One of the most gratifying privileges of the essayist is that of expressing opinions on subjects he doesn't know much about. I have long been puzzled by the cult of functionalism when carried to the point where it despises as superficial ornament everything not serving the immediate purpose of shelter, comfort, convenience and so forth. Has any architecture that took itself seriously as art as well as utility ever before our time been in this sense purely functional? I grant in a pinch that Gothic ornamentation like that atop the old Woolworth building seems somewhat inappropriate, but I prefer even that to the glass box or the unadorned monolith. Even if the beautiful is always functional it does not follow that whatever is efficiently functional must be beautiful. I have looked at least casually at many buildings, including Thailand temples and Renaissance palaces, and except for a few fortresses and prisons I cannot remember a single impressive example anywhere of a beautiful building that was purely functional in design. Certainly if modern architecture in this functional monolithic style does not imply anything about the ideals and opinions and intentions of our society, then it is unique in this respect. Surely there is some connection between the open-air grace of the Greek temple and the Greek's aspiration toward a mental and emotional life that sought inner peace. No less certainly the Gothic expressed both the medieval sense of darkness of this life and the promise of another one, while, at the same time, its ornaments found a place for both pious legends embodying the dark superstitions that haunted it. What style of the past does the monolithic and functional seem most to resemble? Not that of Greek and Rome but of functional pyramids of Rome and the Yucatan. And from the very little I know about the Mayans and the Aztecs (who have been called the Nazis of pre-Columbian America) their societies were also totalitarian, so little convinced of the importance of the individual man that ten thousand were offered as human sacrifices. Modern buildings express the totalitarian idea in a variety of ways including the scorn of anything that suggests either the joyful or the affectionate. They deny that beauty can ever by its own excuse for being, and they also, of course, remind the individual that he counts for nothing in contrast with the State- whose monolithic power is symbolized by the grim monolithic structures