From Roger Scruton’s “Fools, Frauds, and Firebrands”
Ideological Modernism as Goethe’s Mephistopheles :
‘I am the spirit who always denies, who reduces Something to Nothing, and who thereby undoes the work of creation’.
Raises some good points, makes some faulty conclusions.
One could also write about the psychological costs of starchitectural ego-tecture which pushes too far in the opposite direction.
“New Yorkers have long bemoaned their city being overrun by bland office towers and chain stores: Soon, it seems, every corner will either be a bank, a Walgreens, or a Starbucks. And there is indeed evidence that all cities are starting to look the same, which can hurt local growth and wages. But there could be more than an economic or nostalgic price to impersonal retail and high-rise construction: Boring architecture may take an emotional toll on the people forced to live in and around it.
A growing body of research in cognitive science illuminates the physical and mental toll bland cityscapes exact on residents. Generally, these researchers argue that humans are healthier when they live among variety — a cacophony of bars, bodegas, and independent shops — or work in well-designed, unique spaces, rather than unattractive, generic ones. In their book, Cognitive Architecture: Designing for How We Respond to the Built Environment, Tufts urban policy professor Justin Hollander and architect Ann Sussman review scientific data to help architects and urban planners understand how, exactly, we respond to our built surroundings. People,they argue, function best in intricate settings and crave variety, not “big, blank, boxy buildings.”
“Some critics say she had to be imperious in order to get her work done, as a foreign woman working in a man’s world. I don’t agree – rudeness is rudeness, whatever the putative qualities of the rude person. Rudeness wouldn’t matter so much – although it still does matter – in a genius. But she was no genius.
You can see that same disregard for people in her buildings – flights of fancy with no regard for the poor inhabitants who had to live and work in them.
As Stephen Bayley courageously wrote in The Spectator last year, her first real building, a small fire station in Germany, never really worked for its intended purpose: ‘Its shrieking concrete angles and disruptive interiors photographed very well and were dutifully recorded in the magazines, but were not much liked by the firemen. It was decommissioned and is now an exhibition centre.’”