Leon Krier
The Architecture of Community

Maybe we should ask ourselves not what is wrong with ourselves, but rather what is wrong with our critics. How do we react when a prominent British architect condemns in the mass media the architecture of Sir Christopher Wren, while applauding the achievements of Sir Denys Lasdun, architect of the graceless London National Theater? The normally constituted individual thinks, 'There must be profound reasons for saying such a thing even if I don't get it,' and indeed many modernist artists and critics in all modesty claim to be so far ahead in their thinking that it will take the non-expert decades of effort and patience before gaining access to the arcane.

Once art and criticism move away from the rational, the aesthetical, the logical, i.e., the self-evident and verifiable proposition onto a plane of the hermetic and unprovable, then anything, any statement, becomes 'authoritative' as long as it is repeated in speech and print.

Contrary to the 'culturally correct wisdom' civilized people don't have to be specially educated to like good architecture; they have however to be brainwashed in order to grow a liking to architectural products they would otherwise despise. Historical cities and buildings, and traditional aesthetics are endearing to people generally, not because of 'history'—'culture'—'memory' but simply for their self-evidently superior quality, their beauty, efficiency, and practicality. Civilized human intelligence is generally seduced and convinced by objects that are at once useful and aesthetic, by the harmony of shapes, common construction methods, and compositions without any explanation and justification.

  The World was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:
They, hand in hand, with wand'ring steps and slow,

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Through Eden took their solitary way.