with Leon Krier, guru of the New Urbanist
movement. Krier, outspoken as ever, describes the WTC as a "a phantom tombstone of monstrous scale", arguing that high rise buildings are obscene, fragile and dangerous. His anti-modernist stance seems to have hardened ("...one modernist building is enough to destroy the spirit even of a largely traditional scheme. The Steven Holl
building in Seaside
may be the best example of this."), although his remarks seem to be entirely based on the presumption that modernism is a reductive state, anti-tradition and accumulated knowledge. "It is a systematic rape of man's psychological and physiological make-up."
Surely it's time for a new definition of 'modernism'? Is it an architectural style, or a "form of radical brainwashing"? Is there a difference between modern architecture and modernist architecture? Most architects would probably argue that there was, pointing out that 'modern' means 'of today' or 'contemporary', while Modernist (the capital is optional) refers to an architecture which draws aesthetic and planning inspiration from the work of the Bauhaus
and the International Style
. While New Urbanist planning might yet prove to have potential, in terms of a wider discussion on the perceived social ills of the past half century, such stylistic semantics are surely irrelevant.
We had always wondered about this
. Some mysteries solved.