How the rectangle killed architecture – the dead hand of the Modernists

Tony Lancaster will give us new and interesting insights into how architecture can be rescued from itself.

If physics is the  language of the universe, then geometry is its grammar. Architectural grammar has changed from a vision of utopia to recidivist teddy boy kicking sand in the face of humanity.


Some generations ago, the Modernists devised a novel, fresh, matter-of-fact, elementarist kind of architectural aesthetic, until then largely missing among the established tradition-based visual signs of prestige, status and wealth. Developed in the 1920s, and largely based on the achievements of post-cubist abstract painters and sculptors, the new idiom for quite some time enriched the aesthetic alternatives open to consumers  when diverse non-modernist stylistic competence still reigned supreme.

Today, and for decades Modernism  completely dominating design education: the erstwhile liberator has turned into a new autocrat. The problem is that perpetuating the Modernist aesthetic monopoly keeps impoverishing the aesthetic that could have been available at the architects hand. This in consequence impoverishes our aesthetic environment. The minimalist idiom itself, although refined and sophisticated seems to most people in the final evidence of the buildings it produces to result in banal, identikit and dehumanising architecture.

Join us for a whizz through a hundred years of architecture and a plea for a return to beauty as a prime directive of the built environment.

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Last Updated on November 12, 2021 by Kingston Society