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  #121  
Old Posted Jan 23, 2010, 2:47 AM
Vitae Vitae is offline
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Yes, I think that you are right there. The state of craftsmanship is not what it was before the Great Depression but sculptors abound and would love to work in architectural settings. If architects once again commissioned sculptors and ornamental sculptors, the art would come back. They have gone away to the extent that architects have ignored them and would reemerge if given work.
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  #122  
Old Posted Mar 28, 2012, 12:43 AM
LoverOfBuildings LoverOfBuildings is offline
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Hey all, this is my first post, and a rather long one, but I just wanted to fully explain myself. I had stumbled across this thread through some Googling, and thought I should share some opinions. I know this is a two year-old thread, but better to revive it then start a brand-new one I figure. I wanted to make a few points about classical architecture, modernist, and contemporary architecture that I don't think were made. Regarding classical architecture, one of the arguments I've seen made is that we should no longer build in any of the classical styles because they utilized construction techniques of the past and thus building a modern version of such a building would be "fake" (some even deride it as "Disney-esque"). The thing is though, reviving classical architectural styles doesn't mean building them exactly as they were previously. Hence the different revival styles of architecture. For example, look at Palladio and how Greek and Roman architecture were revived during the Renaissance. I doubt they used the exact same construction techniques then that were used in ancient Greece and Rome. Or even America's classical architecture that we built throughout the various state capitols and in Washington, D.C. This isn't architecture designed and built exactly as the Greeks and Romans did it, it is a revivalist form of architecture, inspired a good deal by Thomas Jefferson, who himself was inspired by architects like Palladio. There is also a separate architectural movement called Greek Revival that was adopted by many European nations.

But no one would call such classical architecture "fake" or "Disney-esque." How is it that building a classical structure in the 1700s or 1800s was okay, but to build such a structure in modern times would be "fake?" The classical structures built in those days also, in addition to using some different construction, also were not colored in the way the Greeks built their architecture, as the Greek architecture was brightly-colored and would look very odd by modern standards, as such architecture today is always built in a grey or white color. Or look at Gothic Revival architecture. For example, London's Royal Courts of Justice, which are built in Gothic Revival style in 1866. No one would call that building "fake" however. So constructing a classical building in modern times I think is fine. A classical building need not adhere 100% to the original in terms of construction, it can be a revivalist style, basically a way of reviving a classical form of architecture but in contemporary times with contemporary construction methods.

My second point regards modernism and contemporary architecture, but also ties into classical. Some have said we shouldn't design in classical anymore because classical is of the past and we have to advance the art of architecture as time goes on. Well I agree with the advancing of it, but the problem is that with architecture, this whole argument kind of falls apart. Because in the early 20th century, the architecture profession literally threw out all the prior building knowledge and started over again from scratch. Yes, they had modern materials to use and modern construction and engineering, but in terms of actual architectural design, they were starting from scratch. And this resulted in some of the most insane (and impractical) structures ever created (a great irony here is that at the time, many derided the classical architecture as being just "decorated shelter" and not being functional at all, when in reality it was much of the modern architecture that wasn't functional and the classical designs that were designed with people in mind). Many of these buildings were not progress at all, they were a step backwards. It would be like the cooking profession disregarding the prior few thousand years of cooking knowledge that has been built up and then, using modern appliances, creating let's say Lawn In A Bowl. Lawn In A Bowl is hailed as "new" and "modern" cooking as opposed to the "old" ways of cooking (sophisticated cuisines, salads, breads, meats, etc...). This is essentially what happened with architecture. Yes, on paper the architects claimed they were designing buildings based on principles of classical architecture, but in terms of the actual designs, but the actual buildings were nothing like what had come before.

Now to throw out all the prior knowledge and start over in any profession would be considered insanity, as its impossible to advance the profession otherwise, but in contemporary architecture and art even, this is the norm it seems. We had Greek law, Roman law, then English law, and modern American and European law. Modern law is the culmination of thousands of years of building on what came before. Same with modern medical science, or any science. Same with modern cooking and baking. Or modern engineering that allows the construction of many of these contemporary buildings. It is the culmination of thousands of years of constant development in construction and engineering knowledge. Or music! Imagine if all that knowledge had been tossed out the window, how music would sound. Mozart didn't compose his music straight off the top of his head, he was learned in the knowledge of music tha had been built up and developed over hundreds of years. It has been said that architecture is frozen music. Well imagine music if all the knowledge of music was thrown out. How would it sound? Like an auditory version of much of contemporary architecture. All of these arts and professions are the culmination of centuries of refinement and development. Architecture was the same way up until the early 20th century. It was the culmination of thousands of years of development. Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, then Gothic architecture, which evolved off of Roman architecture (such as the Roman basilica), then the revival of Greek and Roman architecture, and all the additional styles that developed. Had the architectural profession retained all this knowledge, and kept advancing it, but with new designs, and new materials, and new construction techniques, we would have a true 20th century style (or set of styles) of architecture that would be very modern (for their time) but traceable in their origins to the architecture that had come beforehand.

And now we would be developing a true 21st century architecture, built off of the 20th. But instead, we really have no styles of architecture from the 20th century. There is modernism, which was oftentimes (although not always) very inhuman and very impractical, and some different variants of it, but contemporary architecture as it is now is not any advancement on modern architecture, it is really just anarchy when you look at it. For example, the Guggenheim Museum or the Sydney Opera House. There is no architectural style to them that is derived from the thousands of years of prior architectural knowledge, they are just anarchy design-wise (at least on the exterior anyhow). This is fine for people who want it, but to call it progress it isn't. It's what happens when contemporary architects have no idea of the prior knowledge of architecture to work off of, so they just design whatever comes to mind. If one looks at all of the architectural styles of the past, almost all of them are beautiful and adhere to a disciplined way of design. But much contemporary design is nothing of the sort. It is hilarious-looking or hideously-ugly oftentimes and not even really structurally-sound. The only reason it gets built is because of modern engineering (if you see a contemporary structure that looks like it should fall over or collapse, then it really is prone to doing this, it's modern materials and construction that prevent it). The Sydney Opera House, for example, the engineers didn't even know how to build it at first (contemporary architecture is not necessarilly designed with cost or engineering in mind). Contemporary architecture which was legitimately cheap as opposed to an expensive classical design I could understand fine, but not expensive and hard-to-engineer contemporary designs that were more meant to satisfy the ego of the architect, irregardless of cost and engineering, and that were as costly ore moreso than classical designs (and BTW in this rant I am referring more to the exteriors, the actual shape and structure of the building, not the interiors; plenty of crazy-looking contemporary designs have good interiors).

Now an area of architecture where you will notice the above has not happened, where the contemporary designs are just as beautiful as the classical designs, is ship architecture. It could be a ship from Roman times to a ship from the British Empire at its height to a 19th century steamer to a modern yacht, they all are striking when done well. This is because modern ship architecture can be traced back to the ship architecture of the past. Ship architects did not take up hundreds or thousands of years worth of ship architectural knowledge, toss it out the window, and then start over. They just kept advancing it. Wooden sailing ships started having steam engines, then this gave way to constructing iron and steel ships, and then modern ships. Thus we have classical and contemporary styles of ship design, all of which can look very nice. Among yacht owners today, you find all of them, some people prefer classical designs while others prefer the sleek, contemporary designs. But all look nice. For another example with architecture, let's say you want to design an airport. Well a classical design won't do (a Gothic or Palladian airport?!). So you have to use a contemporary design. But then note that there are no real contemporary styles to use. The architect just sort of has to wing it and make the design from scratch. As long as contemporary architecture remains like this, it never really is going to advance any. It's like the cook or music composer who throws out all the prior thousands of years of food or music knowledge and starts over and then just keeps starting over and over again. No real progress in the art of food or music is made, it just is constant anarchy. I think that to truly advance architecture, the profession will need to learn all of the prior classical styles and basically take itself back to where it was at the start of the 20th century, before all the knowledge was tossed out, only now it has 21st century construction methods and materials to use now. It then needs to set about building off of and advancing that knowledge of architecture to truly advance the profession of architecture (just like the anarchist cook or music composer realizing that to truly advance food preparation or music, they'd need to first learn all the prior knowledge, then build upon it). Otherwise what is going to happen is the 21st century is going to pass and architecture is going to be just as wacky then, with no styles that are clean and disciplined and artful to show for it, as it is now.

I think that taking the classical knowledge and then building off of it, advancing it with newer designs, use of new materials, and so forth, could create some really spectacular designs, whose roots would be classical, but these would clearly be contemporary designs. And these designs would lead to the development of a new style of contemporary architecture, which would then lead to the creation of additional styles, and the profession and art would really advance. Right now, architecture is in a state where if aliens came down from space and took a look at everything from say Egyptian to Greek to Roman to Gothic to Palladian and so forth architecture, then you showed them the early 20th century modern architectures (like Brutalism or work by Corbusier), and buildings such as the Sydney Opera House and the Guggenheim, they'd say, "WHAT ON EARTH HAPPENED!?!"

Now I know some contemporary advocates will be ready to scream bloody murder after having read all the above and also some will point out that many people like buildings like the Sydney Opera House and some other contemporary designs. My point is let's just call such architecture for what it really is, a form of anarchistic design that sometimes people like, other times they often don't like, and not an advancement of the profession. Some people like abstract paintings or sculptures that are really just anarchy. Doesn't make them any advancement on the art of painting or anything. But some people like them a lot. One thing I am against is the strict classicists who want NO deviation from the designs of classicism at all. Those are like the opposite of the anarchists. Whereas the anarchists toss out all the knowledge and want no structure or discipline (at least regarding the exterior designs of the buildings), the strict classicists are Puritanical in their adherence ot tradition. But I mean, how exactly do they think those classical designs developed in the first place? People changing, deviating, and experimenting. Heck, look at some of the Russian designs, their architectures look like ice cream! So strict adherence to the classical designs would be bad as well. I think thus architecture, as an art form, should embrace anarchism (when done in a workable, practical manner and people like the design), strict classical designs (revival styles), and also taking the classical knowledge and advancing it ever further to create a truly 21st century style of architecture.
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  #123  
Old Posted Mar 28, 2012, 1:17 AM
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Hayward Hayward is offline
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A very good (long) first post. I think you generally make a good argument. For each type of architectural revival, there's always been some adaptation of style. classical columns became cladding over steel as opposed to load bearing...and of course translating that into the early 20th century skyscraper.

A point you missed (at least I think somewhere in there) is architects of the past were very convincing on how these older styles and practices were applied in modern construction. By modern...I mean within the last 100 years. The one change we've seen in the latter half of the 20th century are new materials that looks less like real stone or masonry and lends itself to that fake disneyesque look.

That said, the other big change is that these materials tend to be the cheapest to buy and put up. Mid-century modernism did introduce us to mass production of building products, but it maintained the finer materials in building construction. But new building industries continued to emerge. It seems nowadays it's all about cost. I think architects get lost debating what styles to use, or even what new building technologies to implement. It's okay for the sake of better architecture and environments. But it completely ignores the realities of economics which pretty much have the final say on design
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  #124  
Old Posted Mar 28, 2012, 7:07 AM
LoverOfBuildings LoverOfBuildings is offline
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Originally Posted by Hayward View Post
A very good (long) first post.
Thanks

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A point you missed (at least I think somewhere in there) is architects of the past were very convincing on how these older styles and practices were applied in modern construction. By modern...I mean within the last 100 years. The one change we've seen in the latter half of the 20th century are new materials that looks less like real stone or masonry and lends itself to that fake disneyesque look.
I agree that if one is going to do a contemporary building in a classical style, make sure to make it look real as opposed to fake. Don't create classical columns that are made out of fiberglass or whatnot. As an interesting sidenote, one of the most famous Disney buildings, the sleeping beauty castle, is based off of the real castle, Neuschwanstein, located in Germany and built by Ludwig II of Bavaria.

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That said, the other big change is that these materials tend to be the cheapest to buy and put up. Mid-century modernism did introduce us to mass production of building products, but it maintained the finer materials in building construction. But new building industries continued to emerge. It seems nowadays it's all about cost. I think architects get lost debating what styles to use, or even what new building technologies to implement. It's okay for the sake of better architecture and environments. But it completely ignores the realities of economics which pretty much have the final say on design
Do economics really have the final say though? For example I know some Frank Gehry buildings are very costly to construct, but they like to build them because he is supposedly a great architect (I don't necessarilly agree with that view). But I mean if economics were the consideration, quite a few contemporary buildings probably would never have been built. I think it probably depends on who's paying and who the architect is.
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  #125  
Old Posted Mar 28, 2012, 3:40 PM
Nowhereman1280 Nowhereman1280 is offline
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^^^ There is a reason why Gehry is stuck designing almost nothing but public projects (with the obvious exception of his tower in NYC which is relatively tame for a Gehry). His style is simply not practically applicable in 99% of cases and that's why he's always assigned projects where there is some huge budget for the architecture. Even in his NYC tower the reason he got the commission was only because his fame made it a big selling point to lot's of snobby rich people, even then it would not have been possible if he really went "all out" on the design.
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  #126  
Old Posted Mar 28, 2012, 8:01 PM
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I think one problem with the view of "traditional" architecture is that it clumps a lot of unrelated architecture movements under one big umbrella of traditional architecture.

Even though most of the architecture that is today considered traditional was not considered traditional when it was built. For example, the Amsterdam Commodities Exchange, and the Guaranty Building are both modernism.


Canadian Pacific



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And when many of the architectures that are considered traditional are completely opposed to one another.

For example, classical architecture and baroque architecture both use a similar visual vocabulary but they're completely opposed to each other. One is rational and universal and restrained. The other is highly emotional and subjective and personal and flamboyant. Baroque is to classical as Frank Ghery is to Mies van der Rohe. Totally unrelated and opposed, even though they use a similar visual vocabulary (glass and metal, or columns and cornices).


Architecture before modernism was diverse and constantly changing, just like it does today. Different groups of people had new ideas and every generation architecture would change and react and evolve.

In other words, there are no definitions of traditional architecture which both: understands and respects the architecture itself, and includes all the different architecture that you want to.

I think the same is also somewhat true for modernism as well. There are actually a bunch of different modernisms (purism, de stijle, chicago school, rationalism, prairie school, new brutalism, futurism, and too many more to list) and many of them are explicitly opposed to each other. I say "somewhat true" for modernism because I think that even though there are so many different and frequently opposing ideas, there are still some common ideas that can reasonably unite them under one definition. But "modernism" isn't a very useful term if we're to really understand what's been going on with architecture for the last 100-150 years.



The argument about money and practicality is really silly imo. The sydney opera house is bad because it costs extra money to figure out the engineering, but those cathedrals are great because they're obviously very cost effective, and totally weren't frequently collapsing and getting rebuilt during construction as they figured out the engineering, right? And the palace of versailles totally isn't an expensive ego project. And I'm sure that the tiny little non-designed wood framed buildings that normal people spent their entire lives living and working in were very cost effective, but I don't think that's the kind of architecture that you're talking about, lol
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  #127  
Old Posted Mar 28, 2012, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 View Post
^^^ There is a reason why Gehry is stuck designing almost nothing but public projects (with the obvious exception of his tower in NYC which is relatively tame for a Gehry). His style is simply not practically applicable in 99% of cases and that's why he's always assigned projects where there is some huge budget for the architecture. Even in his NYC tower the reason he got the commission was only because his fame made it a big selling point to lot's of snobby rich people, even then it would not have been possible if he really went "all out" on the design.
The bulk of Gehry's commissions are private.
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  #128  
Old Posted Mar 29, 2012, 4:24 AM
LoverOfBuildings LoverOfBuildings is offline
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Architecture before modernism was diverse and constantly changing, just like it does today. Different groups of people had new ideas and every generation architecture would change and react and evolve.

In other words, there are no definitions of traditional architecture which both: understands and respects the architecture itself, and includes all the different architecture that you want to.
Well by "traditional" architecture, I would think of it as being all evolved from the same roots. Baroque, Gothic, Palladian, etc...all share the same roots, even though they were different movements. They were ways in which architecture was taken in new directions.

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The argument about money and practicality is really silly imo. The sydney opera house is bad because it costs extra money to figure out the engineering, but those cathedrals are great because they're obviously very cost effective, and totally weren't frequently collapsing and getting rebuilt during construction as they figured out the engineering, right?
The thing though is that the great cathedrals were not being built using taxpayer money with a democratic government, the Church was building them, so the people didn't necessarilly have a say. Although great works of architecture, I would agree that if they didn't know how to engineer them at the time, it was probably not wise to construct them. I can understand an architect coming up with a design, everyone acknowledging it's experimental, and then seeing if it can be built, what I don't like is if an architect pays little to no real attention to the engineering or cost and just creates their design and then expects the engineers to figure out how to construct it and the clients how to finance it. The architect should take those things into consideration I think and tell the clients, "Just so you're aware, these aspects of the building will likely be difficult and costly to construct."

The other thing is that one of the arguments oftentimes heard for using a contemporary or modern architectural design is that it is too costly to use a classical or traditional design, precisely because so many of the classical or traditional forms of architecture were concocted under circumstances where cost wasn't really the issue whereas in modern times it is. But if the contemporary/modern design itself is also very costly, then that negates much of that argument.

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And the palace of versailles totally isn't an expensive ego project.
No argument there! That was a TITANIC ego project! Built by a man who had absolute power though (and he built it so as to maintain his power, so that he could house his whole government around him so as to keep tabs on them).

Last edited by LoverOfBuildings; Mar 29, 2012 at 5:07 AM.
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  #129  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2012, 4:50 AM
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So basically for something to be traditional architecture it needs to be part of a long spanning, continuous evolution?


Let's just say that western architecture started with Greek architecture. Greek architecture was adapted and heavily changed by the romans. That evolved into the various post/late-roman architectures (romanesque, byzantine) which evolved into gothic.

That's continuous, but I think you're undervaluing how drastic the changes were. The types of spaces made, the way structure was articulated, the purpose, the scale, the massing, and everything was super different, even just from Greek to Roman. Even today you just have to glance at a building to tell if it's Roman or Greek, and if you had shown a Greek the future Roman buildings, they would probably think they were really weird.

But those are just the physical changes, and while those changes were big, they were driven by even bigger cultural changes. could you imagine living in western europe with all of your roman buildings and all of a sudden all of these middle eastern looking buildings start getting built, with all kinds of weird pointy vaults and black and white stripes. Isn't that radical? It's continuous because the cultures hit each other and impacted one another and then continued evolving. But if you went back then I doubt you could find anyone who thought that byzantine architecture was traditional.

I guess the point I'm trying to make with all that is that the development of architecture during that time was continuous, but some of the evolutions were more radical than the others.


But anyway, aside from that, what happens after gothic architecture? Well stuff happens but most of the knowledge of the past is forgotten. Continuity is broken. Neoclassical obviously isn't an evolution from gothic, it skips all of those evolutions and goes straight back to rome and greece. But it knows so little about the architecture that they didn't even know those buildings were originally colorfully painted, and when they found out, they didn't care and kept on making unpainted stone buildings anyway.

If it's really an issue of continuity, shouldn't neoclassical architecture be disregarded? Shouldn't they have picked up on gothic architecture, and continued evolving that? And if it's about continuity, shouldn't they have started painting their buildings when they found out that's what they were supposed to look like?


And if it's an issue of continuity at all, then how does modernism fit in? The ideas and themes of modernism began at least in the 1700s, became more intense and explicit in the late 1800s, and became mainstream in the early 1900s. All along they have been evolving and responding to each other. So if you want to continue an active tradition, isn't modernism the right choice, since it's alive and well over a hundred years old? Or do you pick up at the tradition that ended at gothic, which died in the middle ages?


And aside from that, you have to consider why architecture is the way it is, and what causes evolution to take place. Are changes in architecture responses to historical events? You might consider each time to have a unique and special set of circumstances (culture, technology, politics, economics, war, etc.), "a spirit of the times" but then you think the same thing as Mies van der Rohe and you're brought back to modernism.

If you believe in things like "roots" and "evolution" in architecture that implies that time and history are linear, and moves forward. If the history of architecture is like a tree, doesn't that mean that the present are the leaves? And doesn't that mean ancient greece is somewhere underground?



The issue of "traditional" architecture is complicated and it brings up a lot of questions. And maybe some people have been able to find satisfying answers, but I haven't. Every way you look at old architecture, it points to new architecture today. I think old architecture is something we need to appreciate, and understand, and learn from, but it's from its own time and place, is stuck there in any meaningful way, and we need to build in the present.

I think the only way that "traditional" architecture can be the right thing to build, is if you reject that architecture has any meaning, and believe that it's exclusively an issue of style.
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  #130  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2012, 12:00 PM
LoverOfBuildings LoverOfBuildings is offline
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Originally Posted by Jasoncw View Post
So basically for something to be traditional architecture it needs to be part of a long spanning, continuous evolution?


Let's just say that western architecture started with Greek architecture. Greek architecture was adapted and heavily changed by the romans. That evolved into the various post/late-roman architectures (romanesque, byzantine) which evolved into gothic.

That's continuous, but I think you're undervaluing how drastic the changes were. The types of spaces made, the way structure was articulated, the purpose, the scale, the massing, and everything was super different, even just from Greek to Roman. Even today you just have to glance at a building to tell if it's Roman or Greek, and if you had shown a Greek the future Roman buildings, they would probably think they were really weird.

But those are just the physical changes, and while those changes were big, they were driven by even bigger cultural changes. could you imagine living in western europe with all of your roman buildings and all of a sudden all of these middle eastern looking buildings start getting built, with all kinds of weird pointy vaults and black and white stripes. Isn't that radical? It's continuous because the cultures hit each other and impacted one another and then continued evolving. But if you went back then I doubt you could find anyone who thought that byzantine architecture was traditional.

I guess the point I'm trying to make with all that is that the development of architecture during that time was continuous, but some of the evolutions were more radical than the others.
By "traditional" architecture, as said I am thinking of all the different types of architecture that can ultimately be traced back to Greek architecture. If you want to build a mansion and you say you want a traditional style for it, it will likely be in one of these past styles that evolved from the Greeks. Yes, you could do a Larry Ellison and build in a totally non-Western traditional style that was not evolved from the Greeks, such as a Japanese-style home (which he built), but usually it will be in one of the ones originating from Greece.

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But anyway, aside from that, what happens after gothic architecture? Well stuff happens but most of the knowledge of the past is forgotten. Continuity is broken. Neoclassical obviously isn't an evolution from gothic, it skips all of those evolutions and goes straight back to rome and greece. But it knows so little about the architecture that they didn't even know those buildings were originally colorfully painted, and when they found out, they didn't care and kept on making unpainted stone buildings anyway.

If it's really an issue of continuity, shouldn't neoclassical architecture be disregarded? Shouldn't they have picked up on gothic architecture, and continued evolving that? And if it's about continuity, shouldn't they have started painting their buildings when they found out that's what they were supposed to look like?
Gothic was religious architecture, and much of the Renaissance was about reason and intellect, re-adopting classical learning, and a rejection of formal religion. The architecture of Greece and Rome was seen as not being religious and as being more "reasoned" then the Gothic architecture. So we saw the gradual rejection of Gothic architecture and the re-adopting of the architecture of Greece and Rome. Continuinity need not mean they have to paint the buildings, it just means that one style evolves, due to cultural changes and also just experimentation, into new styles.

Regarding moving from Gothic to Neoclassical, well it was a step backwards to a degree, but not backwards in the sense of going to an inferior form of architecture, just backwards in the sense of reverting to an older, very revered, form of architecture, and then advancing that form even further.

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And if it's an issue of continuity at all, then how does modernism fit in? The ideas and themes of modernism began at least in the 1700s, became more intense and explicit in the late 1800s, and became mainstream in the early 1900s. All along they have been evolving and responding to each other. So if you want to continue an active tradition, isn't modernism the right choice, since it's alive and well over a hundred years old? Or do you pick up at the tradition that ended at gothic, which died in the middle ages?
If you mean modernism as a philosophy and applying it to architecture, I could see that, but that would mean building off of the previous centuries of architectural knowledge. Instead, it was applied by tossing out all that knowledge and starting over. It would be like applying modernism to the building of ships, and to do so, tossing out all knowledge humankind had built up over the centuries on how to construct ships. We needn't do that to create modern ships.

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And aside from that, you have to consider why architecture is the way it is, and what causes evolution to take place. Are changes in architecture responses to historical events? You might consider each time to have a unique and special set of circumstances (culture, technology, politics, economics, war, etc.), "a spirit of the times" but then you think the same thing as Mies van der Rohe and you're brought back to modernism.
Changes in architecture can definitely be due to cutural events but that doesn't mean rejecting the past knowledge, just that when times demand change, you build off of it and go in different directions. For example with clothing, the three-piece suit is a timeless classic. But the two-piece suit is the norm, and it came aobut because during World War II, there was a shortage of the fabrics needed for making suits, so they started making two-piece suits instead of three-piece. Today both are timely.

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If you believe in things like "roots" and "evolution" in architecture that implies that time and history are linear, and moves forward. If the history of architecture is like a tree, doesn't that mean that the present are the leaves? And doesn't that mean ancient greece is somewhere underground?
Nope, I'd say that the present state of architecture is that the tree that started with Greece grew and blossomed with lots of different branches, then was completely cut down and a new tree was planted. Except that this new tree wasn't really allowed to grow much, and new trees are constantly being planted today by architects.

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The issue of "traditional" architecture is complicated and it brings up a lot of questions. And maybe some people have been able to find satisfying answers, but I haven't. Every way you look at old architecture, it points to new architecture today. I think old architecture is something we need to appreciate, and understand, and learn from, but it's from its own time and place, is stuck there in any meaningful way, and we need to build in the present.
I think it depends what one is building for in the present. Some contemporary forms of building are very applicable (like steel and glass office buildings), but other forms of architecture are more like taking a step into the past, except with modern materials and construction methods available. It is often anarchy because such architects don't have any body of knowledge to work with or to build on. They're like someone trying to compose music for the present with no knowledge whatsoever of the body of knowledge humans have developed about music.

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I think the only way that "traditional" architecture can be the right thing to build, is if you reject that architecture has any meaning, and believe that it's exclusively an issue of style.
I think it's both. Depending on who is paying for it, one may matter more than the other. Much of architecture is about style, but there also must be functionality to it as well. But if all architecture was about function as far as the exterior design went, then many contemporary buildings would never get built either.
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  #131  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2012, 1:45 PM
Nowhereman1280 Nowhereman1280 is offline
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The bulk of Gehry's commissions are private.
I'm not talking about the source of the funds, I'm talking about the type of building. That's why I said public project and not public commission...

Walt Disney Concert Hall
Pritzker Pavilion
Experience Music
Guggenheim Bilbao
etc...

When he does do anything that is not a public building it tends to be extremely understated because, frankly, the numbers simply don't work when you are actually trying to make a profit and not create an occupiable sculpture. As I mentioned, just look at the tower in NYC, it's got an entire side that has no wave effect at all, and this is NYC we are talking about which probably has the highest privately funded construction budgets in the world (obviously excluding the nutjob shieks in the Middle East who spend as much money as they want without regard to profit just like all of Ghery's public buildings).
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  #132  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2012, 1:59 PM
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Excellent posts, Jasoncw
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  #133  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2012, 5:47 PM
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Originally Posted by LoverOfBuildings View Post
Hey all, this is my first post, and a rather long one,...
Wow, okay... Well, before this whole thing turns into an illogical progression of unsubstantiated claims that hinge on a circular argument of personal bias rather than any kind of objective analysis of Modern Architecture, it seems as though you missed the very basic point of contention many Modernists (or whomever) have with current revivalist buildings. Simply, the tendency of MOST revivalist buildings is a general lack of craftsmanship, material quality, and detail. That is, apart from any idealogical dispute concerning styles of antiquity or reproduction in a general sense, a vast amount of buildings that are designed out of historic reverence are just poorly done. It has nothing to do with construction methods. It is an issue of quality. Who gives a shit how it's built. What's being criticized is what is built.

Also, irregardless is not a word.

Nothing further.
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  #134  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2012, 6:40 PM
Nowhereman1280 Nowhereman1280 is offline
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^^^ Tom I just read your signature as "there is subtle perversion in everything I do"...

Lol, I think that might be more accurate...
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  #135  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2012, 10:13 PM
LoverOfBuildings LoverOfBuildings is offline
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Originally Posted by Tom Servo View Post
Wow, okay... Well, before this whole thing turns into an illogical progression of unsubstantiated claims that hinge on a circular argument of personal bias rather than any kind of objective analysis of Modern Architecture, it seems as though you missed the very basic point of contention many Modernists (or whomever) have with current revivalist buildings. Simply, the tendency of MOST revivalist buildings is a general lack of craftsmanship, material quality, and detail. That is, apart from any idealogical dispute concerning styles of antiquity or reproduction in a general sense, a vast amount of buildings that are designed out of historic reverence are just poorly done. It has nothing to do with construction methods. It is an issue of quality. Who gives a shit how it's built. What's being criticized is what is built.
Which claims do you see as unsubstantiated? That the profession of architecture threw out most of the knowledge in the early 20th century is not an unsubstantiated claim, that's what they did. Modernism claims to have gotten certain guiding principles from classical architecture, but in terms of actually utilizing the knowledge and building off of it, it did no such thing. Most architecture students today are not required to undergo a rigorous learning of classical architecture before they can work on contemporary designs. That much of contemporary architecture today is pure anarchy also is not an unsubstantiated claim, that is what it is. Doesn't mean it's all bad, but that is what it is. And by anarchy, I mostly mean the exteriors of buildings, as most buildings have to have a functional interior (although a few buildings did have an unfunctional interior as well). Also, I thought I had made it clear that I do not like revivalist architecture that involves a lack of craftsmanship and use of poor materials.

I would disagree that many architects today have a problem with revivalist buildings solely because they are built lacking craftsmanship or with lousy materials. Many of them just do not like said architecture and do not want it to be built. Look at the hornet's nest Prince Charles stirred up in his criticism of many contemporary buildings for example.

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Also, irregardless is not a word.
Yep, thanks for the correction, using that "word" is a bad habit of mine.
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  #136  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2012, 4:05 AM
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as an architect, i have to say that i disagree with your post completely.

how many 'anarchy' buildings are being built in your city right now?...what percentage does that represent?

frank gehry type buildings do not represent that vast majority of modern architecture.

of the architectural history that has been disregarded in your opinion, what precisely do you want returned?....sculptural cornices?....corinthian columns?....

historic buildings looked like they did for a reason....do you want cars to look like the model T?...do you want paintings to look like the mona lisa?...why do you want architecture to look like a greek temple?

we dont make buildings by piling rocks on top of one another anymore....there is no reason that buildings should pretend they do.


edit: i should have just said refer to this thread...lots of good posts made.

Last edited by trueviking; Mar 31, 2012 at 4:16 AM.
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  #137  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2012, 7:34 AM
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Originally Posted by trueviking View Post

we dont make buildings by piling rocks on top of one another anymore....there is no reason that buildings should pretend they do.
LOL. Nice.
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