"Here are my rules. What can be done with one substance must never be done with another. No two materials are alike. No two sites on earth are alike. No two buildings have the same purpose.... A building is alive, like a man. Its integrity is to follow its own truth, its one single theme, and to serve its own single purpose."
That was Howard Roark, the revered fictional hero of Ayn Rand’s 1943 book The Fountainhead, on what he believed to be the true spirit of architecture. But look around the great mass of concrete around you today and you wonder if somebody, anybody, took that worthy quote seriously? Modernity, it is touted ad nauseam, has claimed many a victim. Is architecture one of them?
Why is it that all the public architecture we marvel at in our cities—palaces, forts, temples, mosques, public gardens, havelis, stupas, lakes—are all either built by the British, the Mughals or other pre-modern dynasties and kingdoms?