Fisticuffs at garden party?

"Outdoor Garden Party" (1610), by David Vinckboons. (

“Outdoor Garden Party” (1610), by David Vinckboons. (

Not yet! This reporter can state categorically that no roundhouse punches were signed, sealed or delivered at yesterday evening’s TradArch garden party, in Charleston, at least none that William Hazlitt would feel obliged to discuss in a latter-day version of “The Fight,” one of the first journalistic accounts of a boxing match. I left pretty late, having witnessed no five-finger sandwiches served or consumed.

This peaceable quietude may be even harder to account for given that the garden party was held at the Old City Jail – the old one where the American College of Building Arts operates, though it will relocate to new digs soon. Along with the College of Charleston, the ACBA is hosting this first-ever meeting of the membership of the TradArch list.

Maybe today, when the real festivities begin in jail, again, the battle will be joined primarily, I suspect, among the supposedly “orthodox” and “heterodox” factions that are meeting in immortal combat during a daylong symposium. Members will break out into sessions and listen to advocates of this or that point of view – not limited, however, to whether canonical classicism or noncanonical classicism have any business heaving sockdolagers at each other’s glass jaws.

Whether there will be a general amnesty, however, will be learned today perhaps, if the contending parties discover that however violently we may differ among ourselves, the gap is bridgeable compared with the one that confronts all advocates of beauty in architecture.

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,, 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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