Today's topic is one that particularly interests me, as an urbanist and a guy with a strong interest in urban design, my passionate side was piqued when Alain de Botton spoke about the beauty of architecture, and the modernist and postmodernist trends that tend to illustrate a shift from buildings focused on function to then form and then to a little bit of both. His argument was that buildings are beautiful when they incorporate both the ideas of function and form into their design, and this is because the result is something that is both aesthetically pleasing and serves the purpose that it was designed to do.
I totally believe this. And such an idea is no more apparent than in the cites of America.
During the 1950's, the same time as the rise of popular modernist architechure in America, the rise of the postwar suburb was literally changing the fabric around which America was being formed. In droves and droves, scores of Americans were taking advantage of the areas opened up to them the advent of the Interstate highway system and spreading out to the countryside in droves to build their new homes. This sort of mass exodus from the city center and the areas surrounding it left behind the empty husks of pre-war neighborhoods and the people who couldn't afford (or won't allowed) to move out of the confines of the city.
As a result, the cities changed to meet the new demands of Mr. and Mrs. Suburbanite who no longer lived above the corner store at 5th and Broad, but in Pinewood Acres fifteen miles out, and the result was the rise of the International modernism in America.