Posted by Richard Haut on September 21, 2002 at 14:03:19:
In Reply to: consumerism-consumption-technology &the decline of the traditional architectural space posted by BRUTUS on September 21, 2002 at 13:20:11:
(yes, I did veer off from your original question - I found another article on the website that you linked to about attacking the Middle East as a way of bringing "democracy" to other nations. I found it deeply offensive and reminiscent of those who tried to explain away the views expressed in Mein Kampf on the treatment of Untermensch).
To return to your question: the consumerism of the fifties was gradual. In Britain rationing only ended in the early fifties and what is often forgotten is that many people in countries like the UK and US had known real hardship in the 20s and 30s, and in the UK the wartime rationing was severe.
If it is remembered that before that an entire generation had been lost in the 14-18 war in Europe, and that this was followed by an influenza epidemic that killed millions, it is not so surprising that the new world of the 50s was seen as one in which people's children could be well fed, educated, proper health care, proper housing. Architecture was an architecture of hope. The British architects of the late 40s and 50s had genuine social ideals - for which I believe they should be properly respected.
Today the excess of the Western world has lead to a sort of indolence. Genetically modifying food so it is the right shape, easier to pack, looks right in the shop - moving it further and further away from real food.
Part of the reaction has been in things like organic farming, knowing that food is grown without chemicals is "real" food.
In architecture it has reached a situation where architecture is again reflecting the society around it - it has lost touch with the people who use the buildings. It is rather like a food scientist trying to put artificial flavour into a genetically modified food and then wondering why it doesn't taste like real food.
perhaps people are not as clever as they would like to believe - a little humility, respect for the ordinary, the normal, can go a very long way.
British food has undergone this type of change and I remember going to Paris from London a few years ago. I was sitting in a café and a strangely familiar and exquisitely beautiful smell wafted over from the next table. What was it ? Just an omelette made with really fresh eggs and cooked in fresh butter.
perhap we should all get out of the laboratory and smell the trees.
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