St. Louis Arch

Modern architecture crystalized at the moment that people realized that the older modes of symbolism no longer spoke to modern man; and that, on the contrary, the new functions brought in by the machine had something special to say to him. Unfortunately, in the act of realizing these new truths, mechanical function has tended to absorb expression, or in more fanatical minds, to do away the need for it. As a result, the architectural imagination has, within the last twenty years, become impoverished: so much so that the recent prize-winning design for a great memorial, produced by one of the most accomplished and able of the younger architects, was simply a giant parabolic arch. If technics itself could not, by itself, tell the story of the pioneer, moving through the gateway of the continent, the story could not, in the architectural terms of our own day, be told.

Lewis Mumford, Art and Technics (114)