THE QUANDRY
MODERN PLURALISM

Excess of choice has manifested itself in the built environment in the form of stylistic eclecticism. Neo-Georgian, neo-federation, neo-classical – falsifications of the past abound in the suburban landscape of our most ‘cultured’ cities. Imitations of the past have become so common place that even the governing bodies that control development are now citing such falsifications as the preferred development model in established areas. The philosophy being, we assume, that something fake that looks the same as everything around it might not be any good, but at least it won’t offend anyone.

Such attitudes are a direct result of the confusion that has arisen from the combination of too much choice and massive uncertainty about the future. This uncertainty has caused people to become nostalgic about an idealised past that actually never existed. We have a higher standard of living now than ever before and we must remain confident in our ability to find new solutions to our problems in the future. The lesson for us here, is that whatever we create must give people the same sense of permanence and solidity they feel when looking at the substantial architectural works of the past.