Event Recap

Reading Club: Léon Krier and Tom Wolfe

October 4, 2022

Reading Club – Traditional and Classical Architecture

On Thursday, September 29, CSS–HU members and alumni gathered at the CSS Andrássy Salon for a reading club session to discuss two books on the critique of modernist architecture and the foundational principles of new classical architecture. The first book was Luxembourgish architect and theorist Léon Krier’s seminal work Architecture: Choice or Fate. The second was American journalist and critic Tom Wolfe’s comical critique of the modernist movement, From Bauhaus to Our House.

The discussion revolved around the promise of the 20th century modernist architecture movement. To what extent was this promise fulfilled? Why was there a lack of aesthetic argument in the debates concerning new public projects? What were the short-term costs and long-term benefits of traditional design? Participants reflected on the meaning of modernism and tradition in the Hungarian context, and debated successful and poor building projects in the country from the present and the past.

The reading club was the first in a series of three events on architecture and beauty taking place in the fall of 2022. These events provide a foundational and educational experience for participants on topics of aesthetic judgment, the history of modernist architecture, the new classical revival, and the meaning of harmony and wholeness in buildings. All three events highlight the importance of beauty in architecture and in the design of humane places, as well as present the antagonisms that modernist architecture creates in contemporary environments.

Common Sense Society–Hungary (CSS–HU) is a nonprofit organization that promotes liberty, prosperity, and beauty through education and public discourse. The educational fellowships, curriculum resources, publications, cultural programs, community initiatives, and national campaigns of CSS–HU illuminate the enduring ideas that have transformed the course of human history for the better. CSS–HU does not receive funding from governments or political parties.

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