Vote for the trads or mods

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Classical architecture, left, or modern architecture, right? (Architectural Revival)

After the emergence of Making Dystopia, the history of modern architecture by James Stevens Curl published by Oxford University Press last autumn, the journal Prospect, in the U.K., held an online debate about architecture. The debate question was “Has Modern Architecture Ruined Britain?” Click the link to read the three rounds between Professor Stevens Curl’s “yes” and the “no” propounded by Senior Lecturer Barnabas Calder, author of Raw Concrete: The Beauty of Brutalism. Readers can then vote for either position. A yes is for traditional architecture and a no is for modern architecture.

Voting over the first few days since the debate was published had the modernists in a huge lead but the classicists are chipping away. As usual these days with polling, the result will not accurately reflect opinion but will serve for bragging rights. It seems that Hugh Pearman, the Brit architecture critic associated with RIBA, the Royal Institute for British Architects, is trying to round up votes for the mods. So I am doing the same for the trads.

[Update: Between Jan. 31 and Feb. 7, the results have swung from No leading 92-8 percent to Yes leading 62-38 percent. The deadline for voting is Feb. 26.]

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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4 Responses to Vote for the trads or mods

  1. artandarchitecturemainly says:

    I would vote for traditional architecture, but I cannot find a voting site.


  2. Artemas says:

    I voted “Yes” because I value beauty and freedom and despise fascistic monstrosities.


  3. I voted! And your vast readership has pushed “Yes” into the lead!

    Liked by 1 person

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