It’s taken me a while, only due to my own forgetfulness, to get around to posting the final issue of the Mississippi AIA’s monthy magazine, Mississippi Architect, published in March 1965. Editor Bob Henry gave no warning that this was the last issue, so I wonder if he knew?
Bob Henry does sound a warning in his editorial though. Its a precient warning about the encroaching blandness of Modernism, although he never uses that word. You can almost catch a whiff of post-Modernism around the corner waiting to jump out and surprise a bored American public. In that respect, this is the perfect editorial for Mississippi Architect‘s final issue.
Variety of experience is a vital need of man.
Most of the things that surround us are mass produced and have a built-in monotonous quality.
This is true of everything from automobiles to houses. The hub caps on one automobile are hardly distinguishable from the hib caps on all other automobiles. The family room in one mass produced subdivision house is exactly like the one two doors down the street. The materials, colors, and furniture may be changed by the space is the same and the experience is the same. The houses themselves, regardless of price, are usually the same size, on the same size lot, the same distance from the street, and all in a row.
Shopping centers too often consist of a row of shops with nothing but a sign to distinguish the drugstore from the delicatessen. New Yorkers are now complaining about their new rows of “glass box” office buildings.
To suggest that this is bad is not to say that everything about it is bad or that we should cease to mass produce those things that have made our society the most affluent in the history of the world.
We should, however, strive constantly to provide a well ordered variety of experience for the people who use our buildings and the spaces around them.