Joel's Reviews > From Bauhaus to Our House

From Bauhaus to Our House by Tom Wolfe
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's review
Mar 15, 2010

it was ok
Read in February, 2010 — I own a copy , read count: 1

An acerbic critique of modern design and the uninspired forms which dominated American architecture in the post-war era through the 80s, Wolfe leaves no question about his stance on the issue.

His screed on the 'Yale box', its relations/derivations and their prolific propagation is unmitigated disgust. He also takes his shots at architects/designers themselves, in a number of asides and direct bullet-points.

This same topic is handled with far more care and context in Richard Sennett's The Conscience of the Eye: The Design and Social Life of Cities, among other discussions of the type. While Sennett is not himself enamored of the steel and glass, mile-high box design as representing the end-all of design theory, he approaches the subject with a keener eye.

Also missing from Conscience... and present in Wolfe's book is the jeering at the American artist who idolizes and emulates the European for their very European-ness. I think this is a fair point on his part, but is made rather bitterly, and nearly comes across as petty mockery.

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