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Are architects becoming lazy?

Designs today seem inferior to 1920s revival styles

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In 19th century America, the only way an architect could view historic architecture was to go see it firsthand (usually on another continent), or else find engravings of it in books. Because architects of the era were much less likely to travel than their modern counterparts, engravings ended up being their usual reference. Mind you, the engraver unavoidably put his or her own spin on the thing they were illustrating, and this subjectivity, along with a frequent lack of historic context, made it hard for architects to get a real grasp of historic styles -- one reason for the almost cartoonish nature of so much Victorian architecture. All this changed in the 1890s with the introduction of the halftone process, which used thousands of tiny, variously sized dots to reproduce the full tonal range of actual photographs. For the first time, photos could be faithfully reproduced in mass publications such as magazines and newspapers, without the subjective distortions of the engrav...