Are we blind? What has happened to our eyes? Don’t we see that present-day architecture, since modernism came our way, is a void? Have we lost our inherent instinct to make things beautiful?
Why we are not generous to the people walking in our streets, on our squares, in the outskirts of our cities and towns?
What is the reason that we do not present them any longer the pleasure to see buildings that stimulate the fantasy, and that have aspects that you see only under a specific light?
What is wrong with the concept of beauty?
Who has the right to make the public space so austere?
Why do we have to live surrounded by nothing?
What is the reason that we hate our students in architecture in such a way that we tell them that it is forbidden to use ornaments, decorations and symbols in their creations?
Why are the people who commission the construction of a house, a whole neighbourhood, an office, a shop, a factory, or a mega supermarket not sure anymore of their own tastes and artistic preferences and follow blindly the ideas that nihilism proposes architects?
Why don’t those commissioners and patrons like to tell the world about their identity through the shape of their material and concrete addition to the public space?
Why they don’t wish this identity to be expressed in architecturally rich forms?
What happened in history that the architectural materialization of the public space became a field in which it became disallowed to tell who you are, and what pleasure, eminence or philosophy you wish to communicate with the passers-by?
Why do we distrust the taste of our citizens? Is there any reason to think that they cannot contribute to the reflection on what a building in the public space should and could represent? Isn’t there a good chance that they would like to have, of course, a comfortable and affordable house, but also a place that stimulates the imagination with ornaments, colours, small towers, richly decorated balconies, doors with sculptures, bricks that are not only piled up in a straight line, and a variety of the sizes of the different layers and floors?
Why have we declared our fellow citizens to be aesthetically incompetent concerning the surrounding where they live, work, or shop? Isn’t it cynical that we impose on construction workers to do only dull work instead of being the performers of an aesthetic plan to which the quality of their contribution matters, like the performer in orchestra?
Why do we not train the pupils in our school to be aesthetically competent, and to see the differences between a richly decorated building and a house where the straight lines govern?
What does this tell them?
What would be their desire?
Why do we not stimulate their aesthetic courage?
Why do we suggest to them that sentiments should not be shown in the public space – certainly not in buildings that will survive them?
What is the reason that we are so cruel to our children that we rob from the capacity to explore their fantasies?
Joost Smiers, 19xx (please find this text here in pdf-format)