Every work of architecture a prodigy

Adrian Forty, in the essay, “Context,” from Words and Buildings: A Vocabulary of Modern Architecture, writes:

“… in the editorials written by Ernesto Rogers for the magazine Casabella Continuitá in the middle of the [1950s] there appeared the first serious critique of the work of the first generation of modernist architects.  Rogers criticized their tendency to treat every scheme as a unique abstract problem, their indifference to location, and their desire to make of every work a prodigy.  Rather, Rogers argued, consider architecture as a dialogue with its surroundings, both in the immediate physical sense, but also as a historical continuum…. Rogers’s idea of ambiente as a historical process came … [in particular from] an essay by the poet T.S.Eliot, ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’ (1917)…. ‘the historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence’ …”

Note: Forty’s essay appears in shortened form in Introducing Architectural Theory


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