The March edition of my blog for Traditional Building, “Modern Architecture and the Administrative State,” arose from some chilling passages quoted in an essay from the Claremont Review of Books called “How the Ruling Class Rules,” which was a review of Paul Moreno’s The Bureaucrat Kings: The Origins and Underpinnings of America’s Bureaucratic State. Theorists of government from the past were prescient about the future, invoking horrors that can easily be translated into modern architecture. Facebook, anyone? Here is a quote from my TB blog:
Tying together some passages Moreno has selected builds up to an eerie parallel between the direction of bureaucracy and the direction of architecture. Hegel promoted the “organized intelligence” of the “rational state.” Dewey called it the “social intelligence.” Kafka warned that “every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.” Marx called bureaucracy the “circle from which one cannot escape.” Weber foresaw in rational control the “polar night of icy darkness” and the “iron cage,” culminating in “the shell of that future bondage” and “the disenchantment of the world.”
The shell of that future bondage sure sounds like the glass and steel exoskeleton of corporate modern architecture.
It seems, however, that today’s dystopian architects prefer a rectangular motif more than the pyramidal motif that caused Orwell’s hair to stand on end. Film directors have been good seeing bad things in the future, too, as my TB post also suggests.