From Bauhaus to our house

by Tom Wolfe

Hardcover, 1981




New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, c1981.


A review of architectural trends in the twentieth century that attacks the modernist mainstream.

User reviews

LibraryThing member dbsovereign
Wolfe's effort to critique 20th Century architecture is not particularly well thought out, and now times have changed to include buildings he said would never get built. Nevertheless, it is witty and highly readable.
LibraryThing member jwhenderson
Tom Wolfe's short work, From Bauhaus to Our House, is little more than a screed against the excesses of modern architecture. While agreeing with many of his conclusions, I found the style and tone of the book to be inappropriate for the purpose of serious art/architecture criticism. Written in 1981, it seems dated with a quarter century of architectural progress having occurred since it was published. There are references to other art forms, music in particular, that demonstrate an unfamiliarity with the material. The result of these references led me to question Wolfe's knowledge of architecture. While Wolfe has been one of my favorite authors with works like The Right Stuff and A Man in Full, this book will not be placed together with those favorites. An alternative for those who are interested in the spirit of twentieth century architecture may be found in the work of Louis Kahn.… (more)
LibraryThing member Voracious_Reader
Loved it--an essay about navel gazing and what happens when groups of people navel-gaze and gather together to prove which one of them is more perfect at navel-gazing. Wolfe critiques modern architecture, but it isn't just about the negative effects of the Bauhaus style as much as the dangerousness of a group of people who attempt to rid themselves of pesky intellectual and moreover, ideological, competition. You don't have to hate modern or post modern architecture to like the book, but it probably doesn't hurt if you are a bit of an iconoclast.… (more)
LibraryThing member gwendolyndawson
This is an amusing, long essay about the rise of Bauhaus architecture. Wolfe adopts a sarcastic tone and challenges the "glass box" style of architecture. I found this to be very informative and interesting.
LibraryThing member nessreendiana
An interesting and jazzy look at modern architecture and interior design.
LibraryThing member DinadansFriend
I'm no fan of books on architectural criticism, but I am attracted by Tom Wolfe's prose. So, on a slow day, I read this. He doesn't like post-modernist Buildings. In a perfect world, I might care more.
LibraryThing member datrappert
I am reading this book 30 years too late, of course, so probably my opinion is pointless. Or perhaps Wolfe has written an updated version that I've missed. In any case, his basic argument that American architecture had been taken over by a bunch of Europeans and turned into an academic exercise that was designed only for other similarly-deluded (and borderline talentless) architects seems indisputable. One only has to look at New Haven's (thankfully demolished) Oriental Gardens, which looks like a trailer park gone terribly terribly wrong. Looking around, I'm not sure we've made much progress since then, however. One look at Reston, Virginia is enough to make anyone who loves buildings shed a tear. It isn't Bauhaus, but it is damned ugly!… (more)
LibraryThing member nandadevi
This is a very readable account of the history of modern architecture. Its undoubtedly opinionated and contentious, but it wears its prejudices openly and honestly. Perhaps the highest accolade for a book is that it makes you want to read more, to get other viewpoints and know more fully what went on, and this books does that in spades. Highly recommended.… (more)
LibraryThing member lilithcat
Nearly thirty years ago, Tom Wolfe put the architectural world in a tizzy when he published this essay attacking modern architecture.

Now, I'm not a big fan of glass & steel & concrete office buildings, but Wolfe is absolutely virulent on the subject. And therein lies the rub. He detests Bauhaus-inspired work so much that he has no perspective. He is guilty of the same pretentiousness and arrogance of which he accuses the architects whom he dislikes.

There is a great deal to be said against architects who prefer form over function, theory over practice. But any legitimate criticism is lost in this diatribe. Saying over and over again "it's ugly and I don't like the architects' politics" is not particularly persuasive.
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