Scruton presents Krier’s architectural proposal as an antidote to modernist architectures, trying to “extract” the general principles of a healthy architecture, as reflected in the history of Europe. Here are select excerpts from Scruton’s, Cities for Living (City Journal), which you can combine with Scruton’s, Architecture needs a grammar.
Scruton rightly traces the origin of the European city in Ancient Greece, but he tends to forget that the buildings, types and logic he admires were developed in the Middle Ages, in the Christian Europe. In ancient Greece too religion was the ground of common life. Only in the Hellenistic cities after Alexander the religious bond was really weakened, already declined in Greece – a weakening that made possible Alexander’s very exodus to the East. This ‘interval’ between ancient Greek religion and Christianity, a period irrelevant with the concept of ancient City, created the city as just a common abode.
After the christening of Hellenism the ancient city reappears transformed by the new religion. Anyone who admires the European city, needs to recognize by thinking its historical course, that this city cannot be a place where people will be united only by “social networks, economic cooperation, and friendly competition through sports and festivals”! We like it or not, European Union needs Christianity. If we deny this future for Europe, we cannot in the same time dream of and fight for an architecture that will be European, unless we are ready to abandon all contact with reality. Cf. Scruton’s books.
Roger Scruton, Modernist buildings exclude dialogue
The city, as we have inherited it from the ancient Greeks, is both an institution and a way of life, one coterminous with the civilization of Europe.