The Architecture of Community

Deyan Sudjic writes:

Leon Krier does not look much like an architect. Most of them dress in a now somewhat dated all-black Yohji Yamamoto manner. Krier by contrast wears a lot of linen, and he has the wire-frame glasses, broad-brimmed hats and neck stock associated with minor characters in Merchant Ivory adaptations. He keeps his hair in a bird’s nest and has a vaguely clerical air. But despite his mild appearance, Krier is an architect with a violent edge to his polemics, whose impact has extended far beyond the small number of designs he has actually built. His two greatest enemies are consumerism and modernism, characterised by the generic contemporary city lost in a wasteland of business parks, and endless suburbs punctuated by aggressively exhibitionistic landmarks. He celebrates the humility of the traditional city, with its robust, handsome but unpretentious streets, enhanced by the occasional judiciously positioned monument in classical style. He believes that it is not difficult to go on building places with the qualities of central Oxford, Prague or Ljubljana.

(LRB 7 October 2010)

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