attempt a severer and a more disciplined thinking. Architectural movements which thirty years ago were merely little pinpricks in an almost universal complacency have grown into well-nigh universal acceptance; no longer revolutionary, the basic principles which lie behind what is generally termed "modern architecture" have established their validity. Now, most of us realize that our era is in every way a different age from that which existed before the First World War; it demands, and will inevitably achieve, a new kind of architecture as its expression.

The Enjoyment of Architecture, whatever its merits or faults when it was written, expressed that older age and not the present; it could no longer serve the purpose which engendered its writing. That purpose, as the title implies, was to open to readers the rich stores of feeling and understanding that a sympathetic appreciation of the building art might bring. It was a book on architecture in general and not on any one particular phase or style. Since its appearance there has been no other work in the United States of similar scope, and the increasing amount of architectural writing that has been published has been devoted to works on various phases of architectural history, to propaganda books on behalf of "modern architecture" (the necessary tools of a revolutionary struggle), and to books on special aspects of architecture such as housing, city planning, or home building. Yet the need for the more general type of approach still seems . . .

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