Category Archives: Architecture History

Providence now and then

Among the most fascinating places I’ve recently discovered on the web is the Instagram site of Mike Ferguson, which takes new photographs of Providence and places them next to one or more old photographs of what used to be there. … Continue reading

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How architecture evolves

Here is a quotation about the evolution of architecture from “The Biological Fallacy” of Geoffrey Scott’s The Architecture of Humanism (1924): Decadence is a biological metaphor. Within the field of biology it holds true as a fact, and is subject … Continue reading

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Do people really feel beauty?

I recently received an interesting comment from a frequent visitor to my blog. John the First, as he styles himself, quoted from my January 31 post, “Learn more about classicism,” that “Europeans are surrounded by beauty.” He wrote: I live … Continue reading

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Before the London fire, 1666

An engraver by trade, John Thomas Smith trod this earth two centuries ago (1766-1833), and was also known as “Antiquity Smith.” He etched buildings in London that had survived the Great Fire of 1666, many of which were being demolished … Continue reading

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Lost Providence still giftable

Lost Providence, by yours truly, would make a great gift for anyone keen on the history of Providence, the blessing of traditional architecture, or the bane of modern architecture. Or, dear reader, get it for yourself. Most bookstores in Providence … Continue reading

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A view of Providence in 1808

The Rhode Island Historical Society yesterday displayed its amazing 1809 drop curtain, owned by the society since 1833 and depicting the town as it appeared in 1808, twenty years before the Providence Arcade was built in 1828. It is thought … Continue reading

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Why the folks hate the mods

Mark Lamster’s The Man in the Glass House continues to offer up examples of Philip Johnson’s dislikeability, many of which amount to reasons why people dislike modern architecture. The following passage comes after Lamster has described how Johnson struck out … Continue reading

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Lessons of the Berlin Wall

Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Many lessons have been learned, but this post will not, of course, comment on its geopolitical takeaways. Instead, and briefly, I hope a useful parallel can be drawn … Continue reading

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Philip Johnson’s MoMA flub

In his recently published biography of modernist architect and impresario Philip Johnson, Dallas Morning News architecture critic Mark Lamster has found so much to dislike in the man that I have been thoroughly enchanted – so far. But I want … Continue reading

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A “cauldron of perversions”

I did a double-take when I saw, in Metropolis, the article “Far From Being a Temple to Rationality, the Bauhaus Was a Cauldron of Perversions,” by Beatriz Colomina. Of course, I knew that already, having read “Making Dystopia,” James Stevens … Continue reading

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