The Dehumanization of Architecture

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Modern buildings do not easily harmonize with other buildings, regardless of whether the latter are also modern. This often-observed fact has not received a satisfactory explanation. To improve on existing explanations, this article generalizes one of Ortega y Gasset’s observations concerning modern fine art and then develops a metaphysics of styles that is inspired by work in the philosophy of biology. The resulting explanation is that modern architecture is incapable of developing patterns that facilitate harmonizing because such patterns would humanize buildings, and modern architecture is a homeostatic property cluster with a dehumanizing motive at its core.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-28
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Aesthetic Education
Issue number4
Early online date3 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Versions of this article were presented at the “Public Space: The Real and the Ideal” conference, Monte Verità, Switzerland, July 2–5, 2021, and at the Scottish Aesthetics Forum, November 18, 2021. Thanks to audience members and to Paisley Livingston, Glenn Parsons, Henri Tung, and the editor of this journal for helpful comments.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.


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  • The dehumanization of architecture

    DE CLERCQ, R., 4 Jul 2021.

    Research output: Other Conference ContributionsConference Paper (other)Researchpeer-review

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