Monday, September 23, 2013

She's so modern

It hardly seems possible that it should be necessary for me to define the meaning of a
word so common to the tongues of this generation as “modern.” Yet the word is often misinterpreted, and I desire to have it distinctly understood that, when I make use of the word modern in the following pages, I use it in its true meaning. The correct definition of modern is: characteristic of today. It in no sense implies that which is radical and cannot possibly be considered as synonymous to futuristic and other words of a similar suggestion. To avoid any misunderstanding, therefore, I prefer to call myself, along with those whose work is illustrated in this book, a progressive rather than a modernist, in order that we may not be confused with that school of radicals whose efforts to create and to be original have their incentive solely in “doing something different.”
A great many people, including not a few members of the architectural profession, are of the opinion that “modern architecture” is a sort of outburst of a certain group of radically-minded architects to gain the center of the stage by “doing something different.” Actually, modern architecture is not a mere fancy or passing fad. We have now become accustomed to modern music, to modern painting, to the modern drama and even to modern women. Modern architecture is a logical development. Rather than being a mistake, caused by not heeding the proverbial words, “look before you leap,” modern architecture has been actually forced upon us, whether we like it or not. The last of the arts to yield to the demands of the times, architecture, fighting against it to the end, has finally been obliged to succumb.

Randolph Williams Sexton
The Logic of Modern Architecture
Architectural Book Publishing Company
New York

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