Architectural modernism rejected the principles that had guided those who built the great cities of Europe. It rejected all attempts to adapt the language of the past, whether Greek, Roman, or Gothic: it rejected the classical orders, columns, architraves, and moldings; it rejected the street as the primary public space and the facade as the public aspect of a building. Modernism rejected all this not because it had any well-thought-out alternative but because it was intent on overthrowing the social order that these things represented—the order of the bourgeois city as a place of commerce, domesticity, ambition, and the common pursuit of style.
Modernism in architecture was more a social than an aesthetic project. Le Corbusier, the Russian constructivists, and Hannes Meyer when director of the Bauhaus claimed to be architectural thinkers: but the paltriness of what they said about architecture (compared with what had been said by the Gothic and classical revivalists, for example) reveals this claim to be empty. They were social and political activists who wished to squeeze the disorderly human material that constitutes a city into a socialist straitjacket. Architecture, for them, was one part of a new and all-comprehending system of control. (...)
After Modernism, Roger Scruton