Monday, June 25, 2007

Pictures Stately Edifices (1923)

As promised, we have the first in a long list of predictions found in the February 12, 1923 Bridgeport Telegram (Bridgeport, Connecticut).

Today's excerpt is from architect Thomas Hastings. It's particularly unsettling to read someone from the 1920s writing about the possibility of another World War. I get such a feeling of detachment, as though watching a movie playing out through history.

Architecture expresses the life of each period. Will life a hundred years hence be freer, cleaner, saner? Inevitably the architecture of 2022 will register that. Will civilization relapse perhaps through the medium of another world war, into semi-barbarism? Then barbaric will be the architecture of that time.

There is this much to be said: Steel construction frees architectural design from limitations which masonry necessarily imposed. Thus far the result has been confusion - the one and only real confusion that has ever occurred in a continuous historic succession of architectural developments. But that is because present day architecture steers a wavering course between the Scylla and Charybdis of all modern art; on the one hand, too much archaeology or selection from the past, and on the other hand, too much sterile realism.

Granted a broadened intellectual horizon (and the probability of revolutionizing inventions - even the discovery of forces which we know nothing about now.) the architects of 2022, we can imagine, will be busying themselves with edifices of a statelines and power such as we have only dreamed of hitherto.

See also:
Thinking Men and Women Predict Problems of World Century Hence (1923)
Prelude to a Great Depression (The Chronicle Telegram, 1929)
Part-Time Robot (1923)

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