Message - Re: tradition and innovation

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Posted by  Kevin Matthews on September 15, 2002 at 20:04:27:

In Reply to:  Re: tradition and innovation posted by Paul Malo on September 15, 2002 at 17:09:36:

Thanks -- and polarities and debate must be part of what we come here for.

I do honor you for taking a role of critic relative to the "traditional" self-elected 'intellectual elite' of the northeastern U.S. over the last couple of generations. From my viewpoint, that elite has helped to drive architecture toward fashions of taste and supporting fashions of so-called "critical thinking", complete with a star system of over-lit approved designers.

To my mind, that school of thinking and king-making still has quite a bit to answer for, including significant responsibility for the relative emptiness of the prevailing academic analysis of architecture today.

Let's talk a bit about the dimensions of Aalto. Certainly not a polemicist in the utopian mode of Corbu or the heroic mode of Wright -- I don't think he wrote a book (he started one but never got around to pulling it together) -- but on the other hand, he went to the 1933 CIAM meeting in Athens, traveled with Geidion, published many articles, including the 1928 statement:

"A conscious regard in artistic creation for the problems of our own time implies a tremendous goal, the step by step transition of industiralism into what it is in any case destined to be some day -- a harmonious factor of civilization."

though this optimism, according to biographer Goran Schildt, had toned down by the time of his old age to:

"You can't save the world, you can only set it an example."

Aalto traveled and lectured widely (on broad architectural topics, more than the portfolio shows seen regularly nowdays) taught at MIT, and was substantially involved in a magazine in Finland...

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