But controversial academic praises ‘precious’ Mies and Le Corbusier villas

Scruton’s Berggruen Institute essay can be read here.

Roger Scruton has published a strongly worded critique of 20th-century housing trends as work on the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission that he co-chairs heads towards its final stages.

In particular, Scruton blames the impact of post-war, large-scale housing schemes and city-centre redevelopment inspired by the “international style” of Bauhaus and Le Corbusier for driving public opposition to new development.

In an essay commissioned by US-based think-tank the Berggruen Institute, Scruton expresses admiration for “precious” villas created by Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier – but laments the way international style manifested itself in the UK1.

Scruton writes nothing about his involvement with the government-sponsored Building Beautiful Commission, from which he was sacked earlier this year, only to be reinstated three months later by an apologetic then-housing secretary James Brokenshire.


The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission published an interim report in July – consultation feedback on which is being accepted until October 4. It is due to publish its final report by the end of the year. 

  • 1. He said that while the “experimental style” of Le Corbusier and the Bauhaus came to be seen as the way to provide the many hundreds of thousands of homes that were needed after the Second World War, the international style lost its way by the time it was widely adopted in the UK.“By then the style had degenerated,” Scruton said. “It had forgotten the precious villas of Mies and Le Corbusier or the humane housing projects of Oud and Teige.