Douglas Haskell, “Architecture: The New School”

Category : Buildings

It must be that the New School for Social Research was designed for the up-to-date woman. It is bold just where she is bold. The flat painted walls inside, with their simple and assured tones of red, blue, and yellow, are hers, in strong contrast to the interiors of buildings done for her husband, which are either plain tame or else vulgar-gaudy like the lobby of the Daily News. The whole picture, outside as well as in, is uncompromisingly “new school,” where the man would have inclined to tone it down or fudge it up.

Consider, for a moment, how “modernism” entered the United States. It was certainly through the woman. First she bought smart new gowns from Poiret or Chanel, or at least the very best copies; then her couturiers over here began dressing their windows with cork and with bright new chromium furniture; eventually she herself’risked a bar, and then a dining room, and finally a whole large building in the new mode.

Source: The Nation (25 February 1931): 221-23

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