If They Don't Like It, Why Build It?

<p>Architect Robert Adam likens modern architecture to modern democracy, where decisions made on high supposedly represent the will of the people.</p>
August 2, 2008, 1pm PDT | Mike Lydon
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"If the design professionals know best, what is it that they know that ordinary people don't? Everyone knows that buildings have to do a job. They're supposed to function, stand up and keep the water out. There's no mystery here. The big secret seems to be that buildings have to look as far away as possible from anything that might be described as traditional. With this in mind, the architectural establishment, architects advising planners and (frighteningly) an increasing number of planning officials themselves, do their level best to make sure that anyone who wants to make their buildings look traditional doesn't succeed. And if anyone does, they rubbish them.

And what's the justification for this? It's that if you're going to be 'of your time', 'or today' or 'for the future', you have to be very obviously different. This is, of course, nonsense. The future isn't fixed, it's what we want to make it. Being different is often billed as innovation – generally a good thing in an industrialised consumer society. But this muddles up innovation in industry, which is technical, with innovation in aesthetics, which is just taste."

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Published on Friday, August 1, 2008 in Building
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