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  #61  
Old Posted Jan 8, 2010, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by village person View Post
I don't quite follow the analogy. There are many different methods for learning music, of course, as nothing is so black and white. For me, learning to play, write, and listen came first. Thus familiarity with a style or styles expanded upon emulation. The theory was secondary and came as a supplement to understanding what I had become familiar with already and also acts as a window into learning other styles. But the similarities between music and architecture are slim. Architecture isn't commonly taught from ages as low as 4 (though I guess you could argue the foundations are there in math and science, but then music must also follow the foundations of motor and aural skills which come even earlier...) I began learning music at age 8, and most of my peers even have me beat in that regard. Anyway, I'm mostly just thinking out loud here...
You have answered yourself with exactly what I just said, architecture for me started when I was a child playing with linkin logs and legos. Just because no one told you the name of a note, you still had to learn the sound of that note before you knew how to play it within a song, once you have knowledge of notes, then you can understand how to write music.

Architecture can be taught as a young age, it just isnt common in this country, but when you play with legos and linkin logs as a kid, you start to create and define spaces, solids, and voids, unaware of what you are actually doing...the education of what you have learned on your own comes later when you are much more able to connect the dots.

The awareness of architecture begins when you are first aware of the space around you. Which is why everyone has an opinion of architecture and music, it is things that effect our senses.
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  #62  
Old Posted Jan 8, 2010, 11:29 AM
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I suppose I misinterpreted your wording. The "before" part is what I didn't get, when it was primarily a style that I learned from emulation, and the theory as a result, not really beforehand. If that makes sense.
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  #63  
Old Posted Jan 8, 2010, 6:52 PM
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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.
no one said architecture is an exact science. yet the 'traditionalist' stuff as espoused by modern day neo-classicists is a lot more similar to the buildings posted by CGII than the 'originally' classic buildings you listed. btw, CGII's pictures are already some of the better examples of neo-historicism out there.

people aren't going to build things out of solid masonry again. we won't employ huge numbers of skilled craftsmen again. ever. if you want to employ modern building materials and techniques and then put a classical dryvit facade on it, you're pretty much building something that will inevitably be 'fake old'. it's not necessarily wrong. but it's not exactly historically accurate.

then there's the cost aspect. even if you throw out all the frilly architectural theory, there's a reason why aesthetically pleasing neo-'classical' architecture is limited to things like:


-flagship religious structures
-disney themeparks
-palaces for military strongmen
-facades of lifestyle centers
-townhouses of wall st. robber barons

in every one of the above buildings, the budgets are far in excess of the plebeians' budgets (and the buildings are generally built with other peoples' money).

at school, i once had a 'do anything you want' project. i designed a moorish-persian-gothic mcmansion with EVERY classical motif i could find. it had girih tiles, rose windows, tracery, flamboyant arches, and every tesselation conceivable. and.. it could have conceivably been built (if i could possibly find the money for a battalion of skilled craftsmen).

yet when real life considerations are taken into account, neo-classicism turns out with awkward proportions and has a strange flatness. with current technology, reliance on pre-fab, cost of labor, etc., neo-classicism is prohibitively expensive. thus you get things like celebration.
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  #64  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2010, 1:04 AM
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I know I've brought this up before but there is newer construction developments that employ a traditional aesthetic, like River Garden in the Lower Garden District in New Orleans.
And visually they fit the surrounding neighborhood and house market and below market rate renters and home owners as opposed to say the Make It Right Lower 9 structures which are fully modernist in the Lower Ninth Ward.

And one can look at the structures and understand they are early 21st century...the iron work is modern, and the building materials are modern while you have traditional elements such as double gallery Greek Revival -Revival houses and Italianate Bracketed shotguns. However no one is going to drive into the neighborhood and think wow, this is 19th century housing. Its vernacular architecture, employing a traditional aesthetic built using modern material.

You can create "historicist" styles employing modern methods.
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  #65  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2010, 1:23 AM
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^sure you can. but because these neo-historicist styles will still have the constraints of prefab materials, higher labor costs, and need a ____ return on investment, their aesthetics will be compromised and they won't be as timeless as the 'truly' classical architecture they're vaguely based upon.

you've mentioned the need for historic styles and what not. unfortunately styles change. and the styles that you crave right now may not be fashionable in the future. in the 90s, po-mo was in style and people insisted on getting pink stucco. now those buildings are slowly deteriorating and are seen as artifacts from an unenlightened age. in another generation or so, the vast majority of the neo-historicist stuff built now will be showing their age and most likely be supplanted by something else. it's happened that way in previous generations, and it'll happen again. in fact, developers partially depend on shifting architectural fashions to continually build newer (and generally farther) developments in all directions. it's not sustainable and is an example of our slash 'n burn type development patterns.

you could argue that the styles you like are timeless. well, they're based on an ideal of timeless architecture. but then i could easily cite myriad examples of modern architecture that have stood the test of time too. could anyone guess the bank of china building was built 20 odd years ago?

the vast majority of what's built (regardless of a modern or neo-historic style) are built to a cost and will not be timeless, as their proportions are already compromised and will progressively deteriorate with age and wear.

you could cite your present wardrobe as the embodiment of style. give it another few decades, and we'll see if they're still as catchy. fashion is fickle, and people who mistake fashion with some objective standard are just deluding themselves.
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  #66  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2010, 3:18 AM
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Well of course it is fickle...however certain styles are timeless, especially those that are derivative of the heritage of Western civilization. I am not an architecture student however I have taken classes in architecture at Tulane University, and I continue to be appalled by the intellectual snobbery of the modernist architectural thought that is being taught.
There are at least certain elements of Western architecture that remains desireable for many people (and arent constrained to historicism or modernism) but they do find trends in the cartoonish bad houses that so many people inhabit today. And even then with many people give them a traditional house or offer them something in the modernist movement, a majority will choose the traditional structure.
As for developers, slash and burn...has less to do with what style something is built in and more to do with the nature (scumbags) of development. Sprawl is over at least for now...and I think the majority of development will be brownfield, and I think we will see a lot more conflicts on good and bad architectural styles.
You can do good modernism, and you can do a bad, cheap modernism...and give a developer the chance to do so and you will find yourself living in a crumbling mud hut.

Enough rambling...it's too cold in here.
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  #67  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2010, 3:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Uptowngirl View Post
Well of course it is fickle...however certain styles are timeless, especially those that are derivative of the heritage of Western civilization.
Ok... So back to clothes, what clothing styles are timeless? What clothing styles are "definitive of western civilization"? If we assume that the form of the Parthenon is the most "definitive" of Western civilization and that we should therefore still build some buildings like it, then the same article applies to Toga's and tunics should still be timeless today. Yet if you wore those styles on the street today people would think you were crazy. Same applies to the puffy clothes worn in the Renaissance when they were building Gothic architecture and to the over blown conservatism of Victorian dress and architecture...

The only reason the same rules don't apply in your mind to clothing as well as architecture is that there is an inherent appeal in our minds of a sense of "permanence". People think old=permanent and therefore better, but we associate old clothes with being worn out and outdated. This can be seen in the rotation of styles in architecture every style is despised about 30-40 years after it was popular, which is probably because buildings hit the bottom of their useful life by then and are at the bottom of their "permanence". About 50-60 years after a style was popular people realize how wrong they were to tear it down because most of the remaining examples of that style have either been renovated and "become permanent" again or been torn down.

The fact of the matter is that its bad to tear down any good example of any style, but its worse to mock those old styles by building halfassed imitations of them.
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  #68  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2010, 3:58 AM
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whoa whoa whoa....

while styles ARE indeed timeless, fashions aren't.

99% of the stuff built today (regardless of style) will NOT look good in a generation. chalk it up to limited budgets, and well, people being gullible and being unable to see past their initial visceral reaction.

i can guarantee that the stuff you've posted earlier will age like.. well, the pink stucco developments of the 90s. apart from a minuscule number of elite level projects, everything built has a lifespan.

Quote:
I continue to be appalled by the intellectual snobbery of the modernist architectural thought
if you think architects are snobby, wait until you become acquainted with developers. unlike architects, developers actually wield power in the development process. every generation or so, a game-changing style comes along to right the wrongs of the past. then the process repeats itself.

why do you ramble on about modernism? how many minimalist houses have been built in your area lately? if architects had their way, do you think the prevailing development patterns would consist of the neo-historicist stuff that dominates now?

Quote:
they do find trends in the cartoonish bad houses that so many people inhabit today
the houses that are ridiculed as cartoonish today were seen as 'fashionable' and 'aesthetically pleasing' when they were built. in the 90s, it was abstract pink stucco and the pueblo style. go back a few more generations, and people were arguing back and forth between baroque 'hedonism' and classical 'democratic values'. ideally people should approach architecture with a rational mindset, and not blindly cling to one approach

thus your
Quote:
certain styles are timeless, especially those that are derivative of the heritage of Western civilization
is just unintentionally doing the PR work of present day developers. they want yuppies to mortgage themselves into indentured servitude, and are using the timelessness shtick to reel them in. unfortunately these developments will inevitably be superseded, and the process repeats itself.

in the 70s, aficionados loved the timeless qualities of shed roofs, skylights and cedar siding, as they allowed people to live at one with nature, and be groovy to boot. don't laugh, people actually believed this stuff, and it's not that different from your perspective.

if/when you proceed further in your studies of architecture, you'll see see more detailed arguments about architectural theory. if you go further and actually work in architecture, you'll see why building neo-historicist stuff is either prohibitively expensive, or results in a compromised product.
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  #69  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2010, 4:14 AM
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[quotewhy do you ramble on about modernism? how many minimalist houses have been built in your area lately? if architects had their way, do you think the prevailing development patterns would consist of the neo-historicist stuff that dominates now?[/quote]

I'll answer more later...on my way to see Daybreakers.

I think if most architects I know had their way here in New Orleans every new building would generally, be modernist structures. Of course I live in a town characterized by the push of the spirit of avant guarde artists and architects, and the pull of historist and traditionalist architects, arts and preservationists.


I'll comment more later...unless my computer freezes, literally while I'm out.
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  #70  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2010, 4:47 AM
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tshirt and jeans = timeless.
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  #71  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2010, 6:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Uptowngirl View Post

I think if most architects I know had their way here in New Orleans every new building would generally, be modernist structures. Of course I live in a town characterized by the push of the spirit of avant guarde artists and architects, and the pull of historist and traditionalist architects, arts and preservationists.
i was hesitant to add further posts to this thread. it's going off-topic from a more straightforward discussion of architectural theory and segueing into urban renewal, and developer power vs. the rights of the existing inhabitants.

you think avant garde artists and architects will build their wacky structures in new orleans? that's just not the way things work. architects may WANT to build a certain way, but architects don't wield much of a say. you don't like the stylistic preferences of architects? you're in luck. 99% of what's built in north america conforms to the prevailing styles. in this era, it's all about neo-historicist styles. there's no real debate about architectural style. thus you may wonder why there's been so much noise? why have stories about wacky avant garde architects dressed in all-black with their intellectual snobbery and aesthetically questionable designs gotten people lathered up in a fury?

the debate about architectural style is a diversion. post-katrina new orleans is more about a power grab between the developer community and new orleans' formerly displaced residents. the development community wants many of the flood damaged areas to be razed and developed into a gentrified area, whereas the original residents of these areas want to restore and continue to live in their neighborhoods.

the big money in the real estate industry comes from increases in the price of land. in the 50s and 60s, developers reaped big profits from the suburbanization movement. previously dirt cheap greenfield land was transformed into middle class tract housing. in the new millennium, downtown is now seen as having profit potential. after katrina, the developer community saw an opportunity to transform the flood-damaged, working class areas of new orleans into a high profit redevelopment project. the developer community's hatchet man, andres duany may emphasize aesthetically pleasing charrettes, but he downplays the plan's lowered density, compromised public transit (public transit is often seen as an enabler of the poorer classes), and a displacement of the original inhabitants.

the redevelopment of new orleans has many parallels with the urban redevelopment projects of the postwar era. back then, socioeconomically disadvantaged inner-city minority areas were demolished to make room for highways. these highways were needed to connect the then-new suburban areas to downtown. it was justified in the name of modernism. the various periodicals covering 1950s-60s urban renewal projects presented it as a battle between the forces of modern progress vs. some ungrateful luddite 'coloreds'. when we now view those events through the lens of history, we see the needless destruction of functioning areas and how it was really motivated by developer profits.

in present-day new orleans, inexpensive inner-city areas are targeted for demolition, ostensibly to be replaced by more beautiful, 'historic' architecture. but in the end, it's just a newer twist on an old story. the existing community is to be razed, the land parcels redeveloped, and the developers make money. back then, destruction was in the name of modern progress. this time, it's destruction for the sake of historicist architecture. but... it's really about the money.

if you're interested in the plight of new orleans, you should chat with some of the affected residents, or talk to some civil rights lawyers, or read some of the non-mainstream news outlets(i.e. the ones that aren't issuing PR releases under the guise of news).
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  #72  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2010, 5:51 AM
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post-katrina new orleans is more about a power grab between the developer community and new orleans' formerly displaced residents.>


You are massively WRONG. I didn't intend for this thread to take this direction..I was responding to the direction of historicist styles vs. modernist architecture which is very visible where I live.
However you are massively WRONG. I work for a city council member...and I'm very well aware of what is going on here, and there is no developer land grab to gentrify anything. The HDLC protects a majority of neighborhoods in the city, and almost all structures have to go before the HDLC or appeal to the council to even tear down one structure.
You need to listen to whiny Berkley Alternet people LESS, because it is people like that that continue to come down here and wag their finger in people's faces as if they had the faintest idea under God of what they were doing.

(I speak for myself, and not in any official capacity and my thoughts are my own - Disclaimer)
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  #73  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2010, 6:38 AM
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i'm soooo wrong. yet i apparently touched a raw nerve. btw, it's berkeley.

the line about 'styles derivative of western culture are timeless' instantly raised red flags. that's just an intellectually dishonest dictum used to justify building in the currently fashionable neohistoricist spectrum. would the heavy muslim influence on spanish architecture make it less timeless? what about frank lloyd wright's eastern influences? thus the proposed colonial revivals with the pvc/fiberglass/polystyrene pillars, pilasters, cornices, capitals, faux muntins, etc. continue to look like dorian gray. whereas orientalist influenced architecture like the city of santa barbara and frank lloyd wright's prairie houses will look like dorian's picture?

since you're working for a city councillor, you should be curious if your boss' opinions are affected by the political lobbying around him/her. or maybe i'm one of these crazy cynical people, and purported influence of developers over local politics is one of those urban myths.

given the amount of documented evidence, witness accounts, the threat of using eminent domain (and the many pending lawsuits) we can sit back and see how/if new orleans redevelops, and whether or not the urban renewal crowd gets its way. thus there's no need to argue.
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  #74  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2010, 2:10 PM
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All modernist theory aside, it is people who live, work and exist around modern architecture. I simply do not believe that they like it, much less love it. Does any modern architecture inspire the love that say Paris does?
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  #75  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2010, 4:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Vitae View Post
All modernist theory aside, it is people who live, work and exist around modern architecture. I simply do not believe that they like it, much less love it. Does any modern architecture inspire the love that say Paris does?
I am certain you already know the answer.
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  #76  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2010, 5:17 PM
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Paris is an interesting example. The Paris that we know and love wasn't much loved by Parisians when Haussann was flattening most of medieval Paris in order to build it:

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Originally Posted by Wiki
Because of Haussmannisation, that is the creative destruction of something for the betterment of society, the 1860s was a time of intense revolt in Paris. Many Parisians were troubled by the destruction of "old roots". Historian Robert Herbert says that "the impressionist movement depicted this loss of connection in such paintings as Manet's Bar at Folies." The subject of the painting is talking to a man, seen in the mirror behind her, but seems unengaged. According to Herbert, this is a symptom of living in Paris at this time: the citizens became detached from one another. "The continuous destruction of physical Paris led to a destruction of social Paris as well." Haussmann was also criticized for the great cost of his project. Napoléon III fired Haussmann on 5 January 1870 in order to improve his own flagging popularity
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baron_Haussmann
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  #77  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2010, 10:52 PM
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i'm soooo wrong. yet i apparently touched a raw nerve. btw, it's berkeley.

the line about 'styles derivative of western culture are timeless' instantly raised red flags. that's just an intellectually dishonest dictum used to justify building in the currently fashionable neohistoricist spectrum. would the heavy muslim influence on spanish architecture make it less timeless? what about frank lloyd wright's eastern influences? thus the proposed colonial revivals with the pvc/fiberglass/polystyrene pillars, pilasters, cornices, capitals, faux muntins, etc. continue to look like dorian gray. whereas orientalist influenced architecture like the city of santa barbara and frank lloyd wright's prairie houses will look like dorian's picture?

since you're working for a city councillor, you should be curious if your boss' opinions are affected by the political lobbying around him/her. or maybe i'm one of these crazy cynical people, and purported influence of developers over local politics is one of those urban myths.

given the amount of documented evidence, witness accounts, the threat of using eminent domain (and the many pending lawsuits) we can sit back and see how/if new orleans redevelops, and whether or not the urban renewal crowd gets its way. thus there's no need to argue.
Again, you don't live here and thus don't know what is going on.

As for property, much of it wasn't up to code and some people didn't or don't have enough to rebuild the property as it was, AND a majority of renters in New Orleans proper are taking advantage of below market rents (the majority of the renters in the city are or are close to being below market rate renters). Make It Right 9, has been developing as fast as donations come in...

Again you prove me wrong, and anecdotal evidence is not convincing evidence. You brought this up, not me.
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  #78  
Old Posted Jan 13, 2010, 2:04 AM
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^rrrrrrrrrrrrrrright.

so the developers (hey, i have to work for them) who are salivating over a big plot of underexploited land in the ninth ward really aren't looking to score some fat profits? you and your boss and basically anyone with any legislative powers aren't being lobbied by the developer community? cause if you aren't, new orleans would be a miracle. the fact that you don't see any parallels to previous redevelopment projects makes me wonder if you've put much thought into your position.

prove you wrong? when have you said anything (including both architecture AND the development process) right?

but then i don't see a point to arguing this, as things are being documented, lawsuits being launched, and eminent domain is being pondered as we speak.

now, if you want to talk about architectural style, and especially your quote
Quote:
certain styles are timeless, especially those that are derivative of the heritage of Western civilization
is a new hallmark phrase of andres duany (variations of the phrase are in the ads for his developments), who incidentally was hired by the development community, and whose charrettes advocated a mass redevelopment of what he deemed to be bad architecture.

here's a brief summary of his 'styles'.

he cofounded architectonica, and cashed in on the tropical modern craze for a few years. pink houses with portholes, flat roofs, and lots of glass blocks... he was basking in pastel cool.

after a few years, he split off, formed DPZ and ditched the miami vice look in exchange for a flannel shirt. then it was all about white picket fences and the folksy charm of nostalgic americana. the developer community loved him, as he reasoned that greenfield development was okay. as long as the neighborhoods evoked urban landscapes of the past, their inhabitants would gradually lead more urban lifestyles themselves. that's akin to me wearing a crown, and eventually becoming royalty.

now in the new millennium, duany is still hobnobbing with big time developers and their political cronies (google andres duany and haley barbour). but in new orleans, he's suddenly gone all eurosnob. his charrettes are all about 'timeless' styles that are way too expensive for the present inhabitants, and he has very publicly derided much of the ninth ward as not worth saving.

and you talk about 'timeless' architectural styles. of course those styles are timeless. the advert and PR releases say it.
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  #79  
Old Posted Jan 13, 2010, 3:43 AM
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Haha. You are showing your ignorance.

The Lower 9th is only being developed by Make It Right, which is giving their homes to homeowners who lived there. There is not much else going on over there.

New Orleans has been very hostile to outside developers...and the only development that is going on is either below market rate apartments on Tulane Ave. or the housing projects that are being rebuilt.

A lot of money that was given to lower income families was squandered on other materials, and others who tried to rebuild were ripped off by contractors who disappeared in the year or so after the storm.

If you want to come down here and prove to me that there is some secret plan to gentrify New Orleans and keep the displaced away...bring it. Otherwise, stop talking.
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  #80  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2010, 6:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Hed Kandi View Post
I am certain you already know the answer.
nobody is arguing that old buildings are not wonderful....we are arguing that they cant be replicated....

paris is spectacular....it has a scale and proportion that creates incredible public space....it has a strong street edge and wonderfully homogeneous density....all of those things could and should be done in modern design as well...that is just good urban quality.

paris sets itself apart because it has these qualities while at the same time it has many buildings that were built during a time when artistic craftsmanship was at it's peak....the ornament on the ornate facades was hand carved from stone....

if you started today and built a paris somewhere in the southern states, you could not replicate it....the technology simply does not exist...it would become the french version of main street USA in disneyworld....

appreciate that we have places like paris....they can not be reconstructed today....



Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitae View Post
All modernist theory aside, it is people who live, work and exist around modern architecture. I simply do not believe that they like it, much less love it. Does any modern architecture inspire the love that say Paris does?
are you really suggesting that no modern architecture is inspiring?....do you need a list?....pretty sure the people who lived in fallingwater loved it....the guggenheim in bilbao transformed an entire city....i can list thousands inspiring modern buildings.

paris is a city, not a piece of architecture.....it is filled with modern buildings.....the eiffel tower was instrumental in the modernist movement....la grande arche is one of my favourite buildings....

i went to university in copenhagen and in the local newspaper once, people were asked what was their favourite building in denmark....a country filled with wonderful castles, palaces and historic gems.....the building that won the poll was the national library.


Last edited by trueviking; Jan 14, 2010 at 6:59 AM.
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