The Wolfe of Walmer Street.

Reading Tom Wolfe’s short book entitled “From Bauhaus to Our House” was a most unexpected delight for this traditional architect on his holidays. Quite the juxtaposition to read about architectural intrigue in 1970s’ New York as I sat overlooking the Indian Ocean on a bright autumnal day in South Africa. Written almost 40 years ago, …

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Dutch Gold

We come to South Africa every 2-3 years to visit my wife's family and it's always interesting to note the changes, not only to this fascinating and troubled country but also the changes that we notice to ourselves as we see SA periodically through new eyes. When we last visited in 2016, it was immediately …

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The Making of Modernism Part 6 – Imagination

The connection between traditional wisdom and modern progress was already strained at the beginning of the 20th century and it all but disintegrated over the period of the First World War. The War to end all Wars deeply scarred the psyche of society and it is understandable that many people wanted a new start and …

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The Making of Modernism Part 5 – Identity

It’s hard to know where to go next with this blog even though all the background information is set up and I know how the many different strands interweave and play out. Despite all this preparation it’s still difficult to pinpoint exactly how we went from the glory of the Beaux Arts and the Gilded …

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The Making of Modernism Part 4 – Industrialisation

The changes that happened over the past 500 years were fueled by an unprecedented wave of new rights and freedoms for individuals. With these new freedoms in areas like education, politics and technology came opportunities and a new energy and momentum that led to an exponential growth of industrialisation. This growth in industrialisation propelled society …

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The Making of Modernism Part 3 – Individualism

At the beginning of the 20th century, the traditional/classical approach to architecture was to come to an abrupt end. The abandonment of the practice of traditional architecture took place over a relatively short time but in actuality it was a long time in the making, caused by the two main factors of individualism and industrialisation. …

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The Making of Modernism Part 2 – Information

It is perhaps appropriate that the themes that I will be covering in the next few blogs all begin with the letter “I”, because much of what it will cover is the recent growing dominance of the Individual (I) at the expense of the Collective (We), culminating in what has been coined by some commentators …

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The Making of Modernism Part 1

As we have seen, Classical Architecture can trace its’ roots back thousands of years. It has been an integral agent in the emergence of civilisation across the world, acting both as the foundation, as well as the inspiration for the best that our species has achieved; achievements such as our legal and education systems, technological …

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