I added two Wikipedia articles recently, Peter Eisenman’s House VI and Roche-Dinkeloo’s Ford Foundation Building. Both are major projects in the history of architecture, let alone modernism, and both are exactly the kind of high-profile projects that get attention in other sections of Wikipedia. Imagine To The Lighthouse and The Crying of Lot 49 having nothing written about them, save for some snipes about them scrawled in anger by a fanatic who thinks that the English language died with Dickens. With few articles of any depth on buildings that are not public and fewer that are highly theoretical, it’s easy to understand that this might be tied to something about common knowledge and, uh, how people obsess over the canonicity of Star Wars novels rather than having jobs.
There is a divide between modern and traditional building styles, yes, but more importantly, there is a divide between buildings that require any technical knowledge of architecture. Even when people do write articles, they make incorrect assertions about things at the heart of architectural theory. Did you know that the curtainwall is structural on the Lever House? Neither did I – or the engineer for that matter.
So why is it that I was the one who had to (was lucky to) add these? Architects lead busy lives, perhaps, so making the time to put quality into what is essentially a thankless job. But the opportunity to actually offer some information in layman’s terms is a way to make architecture accessible to people in a way that’s more than just a superficial judgement of prettiness. Architects are generally wrongheaded in our aim to make people live in buildings they do not understand. Of course they hate them.