Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Who Dares to Dis Ultra-Modernism in Architecture?

The three most important figures in the architecture of the 21st Century, according to mathematics professor, urbanist and architectural theorist, Nikos Salingaros, will be:
1) Christopher Alexander,

2) Leon Krier, and...

3) Charles, the Prince of Wales!

No kidding.

Salingaros (an architectural force in his own right) has very high words of praise for Charles's ideas, for his imagination and, perhaps most of all, for his courage to tell the architectural emperors of our time that they have no clothes on. From Charles' bold speech in 1984 before the Royal Institute of British Architects where he dared criticize much of modernist design -- to his 1989 publication of the popular book, A Vision of Britain --to his ongoing work -- Prince Charles has been a surprisingly eloquent champion of the revival of beauty, functionality, and common sense to today's architecture.

I read and greatly appreciated Charles' book shortly after its publication -- not because I knew very much about building design or even art in general -- but because the Prince intelligently, insightfully described the connections of architecture to tradition, to aesthetics and even to culture in general. His illustrations of his points taken primarily from modern London were particularly convincing.

Anyhow, while surfing the web on a related topic, I came across Professor Salingaros' provocative essay and its reminder of my time with a unique and influential book, A Vision of Britain by His Royal Highness, Charles, Prince of Wales. I recommend it heartily.