“Something is terribly wrong with architecture,” writes Nathan J. Robinson in Current Affairs. “Nearly everything being built is boring, joyless, and/or ugly, even though there is no reason it has to be.” Worse, he adds, is that architects themselves seem unable to see the problem. Indeed, they perpetuate it by continuing to hand out awards for “pretentious and bland” work.
Robinson’s take isn’t a popular one—amongst some people, anyway:
There are so many incredible possibilities for architecture, but the minimalist consensus has got it stuck in a rut, spinning its wheels, producing weird new shape after weird new shape, because people are afraid they’ll be called backward if they admit they like mosaics and gargoyles and friezes and stained glass and other cool stuff. I like pretty colors or I like old things makes you a child, an idiot, someone to be laughed at.
That’s no exaggeration. I’ve published many controversial opinions, but the most vitriol I get is…from architecture snobs who think it is wrong and bad to have a negative reaction to things they have deemed correct. It’s truly vicious. If you’re going to join those who publicly admit they don’t like contemporary architecture, you’re going to be called stupid and reactionary and completely missing the point.
Like everything else, it seems, architecture has been politicized.