…and I’m not just talking about the Modernist buildings, either.  My own loathing of this architectural form is, I think, well documented (here, here).

What Theodore Dalrymple talks about is how awful the first actual Modernist architects were:  Gropius, Van Der Rohe and of course, the execrable Le Corbusier (to name but three) were all either pure totalitarians (Le Corbusier) or Nazi sympathizers and supporters.  But we all knew that.

What Dalrymple explains further is how this “school” of architectural thought has turned into the leitmotif  of all modern architectural teaching (just as Marxism has infected the liberal arts disciplines):

[He] knows that he is arguing not against an aesthetic, but against an ironclad ideology. The architectural Leninists have been determined so to indoctrinate the public that they hope and expect a generation will grow up knowing nothing but modernism, and therefore will be unable to judge it. (All judgment is comparative, as Doctor Johnson said.) In Paris recently, I saw an advertisement on the Métro (a few days before the fire in Notre-Dame) to the effect that Paris would not be Paris without the Centre Pompidou—which, of course, has a good claim to be the ugliest building in the world. In the face of such an advertisement promoted by the cultural elite, what ordinary person would dare demur?

That description of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, by the way, is not egregious:

…and that’s the “pretty” side. Here’s the hideous one:

I am also heartened by Dalrymple’s characterization of the horrible Tour Montparnasse  as “said to be the most hated building in Paris” (and with good reason):

Never a jihadi-piloted airliner when you need one…

Read the Dalrymple piece for the full horror.


  1. It’s said that the best view in Paris is from the top of the Tour Montparnasse, because from there one can’t see the Tour Montparnasse. Also, if Paris wouldn’t be Paris without the Pompidou Center, then what was Paris before the Center was built?

  2. Architecture = art + building

    What you are talking about here is not architecture as part of it is missing, the art part. They are buildings, true, but the art has left the building as they say. Us working professionals know this intimately and drag the burden of these imbeciles.

    Most “modern” buildings appear as if they are incomplete, the facade or skin was never applied. Remember “form and function”? Well they did the function part but forgot all about the form.

    There will always be nitwits in all professions and trades, but they can only come to the forefront with assistance by retarded power brokers – the politicians in control. For more than 100 years all large scale building in the US has been required to meet ever burdening gov’t rules and approval. Any building regardless of size, cost, or scope can be approved or denied for anything or nothing by any governing body. Somebody approves of these monstrosities.

    I have been a practicing architect and engineer since completing my schooling in 1972 and have worked with governing authorities on 1000’s of projects large and small and I can honestly say that the process is one of the most corrupt of all gov’t systems. A person with absolutely no education, knowledge, or experience at all in architecture, design, construction, real estate, and costs can have total say so over the construction of any building any where and frequently do.

    I’m a hammer. Sorry.
    I loathe all gov’t like no other and I see it’s tyrannical claws sunk deep in all the worst facets of this country and world. As long as it exists this world will continue to decline.

  3. So when are they going to finish the Centre Pompidou? Some exterior walls – outside of the steel framing – would be nice. It might be easier to service the HVAC equipment and duct work when its outside of the structure but some things like some women are better when they’re covered up.

    1. A lot of buildings in Great Britain had their plumbing grafted on the outside of the walls, which they admitted left it vulnerable to freezing, but fortunately it was easy to get to when it did.

      The Pompidou Center looks like the scaffolding they put on the outside of the buildings they are restoring like the old churches outside of Paris or in the various towns in Austria I visited long ago. The Pompidou center is how old and yet not finished? By robbing it of any characteristics beyond function it could be 50 years old or five months. I’ll need to drive past Frank Geary’s previous house in Santa Monica, where he used corrugated steel and other less traditional home building materials to build something that was unusually different from what was normal in the neighborhood, much to the neighbors’ annoyance.

  4. Paris indeed wouldn’t be Paris without those monstrosities. It’d be a far nicer version of Paris, not least because without them the people who ordered those monstrosities built wouldn’t have been in charge of the city and country for the last several decades and hopefully the hordes of muslim migrants now roaming the city, looting and pillaging and whatnot, wouldn’t be there either.

  5. Yesterday, we visited friends on the outskirts of Tangent, Oregon, fUSA, in the beautiful Willamette Valley surrounded by rolling foothills. A sleepy village of about 1,000 souls, their center is Dixie Creek Saloon (“…Live Music! most evenings!…”). And a marijuana dispensary with three very relaxed folks offering to help guide us… anyplace we want to go.

    Their government school looks like it was new around 1938 or so; their city hall is an ancient white clapboard adjacent of maybe 600sf. Maybe less.

    Oregon flags flew from most homes; after noticing their absence, we counted a total of one federal flag. That was probably some recent immigrant scoundrel, but probably shrugged-off by the locals as the necessary ‘bad example’, and certainly not to be discussed in polite company.

    Every vehicle we saw was white. Most homes and businesses were painted white, although red front doors were popular.

    I get the impression the Tangent folks work hard to maintain their place, not much needs to change.

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