I collect vintage magazines regarding architecture and interior design. I like seeing how houses looked way back when, and not just decor but kitchens and baths and boilers and dumbwaiters and hardware and the whole bit.
A particular favorite is Scientific American, Architects & Builders Edition. Each edition, at least the early editions, are only nominally about architecture. Sigh. These “special” editions consist of the regular magazine but with a double-page color insert, and another insert showing details seemingly drawn on vellum. Pretty cool, but I yearn for more.
It is quite difficult finding early editions with the inserts still in situ. Inserts are, understandably, easily lost over time. And of late, people buy editions of the magazine with intact inserts, and sell the inserts on eBay. This should certainly be a crime.
I find almost all new housing in America to be ugly. Often ugly to an extreme.
Yet, I never ever ever come across a building which I find ugly before, say, WWII.
What is so curious is that, today, I type these words on a GORGEOUSLY-designed Mac computer. My calls are made on a GORGEOUSLY designed iPhone. IKEA and TARGET have for several decades offered good design combined with low prices. And I would KILL for a lusciously-designed Tesla sedan.
In short, we value beauty today as much as we valued beauty in 1886. But why do we demand beauty in our smart phones and computers and housewares and sheets…yet accept ugly housing?
This, I just don’t get. And the awareness vexes and depresses me.