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Old 30th May 2013   #1
Join Date: July 2005
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Default The Architectural Restoration

Over the years, the Judgment of Paris has frequently drawn a parallel between the suppression of the timeless ideal of full-figured femininity and the destruction of the Beauty tradition in all of the arts, including painting and architecture.

Prior to the takeover of our civilization by a hostile elite in the 20th century, Western culture was ever guided by the principles of the Sublime and the Beautiful. But once the modernists gained hegemonic power, ugliness became the de rigueur standard in any paintings that were painted, any buildings that were erected, any poetry that was penned, and any music that was composed.

Why, one look at this magnificent castle tells you immediately when it was created. Surely this is a pre-modern masterpiece, either an original Gothic fortress from the Middle Ages or a Neo-Gothic marvel constructed in the 19th century, right?

Wrong. It is Brecqhou Castle, built on the Channel Islands in . . . 1996.

But this, this magnificent edifice which so closely resembles the Hofburg palace in Vienna, this is undoubtedly a product of late-1800s Historicism, correct?

No. It is the Agriculture Complex Administration building in Kazan, Russia, built in . . . 2010, perhaps the finest public edifice erected in the last half-century, anywhere in the world.

Ah, but here, here we clearly see an ancient Anglo-Saxon church, powerful and steadfast, with thick masonry designed to repel ancient Viking attacks.

Actually, it is Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church. Built in 2003.

Next, we must surely be looking at the wing of an Oxbridge or Ivy League school, fashioned in the 19th century in a splendid Gothic Revival style.

Right style, wrong date. This is the University of Connecticut Law School Library in Hartford, Connecticut, completed in 1996.

Is this the British Museum,? No, it's a bit too small for that, but surely such a fine Neoclassical structure was also constructed by the Victorians, those titans under whose wise leadership the British Empire reached its apogee.

Incorrect. It is the Tuscaloosa Federal Building, opened in . . . 2011.

And what of this stunning interior? A Parisian train station of the 1800s, perhaps, converted to other use?

Nope. It is the Kenan Pavillion of the Flagler Museum, in Palm Beach, Florida, completed in 2005 and billed as "the first public Beaux Arts-style building built in the United States in six decades."

The lush greenery and blue sky might tip off the viewer that the following marvel is to be found in India. Therefore, surely it must be one of the great Victorian imperial buildings erected by the British in the 19th century to administer the "jewel in the crown" of their great empire.

In fact, this is the Infosys Campus, found in Mysore, built by an Indian firm in 2005, and a remarkable architectural tribute to the nation's great colonial heritage.

Finally, a glimpse at what clearly must be a Gothic or Neo-Gothic interior space. Just look at those Medieval-style windows. Pure Middle Ages.

Actually, pure 2010. The New Dormitory of Meier Hall, part of Elmira College, New York, completed just three years ago.

* * *

What could all this mean? In the midst of a world of ugly, concrete-and-glass boxes and soulless skyscrapers of steel and iron, how are so many fine, traditional buildings secretly being built? What is happening here?

The aesthetic restoration--that's what's happening.

As this site has predicted for well over a decade, artists and architects are finally fighting back against the tyranny of modernism and the "aesthetics of guilt" that the hostile elite has imposed on Western culture ever since the last world war. They are at last eschewing ugliness and resurrecting the Beauty ideal.

We have long honoured the work of the Art Renewal Center as a Web site that celebrates not only the history of Western art, but champions the work of present-day painters who reject modernism and abstraction and embrace the tradition of representational art.

Now we can introduce a similar endeavour aimed at celebrating the New Traditionalism in the field of architecture: a brand-new FB community called Architecture MMXII.

In addition to identifying and praising the revival of traditionalist principles in architecture, the group also posts thought-provoking graphics about the clash between beauty and ugliness, betwen traditionalism and modernism, and how the aesthetics of guilt have engendered a soulless, dystopian built environment.

For example, the following graphic features, on the left, an image of a cozy little English village, with its centuries-old pretty buildings, above a noble, stately, Neoclassical structure, both exemplifying the beauty tradition in Western architecture. On the right, in opposition, looms an image of regimented, cubicle-like living spaces above a brutalist, concrete-and-steel box of a public building, both epitomizing the Cultural Marxist world in which we are now forced to live, due to the hegemony of the hostile elite. The graphic asks us to "Imagine a World without Modernism," i.e., a world without such monstrosities, a world of traditional beauty.

The next graphic, "Art Then, Art Now," memorably illustrates how badly our culture has degenerated over the past century. It shows Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People alongside two classical sculptures, all three works representing the noble, beautiful ideals that Western art embodied then, versus a ludicrous abstract sculpture consisting of a blob amid concrete walls, as well as a supposed painting that looks like a kitchen counter mounted on a wall, to epitomize art now.

A similar graphic presents an image of a splendid, Neo-Romanesque building alongside painted masterpieces in a grand gallery, juxtaposed with a grim, grey cube that looks more like a prison block than an office building and a modern gallery filled with ludicrous splotches of paint slathered onto indistinguishable canvasses. "Architecture and Art Then; Architecture and Art Now" it is called, showing how far our culture has fallen from "then" till "now."

A more hopeful graphic, on the other hand, shows how even a product of the bleakest modernism can be reconfigured into an attractive form, if principles of beauty are applied, just as even a starving, skeletal runway waif can blossom into a goddess if she indulges herself freely and gains generous amounts of weight, thus accruing femininity-developing figure fullness.

Perhaps the most revealing graphic at Architecture MMXII is the following cartoon, dubbed "The Modernist Architect." However, it could just as easily be called "The Modernist Painter," "The Modernist Poet," or "The Fashion Designer," for the image accurately reveals the egocentric mindset of the members of today's hostile cultural elite, who look with resentment upon thousands of years of Western art, in all of its beauty and splendour, violently hurl it aside, then impose themselves as the sole arbiters of culture.

The above graphic perfectly captures the mindset of today's fashion designers, magazine editors, etc., who shun the centuries-old Western ideal of full-figured feminine beauty and impose in its place an androgynous standard, simply because it conforms to their degenerate inclinations, and more pointedly, because the beauty ideal embodies the Western cultural legacy, which they loathe and resent, and seek to eradicate and suppress.

* * *

Now, we've all been assaulted by the sight of ugly, soulless, modernist buildings. Indeed, it seems hard to step out of one's door and avoid seeing one of these brutalist horrors.

However, Architecture MMXII has a photo album that is especially worth viewing, which catalogues a horrific recent development in architecture that may be even worse than the construction of new modernist monstrosities, and that is the phenomenon of parasitism.

Without identifying it by name, the Judgment of Paris has previously identified this travesty in our discussion of the disfigurement of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, once a regal, 19th-century, Historicist marvel . . .

. . . now blighted by the addition of a twisted mass of steel girders sheathed in aluminum.

An architectural "parasite," then, is an incongruously ugly, modern appendage that has been affixed to a formerly beautiful, traditional building, an addition that looks like a nightmarish tumour on formerly healthy living tissue.

Perhaps the world's most offensive example of an architectural parasite blights the following building, the only museum in Dresden that was not destroyed by the Allied terror-bombing campaign of 1945. The very fact that this one museum did survive the war obviously made it a target of particular resentment to the modernists, so the architect who was put in charge of the building's "restoration" in the 2000s drove a hateful shard of iron and metal into the museum's heart, as if he were a murderer trying to slaughter the past, to kill the beauty ideal itself, to rape the very soul of the German nation.

Nowhere in the world is there a nation more vulnerable to the aesthetics of guilt (owing to the propaganda that has been levelled against it over the past 70 years) than Germany, so little wonder that the country is especially blighted by architectural parasites. The elegant Neoclassical façade of the famous Congress Hall in Nürnberg, for example, now suffers from what looks like a pair of gigantic metal shears tearing into its side, while a misshapen metal box perches crazily on top.

The creators of these architectural parasites go out of their way to defame the past by every means available to their warped minds, whether through violent ugliness, as shown above, or through idiotic lunacy, as seen in this picture of a pathetic addition to the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, which resembles an oversized kitchen sink.

Most visibly parasitic of all is this nightmarish extension to the Port House in Antwerp. How fitting that the modernist addition should look like a gigantic cockroach, like a Lovecraftian terror out of a bad sci-fi film, about to prey on this vulnerable historic building beneath it. In just such a way has the legacy of Western culture been violated and ravaged by the resentful modernists, who hate its beauty with a zealotry bordering on fanaticism.

The following parasite, the Porter House in New York, comprises a bleak, black box crammed on top of what had once been a noble, vintage structure. This configuration too is unintentionally illustrative of the nature of postmodernism, which is incapable of creating anything great or inspiring on its own, so it can only feed off of the creations of the past, even as it destroys them. A parallel to this kind of parasitism can be found in the world of opera, where the modernists remain incapable of producing successful new compositions (because no audiences can endure the atonal dissonance that they try to pass off as music), therefore they keep producing the works of Wagner or other classic operas, but blighted by stage productions which are as vulgar and offensive as possible.

* * *

One final avenue of Architecture MMXII's efforts deserves mention: the group's YouTube channel, which features a host of thought-provoking and entertaining videos.

The most effective of these, and the finest introduction to the group's philosophy as a whole, is the following, which accurately presents the clash of modernism and traditionalism as a culture war and ends with a paean to "The Renaissance of Beauty." The content could just as easily refer to our mission at the Judgment of Paris.

One further Architecture MMXII video deserves watching, though it is a tad longer, because it references another incident which we have previously discussed on this forum: the tale of how, in 2010, the city of London tore down the beautiful, 19th-century Chelsea Barracks . . .

. . . and intended to let modernist architects erect a grim regiment of glass-and-concrete boxes in their place . . .

. . . until HRH The Prince of Wales interceded with the Saudi royal family (who owned the land) and lobbied for a more classical alternative:

The video covers the entire story in engaging detail:

The video illustrates the vital necessity for a nation to be governed by a noble class with a royal family at its head. The arrogant, elitist architects in the video show absolute contempt for the people who actually have to live in the buildings that they erect, and assert that only professional architects are entitled to have a say in artistic matters.

Their comments reveal how empty is the claim that in a democracy, "the people rule." In fact, in a democracy, the people are the powerless subjects of the plutocrats and the elites.

Prince Charles, on the other hand, does speak for the people. His preference for Beauty in architecture reflects the true taste of the public, and through him, the will of his subjects is manifested.

It is not a coincidence that modernism metastasized and the beauty tradition was displaced after the world wars, when the European aristocracy lost its political position. Historically, the nobility had ever been the check on the power of society's hostile moneyed elements, which always resented European civilization and sought to undermine it. Tragically, as the aristocracy was displaced, our culture was left vulnerable to enemy predations.

But the actions of the Prince of Wales in rescuing London from at least this one modernist blight exemplify how the nobility can still fulfill its traditional function, defending the European people and their culture from hostile forces. In centuries past, they would have done so with a sword in their hand; now, they do so via the pen, but the effort is just as heroic.

* * *

Bravo to Architecture MMXII for so passionately and eloquently defending the Western beauty tradition in the field of architecture. It is greatly encouraging, at last, to see tangible indications of the aesthetic restoration. The grip of the hostile elite on our culture has never been tighter, their media-based propaganda never more hegemonic, but despite all of this, glimmers of a cultural revival are at last appearing. May they soon blossom and yield rich fruit.

- Architecture MMXII

Last edited by HSG : 31st May 2013 at 11:29.
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Old 31st May 2013   #2
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Default Re: The Architectural Restoration

How wonderful to see real-life evidence of a turn in thinking in the world of architecture, back toward an aesthetic of beauty. These lovely examples of brand-new traditionalist building relate to the architectural industry exactly the same way that plus-size models related to the fashion industry: they are suppressed but thriving marginal subsets which are, in fact, the only worthwhile developments in their respective fields.

In both vocations, the so-called "mainstream" should actually be marginal and vice versa. Traditional, beautiful architecture should be the standard style of building, as it was for centuries, while plus-size models should be the default size of all fashion models, just as full-figured goddesses embodied ideal beauty in every century prior to the 1900s.

In the 20th century, it was as if Western culture capsized. Slaves became the masters and the masters became the slaves, leading to a world of inverted values and universal ugliness.

I was especially appalled by the "parasites." Those are even more insidious than outright modernist buildings, because they corrupt and distort the past -- which is their explicit intention. Another example is this Dutch museum, clearly formerly a beautiful building, but now with a malignancy seemingly growing on top of it.

The members of the Architecture MMXII group call it a "cancer" and a "tumour," and they're exactly right. That's what modernism and all the related ideologies that grew with it (Marxism, feminism, post-colonialism, etc.) are: malignancies that metastasized in the West when our culture sickened after the world wars. In centuries past, we had a healthy culture that could fight off such invasive infections -- such parasites -- but after the wars, our crisis of guilt set in, our self-defense system failed, and alien parasites started to attack the host body. These hideous architectural distortions are the real-life metaphors of this ravaging process.

Western civilization needs to regain its health, so that it can fight off the invasive species and cut the parasites off its history, restoring traditional beauty.

I am highly encouraged by the positive developments that the Architecture MMXII group cites, as examples of the aesthetic restoration.

The group also recently posted an encouraging video from CBS News which presents a cautiously optimistic outlook for the future. New York residents will especially enjoy its focus on Grand Central Station and the city's New Traditionalism:

It's going to be a difficult struggle to revive the beauty ideal and restore it to cultural primacy, but the alternative -- surrender -- is unthinkable.
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Old 31st May 2013   #3
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Default Re: The Architectural Restoration

Originally Posted by Emily
I was especially appalled by the "parasites." Those are even more insidious than outright modernist buildings, because they corrupt and distort the past -- which is their explicit intention.

Those horrid architectural parasites remind me of the appalling "introductions" that are now appended to many so-called critical editions of classic novels and poetry collections.

Those introductions -- usually penned by hard-Leftist editors and scholars -- defame the works that they're supposedly introducing, chastizing their authors for their purported sins of political incorrectness, and indoctrinating new readers of the book into the "appropriate" Marxist, or feminist, or post-colonial, or other degenerate Leftist readings that they are supposed to undertake.

Just like beautiful, traditionalist buildings that are blighted with grotesque architectural parasites, these classic novels do exist in these critical editions, but their parasitic modern introductions and notes distort the works, misshaping into into an unrecognizable form.

By the way, that video that Emily posted is excellent. I was especially appalled by the tragic and nonsensical destruction of New York's great Penn Station, to which the video alludes. At least when the Marxists demolished Prussia's Königliche Schloß in Berlin, they had the excuse that the palace had been somewhat damaged by Allied terror-bombing during the war. But Penn Station was in perfect condition, and was only destroyed due via modernist fanaticism.

It's been posted on this forum before, but the following video, movingly describing the history and destruction of Penn Station, is worth another view:

Still, while historic preservation is immeasurably important (so that no more Penn Stations are demolished, and no more historic architectural treasures are defaced with parasites), the New Traditionalist architecture that the MMXII group celebrates, and that Emily's CBS video mentions, is even more exciting, as is show that not only is it possible to save the beauty of the past, but that today, new beauty in the traditional manner can once again be created.
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Old 2nd June 2013   #4
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Default Ornament

One of the articles that is linked at Architecture MMXII is especially worth reading.

Called "How Modern Architecture Got Square," it opens with a damning graphic comparing traditional beauty in building to the soulless, boxlike brutality of present-day cityscapes. It could just as easily show a luscious plus-size model alongside an androgynous, flat-chested runway skeleton.

The article points out that modernist buildings were initially promoted as being more efficient and economical than traditional styles, but that in fact, the EPA rates historic buildings to be environmentally sound, while new buildings fail:

Modern architecture thrives despite its inability to live up to any of its longstanding promises -- aesthetic, social or utilitarian.

So what happened that deprived architecture of its soul? The answer that the article gives is very convincing:

"Nevertheless, during the last century, in the dawning age of industrial design, the desirable qualities resilient buildings offered were lost. What happened?"

Architecture ousted ornament.

"The fractal mathematics of nature bears a striking resemblance to human ornament," Salingaros and Mehaffy write. "This is not a coincidence. Ornament may be what humans use as a kind of 'glue' to help weave our spaces together. It now appears that the removal of ornament and pattern has far-reaching consequences for the capacity of environmental structures to form coherent, resilient wholes."


Allow your mind to wander over various parts of your own city. Where do you take visitors to impress them? To old places, of course, not to places built since modernism evicted ornament from architecture.

It's not just a coincidence that tourists, who travel by choice, do not flock to Sao Paolo or Brasilia, or to the outskirts of Paris and Rome. In London, tourists regret new buildings that have invaded old districts and cherish old buildings that have survived bouts of modernization. Likewise even in Manhattan.

Not even modernist-architecture critics bother to claim that modernism has produced any lovable cities. And yet the primary purpose of architecture is to design a civic realm that soothes the savage breast. Modernism fails every time.

The article includes a sketch that illustrates the difference between two aesthetics, with modernism represented by the cube, and the traditional beauty of ornament represented by a flower, and shows how the cube engulfs the flower, erasing it, just as ornament and timeless beauty has been erased from our world:

The article ends with a revealing passage that lays bare the Cultural Marxism which is at the root of the modernist aesthetic:

"The machine aesthetic was an artistic metaphor of 'modernity' . . . not a true functional requirement." It was a complete blueprint for remaking the world according to specific concepts of scale, standardization, replication

Now more than ever, modernism's brand reflects a new inhumanity of spirit more consonant with Big Brother and the totalitarianism we thought we'd defeated in the 20th Century.

This is entirely applicable to the topics dealt with here at the Judgment of Paris. After all, a fuller-figured female body physically has more fleshy ornament than does a sunken-chested, starving, size-0 androgyne. Curves under the chin, buxom contours, swells of fullness along the back, dimpled flesh, dimples at the knuckles - this is all physical ornament.

Also, think of the other aspects of fashion that complement plus-size beauty: long, romantic tresses that are as elaborately styled as possible, chandelier earrings and other types of Baroque or Classical jewellery, ultra-feminine attire with frills or ruffles or intricate lace. All of this is ornament, which suits the plus-size female body, which is physically ornamented by soft fullness.

It all comprises the aesthetic of Maximalism, the exact opposite of modernist minimalism and the "aesthetics of guilt." And as the above article correctly describes, this love of ornamentation is the essence of beauty and deeply cherished by the human psyche.

Hopefully, the New Traditionalism championed by Architecture MMXII and the beauty-oriented painting celebrated at the Art Renewal Center, as well as the rise of plus-size modelling, illustrates a rejection of inhuman modernism and minimalism and a return to the celebration of Maximalism and ornament.
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Old 7th June 2013   #5
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Default Re: The Architectural Restoration

One more Architecture MMXII video that I found very compelling is this feature, which documents another exciting reconstruction currently occurring in Germany.

As students of history might know, traditionally the Prussian city of Potsdam was to Berlin what Versailles was to Paris: a royal residence situated nearby the kingdom's capital.

In the 20th century, the city palace of Potsdam, the Postdamer Stadtschloß, suffered exactly the same fate as the Königliche Schloß in Berlin: first it was bombed in WWII, and then the communists eradicated it, after the war.

But now the province of Brandenburg is undertaking a faithful reconstruction of Potsdam's city palace. It is nearing completion, as the video shows:

The video includes the following fascinating commentary. Note the references to the other reconstructions that have been discussed on this forum, including the Frauenkirche in Dresden and the Königliche Schloß in Berlin. Note also the fact that the Prince of Wales is directly involved in the Potsdam project:

The reconstruction of the Potsdamer Stadtschloß is not a singular incident but part of a larger trend in the reunited Germany of the past two decades. (C.f. Berlin's decision to rebuild its city palace). "In particular, the architects are to blame," the journalist and former politician Alexander Gauland writes. "After they squandered the Bauhaus legacy in soulless box architecture in the West and no-less-soulless Eastern-bloc slab construction, everyone is pressing for reconstruction. From the historic Zeil in Frankfurt to the Dresden Frauenkirche, to the Berlin & Potsdam city-palaces, citizens are calling for the restoration of the old, since the modern cannot provide a sense of home."

The palace's absence left a formless void in the middle of Potsdam's city center. In the mid 1990s, the Prince of Wales put together an Urban Task Force to study the city in terms of traditional urban design and architecture and recommended rebuilding much of the lost structures of the Old Market. This included constructing a new Stadtschloß on the outline of the old one, but to a new design in a traditional style. While the proposals of the Prince of Wales's Urban Task Force initiated much debate and discussion, the old palace's Fortuna Gate was restored in 2000-2001 with funds donated by the television host Günter Jauch (of the old Hanseatic family of Jauch).
What's especially exciting is that, unlike the reconstruction of the Königliche Schloß in Berlin, the rebuilt Potsdamer Stadtschloß will have no modern features.

It's quite well along now. In this picture, the reconstructed city palace is the building on the right, with just a bit of scaffolding left along its front face. At its left is the Marstall, the historic royal stables of the palace, which were never destroyed. (Potsdam's cathedral is the dome in the background.) As the image shows, the two buildings, past and present, are entirely harmonious with one another.

Better still, it appears that the Potsdamer Stadtschloß will be regaining its ornament, as seen in the video. Two magnificent royal coats-of-arms have already been installed.

It's wonderful to see the golden crown of the monarchy, as well as the Prussian eagle, once again adorning this historic royal structure -- a defiant symbol of aristocracy, flying in the face of our hyper-democratic age.

I can think of no symbol that better represents the aesthetic restoration than this defiant escutcheon of the noble Hohenzollerns.
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