jueves, 6 de diciembre de 2007

Obituary for modern architecture (C. Rowe)

"We may ascribe her death (Modern architecture is surely a she) to the ingenuousness of her temperament. Displaying an extraordinary addiction to towers and completely unconstructed spaces, when young, she possessed a high and romantically honorable idea of life and her excess of sensibility could only lead to later chagrin. Like one of Jane Austen's more extreme heroines - though she was simultaneously morally reserved, passionate, and artless - it was her juvenile notion that, once she was perfectly wedded to society, this so much desired husband would, by the influence of her example, become redeemed of errors, tractable, pliant, and ready to act with her in any phillanthropy which she might have in mind.

But the marriage did not prove to be a success. Modern architecture was admired by society but not for what sheconceived to be her inherent virtues. Her spouse was attracted by her many external charms but was utterly unwilling to award recognition of what she offered, he remained stubbornly confirmed in his old ways. Moral regeneration he did not seek. For him the ethical posture of modern architecture was too much like that of a Victorian heroine and, correspondingly, he looked for his delinquent pleasures elsewhere. He, society, was in no way ready to envisage those limpid possibilities of the New Jerusalem which she so enthusiastically advertised and, as she continued, he increasingly became fatigued.

Indeed, he (society) came to discover that, though admired, he too was not accepted; and, gradually, the rift became irretrievable. Not surprising, therefore, should be modern architecture's agitated and long decline; but, though this death was to be expected, it is greatly to be regretted and the extinction of this once pristine creature (with her elaborately Victorian standards) has been desperately sad to witness. But a late nineteenth-century character and never fully knowing it, she addressed herself to a moral condition of permanent rapture, to an ecstatic condition which could only endanger her frain physique; and, to repeat, excessive sensibility abused by inadequate experience, motivated by a quasi-religious sentiment not well understood and complicated by the presence of physics envy, Zeitgeist worship, object fixation, and stradaphobia must be considered the greatest factors contributing to the demise."

Colin Rowe: "The Present Urban Predicament: Some observations" The Second Thomas Cubitt Lecture at the Royal Institution, London (London, Thomas Cubitt Trust, 1979) En: K. Michael Hays: Architecture Theory since 1968. MIT Press, 2000. p 88.

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