So why did those new styles die out, and modern crap take over?
What happened? Other than the obvious, that somewhere along the line, artists and architects lost their visions…
They didn’t. The book that covers this is Here’s the Deal. It talks about the economics of raising modernist glass boxes at the preferred housing form in Chicago. You could make a LOT of money if you didn’t have to clad your building in expensive brick or stone and pay bricklayers or stonemasons.
There’s a second book to read: J H Kunstler’s The Geography of Nowhere. The modernists, including the execrable Bauhaus, were disdained by both the Nazis and the Stalinists. Ergo, modernism is opposed by the two major tyrannies of the age, and so is anti-totalitarian. It was a neat trick to pull off. Except: Hitler trained as an artist. Just because he was a mass-murdering megalomaniac doesn’t mean that his artistic sense was off. He did, after all, love Wagner.
In a nutshell: “anti-fascism” has served as cover for the crony capitalists to put up crappy, energy-inefficient glass boxes that have no adornment. Public beauty is privatized for profit.
Kunstler also has an interesting idea, relevant to Patriarchy. The US victory in WW2 was such an achievement for men that they used a benighted unbenevolent dictator attitude everywhere. Their “father knows best” doctors inoculated and circumcised their way through a generation. They abandoned walkable cities for isolated suburbs, because women like Catherine Beecher, a spinster, imagined that women wanted little private houses with gardens. They built rectilinear buildings with no natural elements (brick, stone) and no curvy parts like arches, part of the Western architectural vernacular for thousands of years; in other words, modernism is male triumphalism made literally concrete. There is no feminine element in modernist buildings, and the alienating metal and glass extend a middle finger to the “woman” we used to call “Mother Nature.”
Women prefer to live in communities, not isolated on little islands where each is disconnected from the other and has to “row” a car to get to shared space; this, I believe, is what created the “problem with no name” of Betty Friedan. Lord forgive me for writing this, but the feminist movement, reacting against this antisocial modernist movement, was actually a GOOD THING in pointing out its failures. The fact that we were moving to a pyramid-structured society meant that feminism did not restore community, but was used by Apex Alphas to secure access to young, hot, fertile women, and deny most lower-on-the-hierarchy men wives (recall: you cannot turn a whore into a housewife.)
Modernism is the pathological, “Aloof Asshole” Alpha mentality, displayed in built form.