There is a book by Englishman Gavin Stamp chronicling the change of 13 British cities from the 1930’s until now. The Guardian reviews it. In particular, Stamp argues that many plans to “modernize” Britian were particulary short-sighted and wasteful.
“Stamp’s thesis is familiar, but it has rarely been so combatively expressed.”
There really were some beautiful, grand old buildings; there’s even an American Chapter of the Victorian Society as well. Too much preservationism, however, can be a bad sign. A little pride is good, ennui…maybe not so good.
“City after city was blighted with modernist buildings that, in an almost totalitarian way were obsessed with function and efficiency and often looked like multistorey car parks, even when they weren’t.“
Yes, some of the buildings are ugly, but I also smell a little Robert Moses-is-the-devil kind of thinking here.
“The frontispiece of Stamp’s book shows Darley Street, Bradford, where the Kirkgate Market, with its welcoming human scale, was demolished in 1973…” “…Its replacement is a shopping mall of awesome brutalism.”
I just like the pictures.