The New Palladians’ outlook has the determination, radicalismand boldness to further enhance this potential of emulation andcomplexity; it is much more relaxed, conﬁdent and creative inhandling and assimilating a positively enriching dialectic betweenclassical and vernacular traditions. Additionally there is anotherpotential that New Palladians are entrusted and empowered with:the integration of urbanism and architecture in a new, contemporaryculture of building. The synthesis resulting from the combinedcomplexity, ecology and intelligence of the traditional city with theclassical and the vernacular represents an effective, sustainable andessential new paradigm for the architecture of the 21st century. It isgenuinely articulating a new culture of building in a sophisticated,coherent, intelligible language based on solid linguistic andsemiological tectonics.
This new approach throws up a paradox. Nowadays what isexpected from whoever engages with any language of architecture, isthis constant thrust to come up with new ideas, new forms, ‘novelty’rather than ‘newness’, and every concept has to be invented fromscratch. When we talk about Palladio being inﬂuenced by Gothicarchitecture or local vernacular, at best that seems surprising tous as 21st-century architects; at worst it brings accusations ofplagiarism and pastiche. But when you work within a tradition,whatever has gone before forms the building blocks of the presentso reinvention is not the revolutionary, avant-garde ideology thatModernism instilled in the psyche of 20th-century architects.Nowadays reinvention has become the
and self-referential. Revivalism has become a self-fulﬁlling and repetitivephilosophy, regardless of whether it is the revival of 1960s Brutalistarchitecture, 1970s Kitsch or the New Corbusians models. Thisis something almost endemic and I think, we as Classicists andTraditionalists are not immune to this, however, we see reinventionin a much more organic way and quintessential to the progress anddevelopment of the classical language. For me Palladio, in a sense,is a ﬁnger pointing at the moon – if you concentrate on the ﬁnger, youmiss the essence of his genius. Otto Wagner, Karl Friedrich Schinkel,John Soane, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux and all those who pushedthe boundaries and made the quantum leap in the development ofarchitectural language display the same characteristics. Palladioshould be evaluated in terms of the way he reassessed antiquity,the Renaissance, the regional and local vernacular and their mutualinﬂuence on the classical, and how free and mature his oeuvre is ininvention, composition and construction. His interest in reinventionis, for me, clearly very important to our age because we have cometo a very crucial point in the development of classical architecturewhere as a pure style or as an anti-style, it has found an organicrelationship with other strands that drive and connect it with society.Classicism has found a new frontier in ecology, environmentalismand tectonics, supporting, enriching and evolving its languageholistically. Traditional architecture in the form we experience todayemerged from an ideological struggle between the Modernists andPost-modernists in the early 1980s; so by reconnecting to the reasonand essence of tectonics, by adopting an agenda of environmentalstewardship and an organic understanding of the universe, of nature,of human culture, economy and society, it has the opportunity toonce again become a whole language that communicates humanely,meaningfully, intelligently and intelligibly. An architectural languageof that nature and magnitude withstands the critique of being ashallow catalyst of style or novelty.
I would like to add this is also why this language has foundsubstantial support from science. Nikos Salingaros and otherexponents of New Science have uncovered far more scientiﬁcconsistence and intrinsic complexity in the works of New Palladiansthan in the sensationalist production of Deconstructivism andModernism after studying and comparing thoroughly traditional andModernist buildings.They have indeed researched upon and found that complexityand fractal qualities are far more intense and rich in classical,traditional cities and buildings than in Modernist ones. Modernistbuildings seem stagnant, dead and rigid despite incredible effortsof distortion and animation, collision, contrast and conﬂict, theyremain boring and dull, confusing and alienating, and surprisinglywithin this fanatic ideology of deconstruction and fragmentation,often they look quite the same. They obviously lack the sensitivity,complexity and fractal richness of traditional architecture. Theexcitement, complexity and fun professed by Modernism are mostlydepressing, forced, provocative, disturbing, transgressive or chaotic.It is a fragmentation of a superﬁcial, decorative and graphical nature.It is often an offence to good taste, comfort and well-being, notexpressing the high degree of sophistication, order, complexity andlife encompassed in fractal structures.Besides the more theoretical discussions of New Science,New Architecture and New Urbanism (see www.katarxis3.com) weshould also refer to some hard scientiﬁc facts in the context of worldpopulation, environmental problems, climate change and globalwarming, as well as to recent economic and social phenomena.The failure of a ruthless and irresponsible economic and production