How did modern architecture suddenly replace the traditional architecture that, by the 20th century, offered a wide variety of joyful styles to house human activity? Why, in just three decades, were three millennia of beauty replaced so entirely by ugliness in the built environment?
Didn’t anyone stand up and say no?
Well, no. Not really. Traditional architecture, anchored by the Beaux-Arts classicism of the academy, saw no rivals. The City Beautiful movement was spreading across the United States. The “Ornament and Crime” critique of Adolf Loos in pre-World War I Europe was separated by an ocean from architecture in America. The idea that the folly of monarchy and the carnage of war could be blamed on buildings must have seemed patently ridiculous, and unthreatening, to most architects.
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