Uncle Sam’s Buildings
From Anniston, Alabama, to Laramie, Wyoming, smaller cities once profited from beautiful federal architecture.
My mentor, Henry Hope Reed (1915–2013), did more than anyone to launch the postwar movement to make classical architecture relevant again, both through his prolific writing and his co-founding in 1968 of Classical America, an educational organization that was incorporated into the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art a couple of decades ago.
At the time he wrote The Golden City (1959), an influential denunciation of modernism’s aesthetic perversities, it was Henry’s assumption that it was a fashion that would fade from the scene before long. He was mistaken about that. Following a pattern easily observed in sundry departments of our nation’s latter-day administrative state, modernist architects haven’t learned from their mistakes. They’ve doubled down on them, concocting one new mode of aesthetic dysfunction after another guaranteed to provoke oohs and aahs from the legacy media, academics and curators.