A libido for the ugly…something that the psychologists have so far neglected: the love of ugliness for its own sake. —H.L. Mencken

When the British government recently set up a Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, the appointment of philosopher Roger Scruton to chair it brought a frisson of excitement among conservative-minded architects and commentators. It seemed to signal that the anti-Modernist counter-revolution that has recently been gathering momentum in architectural circles, particularly in the U.S. and UK, was moving beyond journalism and into the realm of public policy. The optimism was short-lived as Scruton was abruptly sacked (and then reinstated) in a panicky reaction (by the Minister for Housing) to a storm of character assassination coming from Britain’s all-powerful media commentariat. This story is now old news, but the question remains as to what, if anything, a “building beautiful” initiative might actually achieve in the face of an architectural culture that seems to prize novelty above all else.

Read more at The American Conservative

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