A ‘New’ Direction in Anti-Modern Architecture Criticism


Just this weekend, we were talking to a friend who hadn’t heard about Prince Charles and all this anti-modernism business, which we’d explained felt like it was more a movement to “return to a rose-colored past” and a fear of moving away from the familiar. Granted, it’s not just that, with anti-modern critics like Leon Krier and John Silber having some genuinely meaningful things to say about the absurdity and wastefulness modernism has wrought, but it does always feel that there are pangs beneath the surface for “the architecture of our idyllic-yet-in-truth-non-existent past.” So we found it interesting when we ran across Eric Felten‘s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this weekend, “Banish the Bland: The Glass Box Is So Last Century.” It’s something of an anti-modern piece, but in a direction we hadn’t considered during all of this debate: instead of wanting to return to the architecture of our past, Felten is asking why we haven’t started moving past modernism and into something altogether new. Though he does slide a little into the past, wondering if a return to ornamentation is in order, it’s an interesting read and a new perspective to think about. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’ll need to call our friend up to continue the conversation, what with all these new thoughts to discuss.