Death and Modern Architecture

Frank Lloyd Wright with his model for the Getty Museum in Manhattan

Until the dead-past has buried its dead — Life us poisoned and itself dies of its own dead.

— Frank Lloyd Wright, “The Logic of Contemporary Architecture as an Expression of This Age” (1930) in Frank Lloyd Wright: Essential Texts, pg. 243

When they came to design a new Kamenny Bridge over the Moskva River for their projected Utopia (No. 1, pg. 30), they dispatched a gravedigger to ‘carry out a thorough excavation of the archives, to unearth a historical reference to the Kamenny bridge’ and then to ‘present a detailed report, of which the separate data will together constitute a basis for consideration, when selecting the artistic-architectonic shape of the new bridge.’

— El Lissitzky, “The Catastrophe of Architecture” (1921), pg. 369

This pseudomodern decorative architecture, governed by caprice and artificial fashions, puts its own era and culture to shame, even if it did assume a representative, official place within it.  In the way it conjures the old specter of historicism from its grave, there lurks a betrayal of international modern civilization, modern culture, and contemporary life.  Such a betrayal must inevitably fail.

— Karel Teige, Modern Architecture in Czechoslovakia (1929), pg. 155