Ann Sussman: The Mental Disorders that Gave Us Modern Architecture

This is, perhaps, the most thought-compelling article about architecture that I have ever read.

As an architecture student, it was easy (for me) to become enamoured with Modernism, its clean lines, tectonic purity, and rigid and honest structure. After (literally) thousands of years of building with the mere objective of shelter and survival, Modernism (capital M) provided a credo and manifesto for moving forward toward in the machine age toward a luxurious future.

Well, we now know that didn’t turn out so well. The machine age brought with it a variety of ills, and some modernists had abandoned their manifesto by the fin de millénnium while others clung to it for lack of a stronger oar to navigate the shifting styles and values of a society changed by the indulgence of abundance. Perhaps the strongest evidence is the next generation of modernists who rapidly rejected the tenets of Modernism declaring “less is a bore.” The architectural world has never been the same since, and continues to limp along, unrecovered, from this foray into rigidity and austerity.

The article “The Mental Disorders that Gave Us Modern Architecture” is available at Common Edge,and more work from the immensely talented and insightful Ann Sussman can be found on her blog, Genetics of Design.

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