HAVING FREED THEMSELVES from the tyranny of the past, architects are no longer limited to the classical orders and to traditional methods, and can embrace new materials and new designs in order to create a more perfect future. But what are the results of this freedom? Why do we so often have a dreary sameness in new designs?
I recently rediscovered the blog Unhappy Hipsters, started last year, which documents the new paradigm of residential architecture, and the people who dwell within. What is odd about these photos is that the people here almost always appear to be unhappy and lonely — and so the anonymous author supplies unpleasant captions to explain what might be going on.
Every once in a while she’d allow herself the extravagance of an ever-so-brief glance at the outside world. [source]
With resignation she realized she did need rescuing; if not from herself, then from the punishing aesthetic of her life. [source]
The new artistic freedom was in fact not the freedom to do whatever is the right thing to do, but rather a ‘freedom’ from the old styles of the past. But what if the right thing to do is prohibited? Will we end up with homes that are depressing? It is no surprise that when you subtract history, you have practically nothing left, which is why these high-styled homes appear so similar to each other. Architects of antiquity, if they desired, could have built a blank wall, and undoubtably they did so, but they weren't limited to doing only that one thing. The photos on Unhappy Hipsters show a largely unvarying plainness that lacks much human quality.
There are a few architectural schools that are attempting to break this trend, such as at Notre Dame.