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Working Papers

Traditional Architecture and Urbanism

Working paper #676
Andrés Duany

The author describes New Urbanism and argues that traditional architecture is an important part of its approach to planning. Traditional architecture is described as a common language of the American middle class. Although the middle class is the social group that really matters, it is the only consumer of architecture not addressed by the modernist schools and the professional periodicals. The middle class, unlike the poor, has choices in the market—and they have chosen tradition. The best proof that traditional architecture has been well and truly revived is that it can be dependably taught. It is the rigor of the Classical canon that enables this instruction. But in teaching the canon, care should be taken that students not become overly dependent on bookish authority. They must not fear to be “incorrect.” The author concludes with examples of twentieth-century architects who have contributed to the Classical canon.

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