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  #41  
Old Posted Dec 22, 2017, 11:17 PM
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Le Corbusier deserves to be vilified, I'm sick of people coddling him.
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  #42  
Old Posted Dec 25, 2017, 6:47 PM
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Originally Posted by HomrQT View Post
The thing is you aren't disproving anything I've said. Yeah sure I could guess a handful of countries until I get the right one, which was most likely USA/Canada or Northwestern Europe because like I said before traditional architecture actually has a home.
Not disagreeing that modernism is borderless. As a counterpoint tho: the combined cultures you mention - North America and Northern Europe - contain around 7% of the people of the world. Encolpius posts an even broader example below - the greek temple facade, which exists in all of Europe, North and South America(at least!) - basically a regional style that some 1.5 billion people, or 20% of the world, can claim as "their own".

For me, regional would mean distinct to a single people(say Swedes) or even region(say Scania) to be relevant, and this tiny subgroup died out long before modern architecture came around(conversely, there IS Scanian modernism that the trained eye can pick out). The architects who designed many of those 19th century so-called "regional" beauties where equally happy to look abroad for inspiration as those of today, they were just lacking widespread photography...
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  #43  
Old Posted Dec 27, 2017, 12:47 AM
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It's like they were McDonalds franchises! Why isn't the door in the frontispiece? I'm sure there's a valid reason for it but it's hilarious that they built four of these and never figured out a way to make it symmetrical? All done in Italian Renaissance style, which is a style of architecture that just *screams* "you are in a place of learning in Ontario, Canada".
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  #44  
Old Posted Dec 27, 2017, 1:20 AM
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Originally Posted by photoLith View Post
For whatever reason, humanity largely stopped caring after WW2 about architecture, if you can even call 99 percent of buildings today architectural. Even cheap houses and buildings back before WW2 for the most part had some character or architectural merit.
Populism and democracy.

When a small elite held power in society, they could focus their energy and money (supported by education and taste) toward creating things of beauty.

Now we live in a much flatter society, which unfortunately has the nasty side effect of reducing all aspects of culture (from entertainment to architecture) to the lowest common denominator.

Communist countries were of course the purest demonstration of this, architecturally. Not only were the ubiquitous "commie blocks" ugly, but I believe they were intentionally so. Beautiful buildings are a bourgeois indulgence, of course.

There are implications for planning and the way cities develop eveywhere. For example, the debate here in the UK about building on greenbelt. Some forward-thinking aristocrats once decided that it was important to preserve open spaces and places of beauty for the common good. It was a bit paternalistic, perhaps, but for the better. Now people want housing, and any housing will do, even cheap mass produced houses or flats on cul-de-sacs, and anyone who argues against this on aesthetic grounds is being "elitist".
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  #45  
Old Posted Dec 27, 2017, 6:03 PM
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While I can get on board with many parts of the general message being conveyed (academic romance for brutalist abominations, fear of drawing negative attention, etc), there are some good reasons why things are no longer the way they are:

Skyscrapers - some people like them, some people like living in them or near downtowns, where property value is high. Have to create density to create value. Furthermore, you cannot just press the reset button, ban high rises, and ruin peoples' home and property values.

Ornaments - I like them, but it isn't easy to integrate them with modern tastes. But the real reason is... money. It's not a finite resource. Ornaments are expensive

Brick and stone? Costs tons of money. Intricate detail? Money. All these whimsical details? Time and money

Furthermore, labour. Extra fin masonry/painting isn't nearly as widely practiced and as such will catch a fierce premium on a large project.

A developer can quickly bankrupt a project or themselves if all these wishes are heeded.

However, there's no reason that all these state-sponsored projects should be as hideous as they are (such as the Boston City Hall), while you can bet that the government overpaid.


Yes, there are exceptions. Still, I empathize with the main point to some degree when it's illustrated through extremes like that Viennese museum, or that brutalist london alley and St Peter's Cathedral.
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  #46  
Old Posted Dec 27, 2017, 6:32 PM
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Originally Posted by aaron38 View Post
I saw plenty raw efficiency driving through China today for three hours. And for three hours, every time I looked out the window it was exactly the same. Eventually I stopped looking. Raw efficiency is not enough.

I agree that crazy for its own sake is no solution either. But at least crazy is different. Raw efficiency converges to one global design per construction material set.

But really I have three main complaints.
- The tower on podium
- The Jenga tower that is designed to look like it’s going to fall over.
- The mirror glass building, which I call negative architecture because it doesn’t really exist in the cityscape.
That's not raw efficiency, that's cheapness. There is a difference between a lavish, but efficient building and a box slapped together and cheaply as possible.

If you look at buildings in Chicago from the period of high modernism, they are almost universally detailed to a T. The way the steel seams overlap, the way welds are hidden, the way lines in Concrete and steel align. You can't look at buildings like this and tell me a city full of like structures woudn't be on par with Rome in her glory days:


thedaleycenter.com


som.com


wikipedia


These buildings were all built by people who cared about details. They were constructed at the hands of true craftsmen, people who learned the trades as the technologies were born. The problem we have today is that much less enlightened people love to glom onto these styles because you can make something that looks similar for next to nothing cost wise. The execution is not there either and the style loses all its appeal. It's not like the good old days when you could just round up a bunch of immigrant craftsmen and ask them to build you a building with basically no plans and it would still end up looking great because the one or two guys with actual skill showed up and carved a bunch of beautiful limestone details for the facade.

I have buildings where the the front facade is gorgeous, but you can tell one crew would show up to do the ornate side of the building and the goon squad built the rest. This building below is one I'm rehabbing and the front facade is literally perfect, everything is square, everything is hand carved or stamped terracotta, but you go and look at the common brick on the sides and it's clearly built by the numbnuts crew:



When you look at the brick on the side, it drops almost three full courses from where they started building on one side to the other, literally they dropped 8" out of level as they built around the building. You can even see where the crew that did the front facade compensated. This is very much the same problem we have today except the good crews work only on the most premium houses and the goon squad builds the rest of the buildings as quickly and shittily as possible. There is no more "use the good guys where it counts and have the cheap guys do the backside" in construction. It's now either you have a really great GC that is top notch or you use the cheapest possible labor. There is no more attention to detail, I've had to fire multiple subcontractors because they simply don't listen to directions, you tell them "don't grind the front facade" and what happens? They are grinding away at it 15 minutes later. You tell them "DO NOT DEMOLISH THE ORNAMENTAL WOODWORK AROUND THE DOORS". You come back a few hours later and they've ripped a huge chunk out. You can see that in the above picture, I made them dumpster dive all the parts back out of their trailer that they tore down and docked them two days of pay so I can have someone put that woodwork back together again. But that matters to me, it doesn't to most people. Obviously the demo crew looks at that crusty painted victorian woodwork and just assumes "that looks old and shitty, better rip it apart". There is no appreciation or understanding of craftsmanship anymore...
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  #47  
Old Posted Dec 28, 2017, 12:09 AM
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For a lot of buildings in my city, the bricks themselves were improperly fired because the brickworks employees didn't care. They turned to dust, and the buildings started collapsing. There are a few buildings with those bricks, and any time the brick gets a knick or crack, it's basically done. Within a couple years, there will be a mortar lined void. We've had building's facades fall right off because the brick they were attached to was dissolving, since the facade was attached to cover the faulty brick.

Some of those old buildings, it looks like they just threw bricks and mortar into a slip form and let it set overnight. It's amazing what people will overlook as long as one side of the building looks pretty.
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  #48  
Old Posted Dec 28, 2017, 3:49 AM
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Not sure how a few cherry-picked examples in Chicago somehow dissolves the fact that the vast majority of our development today is hideous hemogenous garbage but there seems to be a grasping at straws all over this post.
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  #49  
Old Posted Dec 28, 2017, 4:16 AM
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If we didn't have to put so many wires and pipes in our buildings and used windows as simple as a single pane of glass framed by wood I guarantee we'd still build things the way we did 100 years ago.
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  #50  
Old Posted Dec 28, 2017, 3:50 PM
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Originally Posted by The North One View Post
Not sure how a few cherry-picked examples in Chicago somehow dissolves the fact that the vast majority of our development today is hideous hemogenous garbage but there seems to be a grasping at straws all over this post.
It's not cherry picked, I could have posted dozens of buildings here from that era. The point is that Modernism doesn't have to be and, for quite a while, wasn't "hideous hemogenous (?) garbage". You want some lesser known examples that are also awesome?

IBM Building - Mies Van Der Rohe
Marina City - Bertrand Goldberg
Astor Tower - Bertrand Goldberg
John Hancock Center - SOM
Dewitt - Chestnut Apartments - SOM
Sears Tower - SOM
53 E Jackson (Continental Center) - CF Murphy
Time-Life Building - Harry Weese
SR Crown Hall (and the entire IIT Campus) - Mies van der Rohe
Federal Center and Post Office - Mies van der Rohe
17th Church of Christ, Scientist - Harry Weese
First National Plaza - CF Murphy
444 W Jackson - SOM
Etc Etc Etc

And that's just sticking to buildings I can list off the top of my head in the immediate downtown area by notable architects. These buildings offer an incredible amount of aesthetic variety as well. Sure Mies gets repetitive, but so did the historic buildings in the past, we just don't notice it because to us each one is a fascinating unique property when in reality they were cranked out en masse often reusing the same plans over and over again. Again, the problem is not style, it's quality of materials, detailing, and poor execution. In another 100 years many of the buildings built poorly during our time will be demolished and mainly only the jewels will remain (if we preserve them). At that point people will long for what we built in the middle 1900's and wish they could get back the examples they threw on the trash heap of history.
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  #51  
Old Posted Dec 28, 2017, 4:20 PM
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The majority of buildings from any era are/were garbage, low-effort structures slapped up by developers that don't/didn't care.

There is a significant survivorship bias in buildings that are 80+ years old. The shitty ones were not valued and torn down. Hell, a lot of magnificent ones were not valued and torn down. In my mind, the great nostalgia people seem to feel for pre-war architecture is based on these two, broad social phenomenon - survivorship bias, and a tendency for all things a single generation past to be considered tacky and outdated rather than an incredible part of our heritage.

I'll admit that many buildings in the modern/postmodern era do not meet the street well, but equally, I contend that many pre-war buildings had cramped and unpleasant interiors - both eras had their problems.
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