THE FAILURE OF MODERN ARCHITECTURE by Brent C. Brolin

THE FAILURE OF MODERN ARCHITECTURE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A potshot at the unadorned functionalism of Gropius, Le Corbusier et al., about as passÉ--and unsophisticated--as an attack on cuspidors in the wake of Jane Jacobs' long campaign for neighborhood diversity, the case for ""complexity and contradiction"" advanced by Robert Venturi and associates, and the recent Museum of Modern Art tribute to Beaux-Arts elaboration (all of them embodied in books). Brolin undertakes not only to expose the (widely acknowledged) weaknesses of the modernist aesthetic, but--by holding up to ridicule statements a hundred and more years old--to demonstrate that it has no valid basis: mostly, functionalism was Puritan mischief. (""This right-wing Protestantism,"" he avers, was ""ultimately banished to the New World""--as if Milton, Cromwell, and every other Nonconformist had emigrated to America.) Where he has a legitimate case--against modernism's frequent impracticality, disregard of cultural differences, elitism, technological overkill--he still distorts it with some of the dreariest, more insensitive photos imaginable. Much capital is made of Chandigargh, in India, a notorious example of what not to do; more newsworthy is the experience of Yemen's chief sity, Sanaa. But those in the know don't need this, and those who aren't should look for enlightenment elsewhere.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1976
Publisher: Van Nostrand Reinhold