So what is a book review of Modernist manifestos doing on a blog devoted to traditional architecture? Primarily because early Modernist thinkers went to great lengths to define their movement in opposition to generally traditional and specifically Classical architecture. That said, in reading these manifestos it becomes evident that the aesthetics of architectural form is only an aspect of what was being rejected. There is an openly hostile attitude towards traditional craft and artisanship, seeing the mass industrialisation as the welcome means of supplanting it. Likewise, traditional town planning was aggressively derided as they laid down the rationale for what became know as Euclidean zoning, suburban sprawl, and the gutting of traditional city centres. In fine, is you want to know why the global, industrialised built environment looks and functions as it does, you'll find most of the intellectual foundations for it here.
Below is a series of selected excerpts though 'enjoy' may not be the right word...
this era will not be brought into being by social classes in the grip
of tradition.” - Erich Mendelsohn: The problem of a new architecture
“We must create the mass-production spirit.
The spirit of constructing mass-production houses.
The spirit of living in mass-production houses.
The spirit of conceiving mass-production houses.” - Le Corbusier: Towards a new architecture: guiding principles 1920
“It is urgently necessary for architecture, abandoning the outmoded conceptions connected with the class of craftsmen, henceforth to rely upon the present realities of industrial technology.” - CIAM: La Sarraz Declaration 1928
“Traffic control must take in all the functions of collective life.” - CIAM: La Sarraz Declaration 1928
Lissitzky: Ideological superstructure 1929
principles of modern town planning have been developed by the work of
countless technicians: technicians in the art of building, technicians
of health, technicians of social organisation.” - CIAM: Charter of
countless individuals.” - CIAM: Charter of Athens 1933
“The architect, who possesses a perfect knowledge of man, who has abandoned designs based on illusory aesthetic considerations, and who , by precisely adapting means to the desired ends, will create an order that bears within it its own poetry.” - CIAM: Charter of Athens 1933
heritage that has been destroyed must not be reconstructed
historically; in order to fulfill new tasks it must be rebuilt in a new
form.” - Alphons Leitl: A post-war appeal; fundamental demands 1947
“A new condition of human intimacy will exist. The inhabitants live naked. The former patriarchal family system will no longer exist. The community will be complete, free, individual, impersonal. The inhabitant’s main occupation: pleasure.” - Werner Ruhnau: Project for an aerial architecture 1960
“The present task of the artist can only be to prepare the way for a future mass culture. For if there is still to be any talk of culture it will have to carry a mass society, and then the means can be sought only within mechanisation.” - Constant Nieuwenhuys: New Babylon 1960
Contributed by Patrick Webb