John Brinckerhoff Jackson (3)

I’ve got absorbed in finding out more about John Brinckerhoff Jackson and have acquired a volume of essays produced after his death by the University of New Mexico – Everyday America:  Cutural Landscape Studies after J.B. Jackson. ed Chris Wilson and Paul Roth, Berkeley, 2003.   He was anti-modernist, turning against a house designed by Le Corbusier in the Paris Exposition of Modern Art in 1926.   ‘I didn’t like it’.   In 1934, he travelled round Europe and saw the Stuttgart Wissenhof exhibition of modern housing and city planning, including work by Gropius and Mies van der Rohe.   He regarded it as ‘ridiculous, intellectual architecture’.   After the war, he contributed pseudonymous reviews to Landscape, the journal of which he was himself the publsher and the editor, in which he attacked modernist architcture on the grounds that it was not ‘designed to improve the lot of Man but a desire to create pure geometrical forms, an autonomous art of cubes and cylinders and two dimensional planes;  independent of the past, independent of the earth and of life’.   This was what led him to his interest in the vernacular and the ways in which ‘all the while there enters through the back door of the modern dwelling a troop of interior decorators, landscape architects, home consultants, psychologists, appliance and television salesemen, each of them bent on making the modern home as complex and irrational and individual as possible’.   This was in 1952.

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