Amen To All That

Found via Insty, this diatribe against “modern” (fugly) architecture.

“Let’s be really honest with ourselves: a brief glance at any structure designed in the last 50 years should be enough to persuade anyone that something has gone deeply, terribly wrong with us. Some unseen person or force seems committed to replacing literally every attractive and appealing thing with an ugly and unpleasant thing. The architecture produced by contemporary global capitalism is possibly the most obvious visible evidence that it has some kind of perverse effect on the human soul.”

For newcomers to this website — there may be one or two — here are some of my own thoughts on the matter, and you may find a common thread among them all:

Back To The Classic —  My StyleOld Fashioned?  Me?  — Another RCOBTalk About UglyAs I SaidSquares, Cubes And BlocksInsisting On Beauty

Just re-reading some of those posts raised my blood pressure five points.  And that picture at the top of both this article and the one it’s linked to actually made me slightly nauseated.

A pox on all of them.

Afterthought:  I once stayed in a little apartment in this building, just north of Sacré-Cœur in Paris:

While the apartment itself was small and rather foul, every time I stepped out into the streets surrounding the place, I felt invigorated by being in the midst of such beauty.  If I had to step into a street lined with modernist concrete blocks, I’d want to kill myself.


  1. A number of years ago, I was talking to an architect who also disliked the brutalist style. He said that when he was a in college. he entered a design competition where the basic requirement was “you have to make the building out of concrete, and it has to be cheap.”

    He made a “brutalist” building that was specified to be painted – with murals.

    The judging committee didn’t like the idea at all. Concrete was, according to them, always supposed to be gray, possibly with some texture. But not much.

  2. When I scrolled down and saw the top picture, I actually thought it was a military amphibious vehicle with a whole bunch of guns sticking out the top, and got rather….excited. It’s a BUILDING? (Now AS an amphibious military vehicle it’s a thing of beauty, because guns. Discuss).

    My thing with architecture is architects who consider themselves artists FIRST, and building designers second (if at all, paging Frank Lloyd Wright). If a building is designed to be lived in, it first needs to take care of the basics (temperature control, dry, secure, lighting, plumbing, etc), then it needs to be functional (flow of the kitchen for instance), THEN you can worry about making it beautiful. While you may stay for a short time in the foul apartment you mention, long term you’re going to be miserable there.

    My other thing is buildings that don’t “fit” their environment. There’s a house not far from where I live (in the Poconos in PA, if anyone doesn’t know) that looks like it belongs in the Italian countryside. It’s a VERY pretty house, but it doesn’t belong here surrounded by pine trees and among log cabins, ranch-style houses, and farm-houses. While attractive in its own right, it’s jarring when you drive by.

    Mark D

    1. Having driven through the Poconos many times, I think the place could do with a little more architectural class… but I agree with you in this case: Tuscan + Poconos is just wrong.

    2. Mark D,
      You nailed it.

      I’m in New England where we have older classic styles of homes such as colonials, salt boxes, Cape Cod etc. Some of the newer style houses just don’t fit. I’ll have to go to a shoreline town where there are classic older style houses throughout the area and there is an utter monstrosity that looks like a flying saucer landed on some piers. It’s very ugly for the area. The only good view of it is from the inside and that might be debatable. I think whoever built that flying saucer monstrosity hated their neighbors.


      1. Maybe the flying saucer people ran out of gas and they’re just stuck here until they can get another supply of unobtanium and go on their way.

  3. They deliberately want to create something horrid, because you get noticed, and its easier to re-define “beauty” down. These shock-value monstrosities like the glass dildo in London, just create architectural hemorrhoids that will eventually be preserved forever because it started some sort of trend.

  4. Usually I’m not in complete agreement with your architectural choices, but “De gustibus non est disputandum”.

    This however…Ye Gawds, anyone who didn’t offer to commit murder to stop that deserves to be flogged as the opening event to the public hanging of the people who advocated for it.

  5. That “building” looks like an alien life form that should be nuked (twice), just to make sure.

    1. Why did they stop short of painting it some garish colors as a warning. It looks like one of those poisonous sea slugs.

      1. It looks like it could be a giant plecostomus, the (usually) tiny fish that clean the glass of aquariums.

    1. TL, DR. Modern architecture is not designed or scaled for people. The buildings are the individual constructions comparable to Brasilia, the unlivable capital of Brasil, or the huge streets of Buenos Aires and other similar capitals that were made for the megalomaniacal dreams of dictators for their giant parades.

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