Oh, I see! How inventive! You've actually stacked the boxes I am supposed to live in!

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A New Humanism

Frank Gehry, Disney Hall (2003): Today’s avant-gardist architecture
tries hard to draw attention to itself, but it does not express any social ideal.

In architecture...we need to reject the avant garde’s pursuit
of novelty, its belief that new technology should sweep away the
past, in favor of humanistic design. Christopher Alexander has laid
the groundwork with his theory that there are common patterns
underlying traditional architecture, which modernists have abandoned
but which we must return to in order to build on a human scale.
New Urbanist planners have led the way by building humanscale
neighborhoods. In ethics, economics, and art, the new humanists
are still a small minority, but the New Urbanism has already
established itself as our most important theory of urban planning.
Architecture can also help lead our society toward a new
humanism. Just as modernist architecture helped to promote faith in technology and progress during the twentieth century, a humanistic
architecture can help promote the focus on human values that we
need in the twenty-first century.
Modernist architecture symbolized the triumph of technology
over culture, with decisions made on technical grounds. Today, we
need an architecture that symbolizes the triumph of culture over
technology, with decisions made on human grounds.

from An Architecture for Our Time: The New Classicism
by Charles Siegel
[originally published, in a slightly different form, on the website
of the International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture and Urbanism (INTBAU)]

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