Tuesday, June 29, 2004
LILEKS ON ARCHITECTURE, SHEEP, AND HAPPINESS
In that order:
If people wanted flat spare Neutra houses they’d beg for them, but they don’t; they want McMansions full of vague historical allusions to housing styles of previous eras, tricked out with modern geegaws. This infuriates the theorists, I’m sure: sheep! Content to be herded into gabled pens! But certain architectural styles and details spell “shelter” for most people, and oughtn’t we accommodate their wishes? Even if the end result is an aesthetic refutation of the historical inevitability of modernism? Yes yes they’re all dreadfully inauthentic, but if the bourgoise clamored for the modern they’d still be held in contempt. Eventually. The suburban rambler in its Brady glory was quite modern, after all. And no one exactly praised Middle America for embracing that style. They were excoriated for the usual reasons, and the urban theorists complained that the streets were too wide. The stone was fake. The garages too gauche. I swear: some people will not be happy until the people who are usually happy aren’t.Amen!