There has been no ceremony to mark the passing of Postmodernism in architecture, but its tombstones are all around us. You can tell it’s had better days when you see those paste-on Doric columns and pink stucco arches on small-town banks and highway rest-stops.

But the demise of PM should not put anyone off the value of the Classical sources that its most commercial practitioners annexed with often cynical abandon. If anything, the collapse of the movement should make the enduring freshness of the authentic Classical principles on which it was so loosely based even more inviting.

Robert Adam’s Classical Architecture: A Comprehensive Handbook to the Tradition of Classical Style, which was published in Britain last year by Viking and has been reissued in this country by Abrams, should be a cause for celebration among those who are hoping to hack their way back to...


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