Architecture and Democracy eBook

Claude Fayette Bragdon
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 128 pages of information about Architecture and Democracy.
Naturally, then, as your thoughts thus change, your growing architecture will change.  Its falsity will depart; its reality will gradually appear.  For the integrity of your thought as a People, will then have penetrated the minds of your architects.
Then, too, as your basic thought changes, will emerge a philosophy, a poetry, and an art of expression in all things; for you will have learned that a characteristic philosophy, poetry and art of expression are vital to the healthful growth and development of a democratic people.

Some readers may complain that these are after all only glittering generalities, of no practical use in solving the specific problems with which every architect is confronted.  On the contrary they are fundamental verities of incalculable benefit to every sincere artist.  Shallowness is the great vice of democracy; it is surface without depth, a welter of concrete detail in which the mind easily loses those great, underlying abstractions from which alone great art can spring.  These, in this essay, Mr. Sullivan helps us to recapture, and inspires us to employ.  He would win us from our insincerities, our trivialities, and awaken our enormous latent, unused power.  He says: 

    Awaken it.

    Use it.

    Use it for the common good.

    Begin now!

    For it is as true today as when one of your wise men said

    “The way to resume is to resume!”


The production of ceramics—­perhaps the oldest of all the useful arts practised by man; an art with a magnificent history—­seems to be entering upon a new era of development.  It is more alive today, more generally, more skilfully, though not more artfully practised than ever before.  It should therefore be of interest to all lovers of architecture, in view of the increasing importance of ceramics in building, to consider the ways in which these materials may best be used.

Looking at the matter in the broadest possible way, it may be said that the building impulse throughout the ages has expressed itself in two fundamentally different types of structure:  that in which the architecture—­and even the ornament—­is one with the engineering; and that in which the two elements are separable, not in thought alone, but in fact.  For brevity let us name that manner of building in which the architecture is the construction, Inherent architecture, and that manner in which the two are separable Incrusted architecture.

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Architecture and Democracy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.