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  #41  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 12:15 AM
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Because we live in a Euro-centric society that romanticizes the past.

Modernism hasn't failed, but many architects have failed at Modernism.
Oh God Gene Kaufman.....
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  #42  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 3:33 AM
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The whole idea that traditionalism equates to "decorated sheds" is intellectually lazy, and an example of everything wrong with architecture.

ALL architecture should take urban design, structure, assembly, environment, and theatrics into account regardless of style. The need to do so is why architecture exists as a profession. I do not accept the ridiculous notion that one aesthetic paradigm takes such things into account and another does not.
I like that. Well the whole post actually. To many architects, do not look at architecture in context to an urban environment. So many of todays buildings could just as easily be put down in an open field, they'd be just as connected to the cities they are in....
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  #43  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 3:59 AM
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There seriously are way too many different degrees of arguments going on in this thread....which often times happens when someone brings up the word "modernism" without defining what they mean by it, or what specific spectrum of modernism we are talking about because there are different styles within modernism, and I would argue that today's architecture isn't actually modernism, but a collection of different contemporary things that are going on at the same time that have yet to have enough time to full gain a name for itself to truly define what it should be called.


But if the specifics about this was simply to be about Penn Station, then I think the history of the demolition of Penn is an important one. No one thought anyone would tear down such a key landmark and replace it, that demolition is what gave preservationists a true foundation to protect older buildings and neighborhoods and Penn Station's demolition may be the key that saved a large percentage of Manhattan from the wrecking ball.
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  #44  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 6:12 AM
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But if the specifics about this was simply to be about Penn Station, then I think the history of the demolition of Penn is an important one. No one thought anyone would tear down such a key landmark and replace it, that demolition is what gave preservationists a true foundation to protect older buildings and neighborhoods and Penn Station's demolition may be the key that saved a large percentage of Manhattan from the wrecking ball.
Was Penn Station's demolition a paradigm which served as a catalyst to establish landmark and preservationist policies in this country? Perhaps. Is it appropriate to rationalize the destruction of one of the most iconic landmarks in New York as a means to serve the preservationist movement as a collective? I don't know. A play by Durrenmatt comes to mind (I apologize for the esoteric reference).

Please, lets not all assume a false posture of intellectual fastidiousness and claim we are unaware of the ambiguous term "architectural modernism"; however I will describe the term more specifically as Post War Architecture (ie Brutalism, International, Bauhaus, Post Modernism). There is certainly a conspicuous demarcation between the prevalence of architectural aesthetic before and after WWII. To claim otherwise would be to falsely reject widely accepted notions of the evolution of architecture and urban planning during the last century.

Finally, comparing the new and the old Penn Station, renowned Yale architectural historian Vincent Scully once wrote, “One entered the city like a god; one scuttles in now like a rat.”

Last edited by skyhigh07; Aug 5, 2011 at 7:47 PM.
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  #45  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by urbanlife
There seriously are way too many different degrees of arguments going on in this thread....which often times happens when someone brings up the word "modernism" without defining what they mean by it, or what specific spectrum of modernism we are talking about because there are different styles within modernism, and I would argue that today's architecture isn't actually modernism, but a collection of different contemporary things that are going on at the same time that have yet to have enough time to full gain a name for itself to truly define what it should be called.
I think we can agree that most architecture today would fall in the category of Neo-Modern.


I think this point made by Vachej on SSC hits the nail on the head.

Quote:
Its not so much a question of whether 'modernism' has failed, as whether
architects have failed to understand the problem of integrating modern
materials, correctly inserting into the street the huge monolithic
buildings modern materials make possible. People feel much more
'sense of place' along streets comprised of many individual,
no more than 3 or 4 or 5 story buildings, individual buildings fraught
with attractive ornament. Where modernism has failed is
in establishing this relation on the street. The vast, drab, dull,
monoliths of modern towers alienate, disturb, bring about a
dystopian response. All that need be done to mitigate this
is to surround a modern building with the sort of 3 and 4 story
richly detailed masonry buildings typical of 100 years ago. A simple
topological rule, no modernist tower can ever directly front
the street, solves everything. For a study in contrasts
here are two simple sketches illustrating the idea for
two identical urban squares:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/treehou...7626776152760/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/treehou...7626776152760/
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  #46  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 1:57 PM
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  #47  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 1:59 PM
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^^^ See even that is BS, not all modern squares are crappy, only some are crappy. For example, Chicago has a handful of excellent, striking, modern squares that function excellently from a design perspective:

Daley Center:


wikipedia

Chase Plaza:


blogspot.com

Federal Plaza:


blogspot.com
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  #48  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 2:21 PM
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^^^ See even that is BS, not all modern squares are crappy, only some are crappy. For example, Chicago has a handful of excellent, striking, modern squares that function excellently from a design perspective:
Though what he was stating was that many large modern tower's fail to meet the street level in a way thats inviting to the general public, it fails to connect with the masses and becomes almost alien. I wouldn't disagree.
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  #49  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 3:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Nowhereman
follow the link I posted: http://milwaukeestreets.blogspot.com/
I like these, but they're traditional/modern hybrids with a lot of non-geometric decoration. These are hybrids too, although I don't care for them as much. These and these are underwhelming, and quite banal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hammersklavier
The reason is because of the way the "cult of the architect" has become so coupled to Modernism... But with the total architect, the genius architect, and in the cult of the architect, you don't get that. You get a singular architect attempting to create a vernacular from scratch, fancying himself a genius
I think this is a prescient point. My architecture school certainly taught that way, and it produced a bunch of good *artists* who had no idea at all what makes a good city for people to actually live in. That's why I moved to the planning program (which had its own flaws to be sure, but was good at urban design).

Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanlife
I would argue that today's architecture isn't actually modernism, but a collection of different contemporary things that are going on at the same time that have yet to have enough time to full gain a name for itself to truly define what it should be called.
I do think there is a lot of hybridization going on. The two paradigms I identified aren't always black and white. There are plenty of buildings and architectures occupying a grey area in between. Like I said on the last page, the dichotomy is just a mental shortcut.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyscrapersOfNewYork
Though what he was stating was that many large modern tower's fail to meet the street level in a way thats inviting to the general public
This is a good point. I think modernism produces better skyscrapers than traditionalism, but fails at the street level. Take the TransAmerica Pyramid as an example. I'm sure we can all agree it's one of the most successful and iconic modern skyscrapers ever built. But it's terrible at the street level. I went searching for a street-level picture of it on flickr and didn't get to one until the 5th page of search results (nobody takes pictures of the base).

I'd like to see some experimentation with skyscrapers organized like the graphic below (forgive the 5 second sketch), which could produce the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, that would take a difficult collaboration. You'd need multiple architects trained in opposing paradigms willing to put aside both their egos and dogma.

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  #50  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 6:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
I'd like to see some experimentation with skyscrapers organized like the graphic below (forgive the 5 second sketch), which could produce the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, that would take a difficult collaboration. You'd need multiple architects trained in opposing paradigms willing to put aside both their egos and dogma.

So you would like to see more buildings like New York's Hearst Tower! ...except that the entire facade would be have to be designed by present day architects since the supply of suitable (and gut-able) Art Deco low-rises is limited.

Izabella Y on Flickr

I agree with your general point. Many modern towers can be improved by adding human-scaled detail at the base so that pedestrians are not confronted by a gigantic and monolithic abstract shape at street level.
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  #51  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 8:27 PM
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^
Hearst Tower (which I like very much) is the most obvious example, but I'd prefer to see several narrow buildings as the base rather than one single wide one. Part of the problem is simply scale - buildings that take up whole blocks are not ideal. Also, I don't care if the base buildings are historic; I just want them to have lots of small-scale details so they are interesting to pedestrians.
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  #52  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 8:33 PM
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I'm reminded of the IAC headquarters as the opposite of that. It's perhaps some of the best and worst of the modern or "neo-modern" building movement. It's bold, beautiful and interesting, but it's ploppable. It would be just as at home in a suburban corporate campus as the Manhattan corner it sits on. It's really about the building itself, everything else is secondary.
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  #53  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 8:52 PM
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^^ the Legacy, a new sleek & glassy condo tower in chicago, was built on a site previously occupied by several historic structures, but their facades were saved and reapplied to the new building such that is still looks like several old pre-war buildings at street level, with a modern shiny tower floating above. i'd post a pic, but the wabash elevated tracks make it a really hard relationship to capture in a photograph.

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  #54  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 9:11 PM
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We have some examples of old facades being incorporated into larger-scale redevelopments here as well (example, example). I like that. But I'd also like to see new buildings built with ground levels just as good.

Also, for the record, facadism isn't really good enough. It helps, but the perfect building should also have frequent entrances to unique indoor spaces, and (on retail streets) diverse storefronts. "Entrances per block" is a key factor in urban design. Of course, lots of entrances without an adequately interesting & diverse facade is also not ideal. The perfect building would have both.
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  #55  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 9:38 PM
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I like these, but they're traditional/modern hybrids with a lot of non-geometric decoration. These are hybrids too, although I don't care for them as much. These and these are underwhelming, and quite banal.
How is the second example you like a hybrid? Show me one old townhome design that has a flat, overhanging roof, lots of glass, stained wood panels, and stucco mixed with black roman brick. Hell, show me any old design that even uses one of those elements. There is literally nothing historical about those. The closest you could come is saying they are townhomes and people used to build townhomes back in the day...
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  #56  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 9:41 PM
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Show me one old townhome design that has a flat, overhanging roof, lots of glass, stained wood panels, and stucco mixed with black roman brick. Hell, show me any old design that even uses one of those elements.
Please go back and read any of the several times I explained the difference between "traditional" and "historicist".

I am not talking about "old-looking".
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  #57  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 9:55 PM
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We have some examples of old facades being incorporated into larger-scale redevelopments here as well (example, example). I like that. But I'd also like to see new buildings built with ground levels just as good.

Also, for the record, facadism isn't really good enough. It helps, but the perfect building should also have frequent entrances to unique indoor spaces, and (on retail streets) diverse storefronts. "Entrances per block" is a key factor in urban design. Of course, lots of entrances without an adequately interesting & diverse facade is also not ideal. The perfect building would have both.
Not an old base though definitely one that is built to human scale.

The Beekman Tower


http://static.worldarchitecturenews....man%205big.jpg

and another older one Madison avenue attached to the Hemsley Palace Hotel

457 Madison


http://www.emporis.com/img/6/2008/11/663877.jpg


http://www.emporis.com/img/6/2003/06/197139.jpg
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  #58  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 10:08 PM
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Please go back and read any of the several times I explained the difference between "traditional" and "historicist".

I am not talking about "old-looking".
OK, well it's not traditional either unless you think good urban design is exclusively traditional. I mean what architecture doesn't "seek to create beauty through decoration". You don't understand the history of modernism if you think that the great Modernists didn't decorate their buildings. Even Mies buildings were heavily decorative, he just used steel detailing to decorate his buildings.

If you are going to use that definition then you are simply talking about the difference between cheap buildings and expensive ones. For example, my house was built at the peak of the Victorian period, yet has absolutely no ornament (and I like that way!) at all. Its literally two full floors of siding with a third, peaked floor, as the attic. What's the difference between that and a Victorian monstrosity dripping in carved wood? Is the Victorian house more "traditional" than my 1898 worker's cottage? No, the difference is my house was probably built by the people who lived in it while the Victorian was built by some rich merchant who paid out the ass for a fancy "dollhouse".

Same applies throughout the history of architecture. Even at the peak of the International Style the highest end building were dripping in decoration. You may not see it as decoration yourself, but the Cor-Ten on the Daley Center in Chicago is not just structural. It is specifically chosen to look a certain way and appear ultra strong and powerful. There is a distinct aesthetic, informed by the structure of the building itself, but expressed explicitly through the "decorative" way in which the steel was constructed and the way the corners were finished, and the way in which the glass meets the plaza, and the way in which the granite of the plaza matches and complements the steel and glass. If they didn't decorate it, it would just be a box made of the cheapest available materials with a large concrete plaza. But they did decorate it, they just used materials that you don't consider to be decorative, in a decorative manner. And to that I say, wood was not originally decorative, but someone found out how to carve it. Stone was not originally decorative, but someone decided to start making ionic columns with it. Brick was not originally decorative until someone decided to lay it in fancy patterns. And, in 1850, steel and glass were not decorative until Mies and others came along and used it as decoration.

So I say that, if those row homes are "traditional", then Daley Plaza and 860-880 LSD must be traditional as well because they are just as decorative. Of course not all modern buildings are so delicately detailed, but neither were all old buildings like my house. That's because 860-880 was the Victorian home of its day while the bland concrete boxes that line LSD were the workers cottages of their day. So if I take your definition that is the conclusion that I come to and it says nothing about modernism since the pinnacle modernist buildings were clearly traditional.


I leave you with a picture of one of the most decorative buildings around, the Inland Steel Building:


columbia.edu

Inland Steel is covered in stainless steel panels which cost fantastically more to fabricate that just about any other logical material that could be used to clad a building. The green glass was also more expensive and chosen to complement the steel. The columns and spandrels that jut out are also decorative and add expense. The cantilevered floor plates at the end of the building are also purely decorative. When you total up all these extra expenses, something like this couldn't even be built today because it uses such premium finishes. So it may not look decorative to you, but it most certainly is and is decorated to achieve a very specific aesthetic.

On a side note, I also like this picture because it shows the building in context. Such a building looks like a fabulous jewel among ratty old boulders. This radical newness was the goal of the modernists. They wanted to achieve a new aesthetic that would change the way we work and live and its quite clear from pictures like this and the subsequent acceptance of modern design that they were wildly successful in achieving such goals.

Last edited by Nowhereman1280; Aug 4, 2011 at 10:29 PM.
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  #59  
Old Posted Aug 5, 2011, 2:50 AM
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I love the new Beekman Tower, everytime I see it I fall in love again.


http://static.worldarchitecturenews....203%20main.jpg
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  #60  
Old Posted Aug 5, 2011, 3:36 AM
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Except Beekman is a raging example of post-modernism.
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