Reconstructing Architecture for the Twenty-First Century: An Inquiry into the Architect's World


224 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-8020-7584-3
DDC 720




Reviewed by James A. Love

James A. Love is an associate professor of environmental design at the
University of



In his earlier publications, The Democratization of Canadian
Architecture and The Future of Canadian Architecture, Anthony Jackson
argued that architecture would serve Canadians best if it were designed
to support their everyday lives in personally meaningful terms. In this
book, he maintains that architects are trained to serve elitist
aesthetic ends rather than to create environments meaningful to the
general population.

Although Jackson’s arguments are clearly stated and carefully
documented, his advocacy of participatory design (i.e., having the
population at large contribute to compositions) as a remedy fails to
consider conflicting preferences on the part of the public and other
factors that might preclude effective public participation in design.
That builders who are not part of the art world “elite” have
produced structures that fail to appeal to the general population, while
architects such as Duany and Plater-Zyberg have designed communities
that have been enormously popular, is also not acknowledged by Jackson.
The subject of architects’ and laypersons’ visual preferences has
been studied by such scholars as Linda Groat, who has found that the
work of some architects appeals to both, and Brent Brolin, who has
provided an insightful analysis of contextual “fit.” Jackson has
neglected these significant sources to the detriment of his overall


Jackson, Anthony., “Reconstructing Architecture for the Twenty-First Century: An Inquiry into the Architect's World,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 17, 2024,