A Renaissance in Traditional Architecture

Architectural Digest reports an anecdotal but encouraging rise in neoclassical projects. “As modernism’s light threatens to wane,” writes Kathleen Quigley, “more top architects are being called on to look back—way back—in order to get ahead.”

I have blogged about the concerted efforts of various institutions to suppress, or at least discourage, traditional architectural styles. But of course clients can overcome this pressure by insisting on classical or vernacular designs. Quigley writes about an architectural team whose “client, a shipping magnate and ardent Anglophile, had dispatched them to England to study the work of Robert Adam, the great neoclassicist. Trained in modernism at Syracuse University, they found themselves sketching festoons—garlands and swags—and studying proportion and detailing as they immersed themselves in the language of classicism.”

Peter Lyden, president of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art, tells Quigley, “We are making progress.” I am glad.

The article contains commentary by Robert A.M. Stern, the former dean of the Yale School of Architecture, and probably the only “starchitect” who works regularly in traditional styles. He recently designed the two new colleges at Yale in Collegiate Gothic.

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