Taki’s take on New York


Here is a piece from The Spectator (of Britain) by Taki, the London socialite of Greek extraction who has written the magazine’s “High Life” column since 1977. In this essay he ruminates filmographically about New York and how it has changed in his time. The subhead is “The Fountainhead was a great movie but lousy architecture. Now all we have is the architecture.” The headline itself is “My New York is gone forever. The internet has seen to that,” but the essay doesn’t have much to do with the internet, except right at the end. It’s more about the movies, particularly that made of Ayn Rand’s book, which has much to do with architecture. Bad architecture. The entire essay’s worth reading, but here is a key passage:

Modernism, especially in architecture, is bleak and sterile and incomprehensible, and a panacea for the talentless and the phoney. Urban architecture that draws on the decorative style of previous eras is beauty personified, whereas functionalism, as the gimmick is called nowadays, is the very stuff that has made architects and city planners turn their backs on what makes a city beautiful and livable.

But you’ll have to read the essay itself for the paragraph leading into the above. It is a gas and a half. Take that, “Sir” Norman Foster!


About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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