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  #81  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2010, 6:06 AM
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i dont know anything about new orleans, but as far as the rest of it goes.....im in slide rule's camp whole heartedly.
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  #82  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2010, 6:31 AM
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Originally Posted by DigitalUrbanity View Post
Yeah, I know what you meant, I should have been more specific for argument's sake, sorry. I should have said "Define the characteristics of work that would be considered false historicism and why its not valid as a mode of architectural expression".

Would you consider a classical temple fake, as it is essentially a composition of fictionalized elements derived from primitive timber construction? What about renaissance buildings that break tectonic rationalism or use hidden iron chains to reinforce arches and domes? Palladio's stuccoed villas that hide their masonry construction? Any number of steel framed Beaux Arts buildings? Modernist buildings with non load bearing masonry facades that don't emphasize structure, like the National Gallery?

Traditional/Classical architecture is mimetic in a sense similar to but different from representational art. To say that it is false or wrong simply on the basis of tectonic truth or adherence to the zeitgeist seems to undermine several millenia of architectural history and needlessly limits modes of expression and human experience, IMO. This is not to justify just plain kitsch garbage that lacks creative intent or physical integrity or longevity. The nouveau riche mediterranean dryvit turd CG II posted is lacking in everything obviously.
architectural history has been a progression....as new technologies developed, the physical appearance of buildings evolved...renaissance buildings looked different from roman buildings because construction techniques had changed....steel framed buildings of the 19th century were a part of that progression....

to suggest that modern replication of ancient building aesthetics is justified because they reinforced domes with steel in the 17th century is a huge leap.....it is natural that the technologies were incorporated into traditional building types....that was the first step in a progression....that development then allowed bigger domes, more windows, lighter expression.....over time the links to the past were weakened by the new opportunities presented by modern technology...

pre-cast concrete sculpture does not have the same inherint character that a hand carved piece of stone does.....10" thick walls does not give you the same quality of interior space that 3' thick ones do....because building techniques are so different today, it is not economically or even technically feasible to truly recreate heritage buildings.....for that reason, historic replication will always be merely surface applied decoration for nostalgic purposes...they lack the integrity, the materials and the skilled craftsmanship of true heritage buildings....they will always be 'fake old'.

Last edited by trueviking; Jan 14, 2010 at 7:05 AM.
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  #83  
Old Posted Jan 15, 2010, 3:15 AM
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I am not the first to utter the heresy that modern architecture has failed to capture the hearts of its inhabitants.
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  #84  
Old Posted Jan 15, 2010, 5:10 AM
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i dont get the point of that statement....

90% of architecture throughout history has been nothing more than pragmatic functional enclosures that keep the weather out......we tend to look at the historic monuments and think that all buildings were like that.....in 1700, most cities were not filled with architectural gems....the buildings that most people worked or lived in were dark, cold, unhealthy buildings.....not everything was the notre dame cathedral.

the half timber paris buildings posted in the other thread are certainly charming, but i doubt they 'captured the hearts of their inhabitants'...they capture our hearts because they are nostalgic and quaint in their imperfection.....spend a few days living in one of those and the light and air of a modern building with start to look pretty appealing.

as far as the monuments of the past are concerned, i am the first person to be inspired by them, but as many people are inspired by modern architectural monuments as well.....people travel far and wide to see the guggenheim, the sydney opera house, the st. louis arch, the petronas towers, the beijing olympic stadium, pompidou, the ROM, the disney theatre, the milwaukee art museum...i could list a thousand modern buildings that inspire people.


i will not argue that cities of the old world are certainly better than those of the new, but it has little to do with the age of the architecture....

the wonderful streets of copenhagen are filled with new buildings that sit alongside old ones and create the same urban condition.....here is an example in paris of how a building can be modern but still contribute as much or more to the urban quality of the city than its historic neighbours do...even the background modern building beside it acts as a successful partner in the streetscape......as much as most of the historic buildings in paris do and it probably has a much better interior space because it didnt try and replicate the window sizes of the older buildings.

both modern buildings fit seamlessly into the urban character of paris....one is as inspirational as the ornate examples of historic paris buildings and one does everything that the typical streetscape buildings in the city do......neither are historic replications.





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  #85  
Old Posted Jan 16, 2010, 12:23 AM
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I don't mean to offend anyone or be needlessly confrontational but I do think it is a fair critique of modern architecture and certainly one that has been voiced often. As for half timber houses, I have lived in them for extended periods in Normandy and liked them very much, they have a sense of a soul to them. I do not agree with the assessment of the modern buildings fitting seamlessly into Paris, far from it I think. However, we all have our opinions and it is just mine.
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  #86  
Old Posted Jan 16, 2010, 2:02 AM
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Originally Posted by trueviking View Post

Well now you're just being crazy! I mean they're using things like extruded aluminum and glass! The horror!

Hed,

Good architecture is good architecture, through space, siting, human comfort, detail, etc. Beyond that most buildings are simply how you wish to decorate the cake. Some developers and architects choose to explore and push materials and technology to its limitations, some choose to play it safe.

Most practices are some variation of both and I personally think this is a good thing. By simply neglecting either classical or a modern education in design, you automatically box yourself in to being a 'one trick pony' so to speak. It's also going to severely limit the availability of jobs to you.

I'd like to add that if you think that somebody like Mies completely dismissed classical architecture in his work because he used exposed steel, glass and set his towers on plazas, then you really aren't fully grasping why what he did was important. Trust me, all these guys that you likely loathe their work (including guys like Gehry/Libeskind/Grimshaw/Calatrava), could design a classical temple/cathedral/courthouse/mansion with the best of the artisans. Instead they took what they knew and used the best of all of it to push design and materiality to new limits. And like all explorations, they failed as many times as they succeeded. Not unlike the artisans of the 18th and 19th centuries who also looked for new ways to use design and materiality that attempted to solve problems like air and light quality, plumbing, and fire prevention.
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  #87  
Old Posted Jan 16, 2010, 2:57 AM
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Originally Posted by plinko View Post
Well now you're just being crazy! I mean they're using things like extruded aluminum and glass! The horror!

Hed,

Good architecture is good architecture, through space, siting, human comfort, detail, etc. Beyond that most buildings are simply how you wish to decorate the cake. Some developers and architects choose to explore and push materials and technology to its limitations, some choose to play it safe.

Most practices are some variation of both and I personally think this is a good thing. By simply neglecting either classical or a modern education in design, you automatically box yourself in to being a 'one trick pony' so to speak. It's also going to severely limit the availability of jobs to you.

I'd like to add that if you think that somebody like Mies completely dismissed classical architecture in his work because he used exposed steel, glass and set his towers on plazas, then you really aren't fully grasping why what he did was important. Trust me, all these guys that you likely loathe their work (including guys like Gehry/Libeskind/Grimshaw/Calatrava), could design a classical temple/cathedral/courthouse/mansion with the best of the artisans. Instead they took what they knew and used the best of all of it to push design and materiality to new limits. And like all explorations, they failed as many times as they succeeded. Not unlike the artisans of the 18th and 19th centuries who also looked for new ways to use design and materiality that attempted to solve problems like air and light quality, plumbing, and fire prevention.

I think that you misunderstand my point. I am not here to dispute the fact that modern or contemporary architecture can't be great. In fact, I will be the first to tell you great it can. I suggest you wander over to a thread of mine.

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=169938

But this thread is not meant to be one of debate with regards to architecture styles. This is me simply inquiring as to where we be the best school to study in the traditional styles of architecture.
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  #88  
Old Posted Jan 16, 2010, 8:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Hed Kandi View Post
I think that you misunderstand my point. I am not here to dispute the fact that modern or contemporary architecture can't be great. In fact, I will be the first to tell you great it can. I suggest you wander over to a thread of mine.

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=169938

But this thread is not meant to be one of debate with regards to architecture styles. This is me simply inquiring as to where we be the best school to study in the traditional styles of architecture.
you are way too worried about what can and cant be said in each of your threads....you are expressing a point of view with the threads you start, like it or not...let the debate flow a bit without always restricting comment because , 'this is a thread for photos (or whatever)', not intelligent discussion....the point of this web site is to share ideas...let it happen.

to Vitae.....fair enough.
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  #89  
Old Posted Jan 18, 2010, 2:04 AM
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I like the modern building in Paris very much, but it works because it is narrow and different. The whole point is that it's something the rest of the block is not. It's a parody. If there weren't anything for it to be different from, it wouldn't be a very interesting building. Can you imagine a city full of them? How banal it would be. Glass is just not that interesting when you have to walk by hundreds of feet of it.

And THAT, in my opinion, is why the majority of people these days don't much care for modernism. 50 years ago when modern buildings were rare it was very interesting, but now that American cities are full of concrete and glass and have very little ornament, there just isn't enough to look at. Yet another glassy geometric building makes the city less interesting rather than more so, so most people don't like it. That's also why Europeans are more tolerant of modernism than Americans, IMO - Euro cities are packed much more full of historic ornamented buildings, so there is more for modernism to be different from. In the US, most cities don't have enough detailed buildings to support a large number of non-detailed ones. European cities do.

Modernism is great art, and makes for great landmarks and monuments. It's not good for the sort of buildings that are repeated 10,000 times over in every city in the world. Those more common but less grand buildings need something modernism can't provide by its very definition - human-scaled, non-repetitive details. Walking along the sidewalk we need something to look at, plain and simple.

I'd like to see architects devote less time to sculpting monumental shapes, and more time to finding interesting new ways of producing ornament. For example, this building is unmistakably contemporary, but "traditional" in the sense that they have tried to make it interesting at the human scale using ornament. In my opinion it is at best a middling building, not by any means a great one. The architect tried, and failed as much as he or she succeeded. It's just something to illustrate the point. Imagine how much better we could produce if architecture schools were even a little bit interested in the subject, or if world-class architects put their brain power in to it.

Alas, architects these days are only allowed to produce a narrowly-defined type of building if they want to be taken seriously. It's our way or the highway. Our art is the only good art. Howard Roark is a hero because he bucked the establishment, but nobody had better buck our establishment now that we're in charge. Saying we must always produce buildings "of our time" has over the decades become code for "we can't allow any other type of art", which is counter productive to the very concepts that modernism purports to be about... and that's why asking where one can find a school that teaches a different curriculum is a valid question. If we're ever to produce buildings better than that example I cited earlier (and I hope we can), our schools are going to have to stop treating ornament like a taboo to be ignored and start teaching students how it works.

The more we dogmatically ignore anything that isn't "of our time", the more we doom ourselves to never moving beyond our current time.
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Last edited by Cirrus; Jan 18, 2010 at 2:25 AM.
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  #90  
Old Posted Jan 18, 2010, 2:28 AM
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Anyway, long story short, to sum up:

1) I think most people like historicist architecture because it has human-scaled details, which modernism refuses to allow, but without which cities are dull.

2) I think most people like historicist architecture specifically because they can't visualize anything else with human-scaled details. There is no alternative.

3) I think most people would get over historicism and appreciate (and demand!) more contemporary architecture if contemporary architecture were at all interested in meeting the need for human-scaled details.

4) I think we could end this whole traditional/modernist fight if the architecture world got less dogmatic about refusing to produce ornament, and started using its brain power to produce new and different types of ornament.
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  #91  
Old Posted Jan 18, 2010, 8:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
Anyway, long story short, to sum up:

1) I think most people like historicist architecture because it has human-scaled details, which modernism refuses to allow, but without which cities are dull.

2) I think most people like historicist architecture specifically because they can't visualize anything else with human-scaled details. There is no alternative.

3) I think most people would get over historicism and appreciate (and demand!) more contemporary architecture if contemporary architecture were at all interested in meeting the need for human-scaled details.

4) I think we could end this whole traditional/modernist fight if the architecture world got less dogmatic about refusing to produce ornament, and started using its brain power to produce new and different types of ornament.
So basically, the world would be much better if architects were more like Peter Zumthor.
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  #92  
Old Posted Jan 18, 2010, 9:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
Anyway, long story short, to sum up:

1) I think most people like historicist architecture because it has human-scaled details, which modernism refuses to allow, but without which cities are dull.

2) I think most people like historicist architecture specifically because they can't visualize anything else with human-scaled details. There is no alternative.

3) I think most people would get over historicism and appreciate (and demand!) more contemporary architecture if contemporary architecture were at all interested in meeting the need for human-scaled details.

4) I think we could end this whole traditional/modernist fight if the architecture world got less dogmatic about refusing to produce ornament, and started using its brain power to produce new and different types of ornament.
I can agree with these statements, so long as 'human scaled detail' does not mean 'application of arbitrary historical standards of decoration.' 'Human scaled detail' should be the 'new and different type of ornament' of exploration of tectonic space, material, colour, light, movement, and many other things, but it should not be the application of ornament. The human scale is vital, of course, but there are so many ways to address this condition and create incredible, intimate architecture without simply putting sculpture on it.
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  #93  
Old Posted Jan 18, 2010, 6:04 PM
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there are so many ways to address this condition and create incredible, intimate architecture without simply putting sculpture on it.
Fair enough, although I'm a little confused why sculpture applied to buildings isn't OK but building-sized sculpture is the peak of the profession.
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  #94  
Old Posted Jan 18, 2010, 7:54 PM
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I think CGII only means physical, carved ornamentation like this historic building, in that we shouldn't attempt to recreate it. Just like the picture you linked doesn't have any faux precasted ornamentation- it is without question contemporary. Not to speak for anybody, I've just been following this post.
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  #95  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 2:48 AM
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I too am interested in why there is such a taboo towards sculpture and ornament. It may come to a point where modern evolutionary science proves that there is a human desire and need for such things if they have not done so already. Human beings have been decorating and designing just about everything in their lives for as long as there has been a record of such things.
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  #96  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 2:51 AM
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Fair enough, although I'm a little confused why sculpture applied to buildings isn't OK but building-sized sculpture is the peak of the profession.
I don't think the Bilbao Guggenheim is at all a canonical example of where architecture should be, and neither does much of the profession.
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  #97  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 9:12 AM
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I don't think the Bilbao Guggenheim is at all a canonical example of where architecture should be, and neither does much of the profession.
Gehry never needed to ever visit Bilbao to design that museum, that is what always bothered me about his work, that separation from the architect and the site. I strongly feel a building should be rooted to its site and not feel as if it could of been built anywhere...though that doesnt mean that a building needs to look as if it was built over 100 years ago or anything...again, look at the work that Peter Zumthor has done and it is all great example of the direction architecture should be heading.
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  #98  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 3:07 PM
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Gehry never needed to ever visit Bilbao to design that museum, that is what always bothered me about his work, that separation from the architect and the site. I strongly feel a building should be rooted to its site and not feel as if it could of been built anywhere...though that doesnt mean that a building needs to look as if it was built over 100 years ago or anything...again, look at the work that Peter Zumthor has done and it is all great example of the direction architecture should be heading.
Why? Why should architecture be headed in that direction?
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Old Posted Jan 19, 2010, 6:09 PM
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Gehry never needed to ever visit Bilbao to design that museum, that is what always bothered me about his work, that separation from the architect and the site. I strongly feel a building should be rooted to its site and not feel as if it could of been built anywhere...though that doesnt mean that a building needs to look as if it was built over 100 years ago or anything...again, look at the work that Peter Zumthor has done and it is all great example of the direction architecture should be heading.
I'm not a huge Gehry fan, but I think you are vastly underestimating the careful thought that goes into each project. It's something my friends and I in architecture school used to joke about as well (crumpling a piece of paper and throwing it down and proclaiming 'I'm done!'), but after a few years actually designing real buildings and a few more years exploring existing buildings done by guys like Gehry, I have alot more appreciation for what he does. Certainly not the one trick pony so many have made him out to be.

I think what often happens as well as that a 'starchitect' designs a certain type of structure and then subsequent clients and cities clamor for their own version of the same structure. I know for a fact that this is what happened with Gehry and Bilbao (I know an architect who worked in Gehry's office for many years).

Zumthor has done some amazing work.
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  #100  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2010, 12:48 AM
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I'm not a huge Gehry fan, but I think you are vastly underestimating the careful thought that goes into each project. It's something my friends and I in architecture school used to joke about as well (crumpling a piece of paper and throwing it down and proclaiming 'I'm done!'), but after a few years actually designing real buildings and a few more years exploring existing buildings done by guys like Gehry, I have alot more appreciation for what he does. Certainly not the one trick pony so many have made him out to be.

I think what often happens as well as that a 'starchitect' designs a certain type of structure and then subsequent clients and cities clamor for their own version of the same structure. I know for a fact that this is what happened with Gehry and Bilbao (I know an architect who worked in Gehry's office for many years).

Zumthor has done some amazing work.
I can agree with this, my personal hatred for Gehry's work stems more about his work in relation to the site than what is actually built. The MIT building and all its issues, the dancing couple building in Prague and the issue with all the glass on the building in a city that still has alot of winter coal burning. The creation of odd spaces do to over conformity to the overall shape. The often times of hiding a typical or fairly traditional building with the use of and extended exterior surface...it is things like that that bother me about his work...though on the other end, I am sure he is getting clients that are wanting the next Bilbao, and for the money they are paying, he seems more than happy to give that to them, and as someone who has gone through architecture schooling, I can understand anyone for caving in for the money...what architect student doesnt sleep a couple hours of sleep at night during studios dreaming that they will one day make it rich off all of this.


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Why? Why should architecture be headed in that direction?
Have you read any of his books or studied any of his work? (not in the attacking you sense, just wondering because they are great books to read, very humbling and has that sense of true passion why anyone should want to be an architect.)

Zumthor is the kind of architect that sticks to regional work because it is an area he has known all his life and understands it fully. Projects from him can easily take a decade to complete because he wishes to take his time getting to know the site and the client. Each building he has designed as been an extension of both the site and client. None of his work can be copied and pasted somewhere else like so many other buildings that are built in the world. Much of Frank Gehry's work is an example of this cut and paste style (while each very unique) the Disney Opera house could of been constructed in any city and on any site and still read the same, a Frank Gehry building. Peter Zumthor is more about letting the architecture and the experience of that architecture have its own name, not the branding of the architect who designed it.

I personally think if we had more architects (and clients, of course) that cared about what was going to be constructed and why, as well as understanding that this is something that is more than likely going to be around longer that us, one would think that it would be the most important to get it right and filled with care so that it could withstand the test of time.
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