Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Modern Architecture

Tom Wolfe's short work, From Bauhaus to Our House, is little more than a screed against the excesses of modern architecture. While agreeing with many of his conclusions, I found the style and tone of the book to be inappropriate for the purpose of serious art/architecture criticism. Written in 1981, it seems dated with a quarter century of architectural progress having occurred since it was published. There are references to other art forms, music in particular, that demonstrate an unfamiliarity with the material. The result of these references led me to question Wolfe's knowledge of architecture. While Wolfe has been one of my favorite authors with works like The Right Stuff and A Man in Full, this book will not be placed together with those favorites. An alternative for those who are interested in the spirit of twentieth century architecture may be found in the work of Louis Kahn.

From Bauhaus to Our House by Tom Wolfe. Bantam Books, New York. 1999.

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