Posted by d on October 19, 2002 at 23:36:54:
In Reply to: does anyone in the US have taste anymore! posted by Martin on October 19, 2002 at 20:16:03:
Unfortunately, I believe there are schools of thought, and sensibility, which not only permit, but urge, the destruction of "classically" designed architecture.
Here are some arguments which I have heard, or infer, from theoretically minded students:
(1) "Classical" or traditional forms are descended from Roman and Greek works, and therefore embody some kind of reference to the slavery of those eras
(2) Being embellished typically, with mouldings, decorations etc, they allow of a certain hypocrisy of construction, which the supposed purity or simplicity of modernist work forbids
(3) Since classical work was imposed or preferred by Fascists, it is, by association , condemned as fascistic
(4) In the US, the "new money" of each era arrives, is not immediately respected, and in its humiliation often retaliates, by buying up the old village hall or dowdy manse, knocking it down, and putting up the precisely opposite form.
(3) On the other hand, there are certain communities (one in Westernmost Connecticut comes to mind) where the dominant political philosophy might be styled "laissez-faire property rights". In this place, the "old money" supports the destruction of its own heritage: "Well, he bought the old Revere house-he can pull it down if he wants..."
(4)In poorer areas, of course, charm and history are luxuries. The charm of the dilapidated homestead, is lost when seen through the eyes of the residents as they desperately patch its roof with old newspapers.
(5) Then, and finally, there is globalisation.
I was discussing the propects for a two hundred-year old barn with some neighbors one day. The barn was due to be either demolished or moved , to make room for a new house.
Most of us thought it should be preserved- it was "historic".
But then a new resident, from some ancient corner of Ireland, walked by.
"Tear it down!" he remarked cheerfully "It's worthless-only two hundred years old...."
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