Here is a link to the rest of Reyner Banham’s review of Tom Wolfe’s From Bauhaus to Our House, in the London Review of Books. Readers may pick up where they left off in Banham’s “The Scandalous Story of Architecture in America” at the sixth paragraph (“Not only is it …”). [Click on the PDF link below.] In it, Banham continues to probe why modernist architects were so angry at Wolfe’s book. Banham’s analysis chastises Wolfe for, among other things, his insufficient respect for the early worker-housing benevolence of European modernists. Nevertheless, Banham concludes his review, it seems to me, in agreement with Wolfe’s basic sentiment that modern architecture is a load of bunkum.
(Tip o’ the cap to Peter Van Erp, who provided the link.)
Here is Banham’s conclusion, which follows a long quote from Wolfe describing the typical New York young modern architect’s apartment, in which everything cheap and tatty bows down to the inevitable throne, the Barcelona chair. So where is the young architect two decades on? Baynam’s arch cruelty is perfect:
Currently shacked up with his second or third wife and as many as four Barcelona chairs, that fledgeling architect, now grey-haired and a little overweight, serves, it seems, as professor, chairman or dean of practically every architecture school in the English-speaking world. Perhaps that explains the book’s bad reception in expert circles.
As a bonus, here is Tom Wolfe’s Fantasy Bauhaus, the review by furniture designer George Nelson referred to (“mostly they lost their heads”) in Banham’s review of Wolfe’s book. It is a PDF of the December 1961 AIA Journal. You must scroll down to page 74.