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  #81  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2012, 2:07 PM
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Originally Posted by mhays View Post
It's pure speculation that the public might rise up to protect modern buildings like we protected older buildings in the 60s, 70s, etc. It's not looking likely so far...there's no indication of any popular outpouring even on a moderate scale....
We protected older buildings in the 60s and 70s??

The 60s and 70s were the worst decades for razing older buildings in favour of concrete bunkers.. At least in my city it was.
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  #82  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2012, 5:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays View Post
It's pure speculation that the public might rise up to protect modern buildings like we protected older buildings in the 60s, 70s, etc. It's not looking likely so far...there's no indication of any popular outpouring even on a moderate scale....
Except that... it's already happening. There's been a big fuss over Goldberg's Prentice Hospital. There was a big fuss over Robin Hood Gardens. Architects and preservationists were mobilized to protect them. People were commenting that if the buildings were renovated they'd love to live there. Even nearby me, in a suburb of Detroit a small library designed by Marcel Breuer was going to be demolished until their inboxes got flooded.

I know in your circles styrofoam faux historic schools and strip malls are all the rage, and that might be the majority, but there's a substantial group of people, in different circles, who are aware of design and are in the market for it.

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Originally Posted by The_Architect View Post
We protected older buildings in the 60s and 70s??

The 60s and 70s were the worst decades for razing older buildings in favour of concrete bunkers.. At least in my city it was.
Along with the 50s, 40s, 30s, 20s, 10s.........
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  #83  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2012, 5:19 PM
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It has been said before and it should be said again.
At it's Core this is NOT about saving historical buildings, It is about Saving "pretty" historical buildings.

Up until the 50's this was not a problem.

We lost uncounted romanesq and gothic treasures around the turn of the century, but they were replaced with Neo-Gothic works of art. The in the 20's and 30's we lost hundreds of older works, but those were replaced with lovely towers of Art Deco.

But then, in the 60's and 50's, what replaced them? Big Boring Boxes of Brutalism. And NOW people realize that what is replacing the old often turned out to be crap.
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  #84  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2012, 7:41 PM
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No, many of the buildings being demolished are good buildings, and there's a tremendously rich history with tons of great buildings between all of the different movements of the last 70 years. They've just fallen out of favor. All of those older styles had also fallen out of favor.

If you go back to the 1950s and show people pictures of modern buildings they would respond with words like progress, civic pride, tastefullness, quality, healthy, and if you showed people pictures of prewar buildings they would respond with words like slums, abandonment, neglect, gaudy, obsolete, and unsafe. And doesn't that sound familiar?

When Jane Jacobs came around, she wasn't on the side of popular opinion, she was fighting to change popular opinion.
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  #85  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2012, 7:44 PM
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Originally Posted by The_Architect View Post
We protected older buildings in the 60s and 70s??

The 60s and 70s were the worst decades for razing older buildings in favour of concrete bunkers.. At least in my city it was.
My city and many others had strong preservation movements in the 60s and 70s.

Locally, highlights include saving the Pioneer Square neighborhood and the Pike Place Market neighborhood, the latter culmnating in a popular vote in 1971. I won't count the successful anti-freeway protests.
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  #86  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2012, 7:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Jasoncw View Post
Except that... it's already happening. There's been a big fuss over Goldberg's Prentice Hospital. There was a big fuss over Robin Hood Gardens. Architects and preservationists were mobilized to protect them. People were commenting that if the buildings were renovated they'd love to live there. Even nearby me, in a suburb of Detroit a small library designed by Marcel Breuer was going to be demolished until their inboxes got flooded.

I know in your circles styrofoam faux historic schools and strip malls are all the rage, and that might be the majority, but there's a substantial group of people, in different circles, who are aware of design and are in the market for it.
Your second paragraph is incorrect. I've said nothing about faux historic or strip malls. Maybe read more carefully next time?

Your first paragraph confuses fairly limited architect/fan-led efforts with broader community uprisings.
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  #87  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2012, 8:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays View Post
My city and many others had strong preservation movements in the 60s and 70s.

Locally, highlights include saving the Pioneer Square neighborhood and the Pike Place Market neighborhood, the latter culmnating in a popular vote in 1971. I won't count the successful anti-freeway protests.
Anti-freeway movement =/= preservationist movement. Anti-freeway movements were not against destroying architecture, but against people having their entire community razed for a fucking freeway.

You are obviously out of touch with architectural history if you think anything but the earliest seeds of preservationism were around in the 60's. The Chicago Stock Exchange wasn't even demolished until 1973 which is the act credited with touching off the Chicago preservationist movement in earnest. Hell Penn Station wasn't even demolished until 1964 which is widely considered to be the founding event of preservationism. It took decades for them to finally get organized and it was led not by the general public, but by historical and architectural elites who saw what was happening and campaigned to sway public opinion.
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  #88  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2012, 9:54 PM
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What part of "I won't count the successful anti-freeway protests" was unclear? Are you not reading carefully either?

As for Chicago, apparently it wasn't on the leading edge.

You seem to think that "seeds" of a potential movement automatically result in a movement arising. It's pure speculation.

Last edited by mhays; Jan 19, 2012 at 10:04 PM.
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  #89  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2012, 10:11 PM
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^^^ Your post is confusing and sounds as if you are saying the Pioneer Square and Pike Place neighborhoods were threatened by freeways, but that you won't count other freeway protests.

If that's correct, then what preservationist movements are you talking about?
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  #90  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2012, 10:47 PM
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mhays, i've read your posts. you're conflating architectural fashion and your own personal preferences with "worthwhile" architecture. you're also conflating architectural style and functional urbanism.

so you like historicist styles. that's your prerogative. yet you go on a tear about modernist/brutalist stuff in general, and flat out say it's not worth preserving. yet you fail to realize that architectural "worth" is always subjective and in the eye of the beholder. this argument isn't new. in the 18th and 19th centuries similar debates raged regarding the frilly, heavily ornamented baroque and rococo styles vs. the cleaner, historical neoclassical styles. these debates may seem funny today, and most people (including many architecture buffs) wouldn't make a distinction between the styles. see how your argument is similar to the historicist argument?

things are cool when they're new. then they get old and become uncool. then after a protracted period of time, it becomes retro-cool, that's when the remaining examples are seen as valuable. think of 1970s era AMC pacers. they were roundly seen as ugly, but collectors are snatching them up now. you might not believe it today, but the atlantic richfield building in LA and the singer building in nyc were decidedly unfashionable (despite the anger of aficionados) in the 60s. preserving them was deemed to be more trouble than they were worth. fast forward to 80s miami, and a later generation of art deco/streamline modern buildings were on the chopping block. would you have preserved it? fast forward yet another generation to the beginning of the new century. 1960s era "googie" architecture in southern california was being trashed. would you have preserved it?

people are not rational creatures. they may not admit it, but their likes and dislikes are strongly influenced by their environment and the prevailing normative standard. if you really wanted to argue, you'd insist that the modernist/brutalist stuff is better off being demolished... "just because". let's see; the tokyo olympic arena, the twa terminal, etc.

then you go on a tangent over bad urban planning and historicism. eh... plenty of historicist styles are being aped in car-dependent greenfield sprawl. it's as if their gullible buyers gush at the gables and porches and overlook the fact that their future lives will be spent on the highway.
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  #91  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2012, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 View Post
^^^ Your post is confusing and sounds as if you are saying the Pioneer Square and Pike Place neighborhoods were threatened by freeways, but that you won't count other freeway protests.

If that's correct, then what preservationist movements are you talking about?
The two I'm talking about were Pioneer Square, culmnating in 1970, and the 1963-1971 battle for the Pike Place Market that ended in a public vote.

Pioneer Square was the result of widespread community support along with leadership by neighborhood leaders. The Pike Place Market, I'll concede, was about the Market broadly speaking, not just its buildings, though the alternate proposal would have replaced much of the market aspect.
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  #92  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2012, 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by slide_rule View Post
mhays, i've read your posts. you're conflating architectural fashion and your own personal preferences with "worthwhile" architecture. you're also conflating architectural style and functional urbanism.

so you like historicist styles. that's your prerogative. yet you go on a tear about modernist/brutalist stuff in general, and flat out say it's not worth preserving. yet you fail to realize that architectural "worth" is always subjective and in the eye of the beholder. this argument isn't new. in the 18th and 19th centuries similar debates raged regarding the frilly, heavily ornamented baroque and rococo styles vs. the cleaner, historical neoclassical styles. these debates may seem funny today, and most people (including many architecture buffs) wouldn't make a distinction between the styles. see how your argument is similar to the historicist argument?

things are cool when they're new. then they get old and become uncool. then after a protracted period of time, it becomes retro-cool, that's when the remaining examples are seen as valuable. think of 1970s era AMC pacers. they were roundly seen as ugly, but collectors are snatching them up now. you might not believe it today, but the atlantic richfield building in LA and the singer building in nyc were decidedly unfashionable (despite the anger of aficionados) in the 60s. preserving them was deemed to be more trouble than they were worth. fast forward to 80s miami, and a later generation of art deco/streamline modern buildings were on the chopping block. would you have preserved it? fast forward yet another generation to the beginning of the new century. 1960s era "googie" architecture in southern california was being trashed. would you have preserved it?

people are not rational creatures. they may not admit it, but their likes and dislikes are strongly influenced by their environment and the prevailing normative standard. if you really wanted to argue, you'd insist that the modernist/brutalist stuff is better off being demolished... "just because". let's see; the tokyo olympic arena, the twa terminal, etc.

then you go on a tangent over bad urban planning and historicism. eh... plenty of historicist styles are being aped in car-dependent greenfield sprawl. it's as if their gullible buyers gush at the gables and porches and overlook the fact that their future lives will be spent on the highway.
Picking off a couple tidbits:

What collectors do is exactly the sort of designer/fan thing I'm talking about, not indicative that AMC Pacers are loved. Of course the general public doesn't care about them, and would probably call them crap in any poll.

Not sure what your last paragraph is saying. I'm saying they buy houses with cues that draw from historical styles because they like those styles. That doesn't mean I like the snouts, square footage, insustainability, or low construction quality. Also, their preference of styles isn't related to their desire for big driveways.

When you talk about what's "worth saving," it's often about economics as well as functionality. The Singer Building didn't offer big floorplates or up-to-date systems. Renovating it would have cost as much or more as building new. The owners wanting to tear it down probably had that as their top two concerns, not architectural style.

For the record, there are only some extreme examples of brutalism, etc., that I'd rather tear down. Most of the rest I'd simply not protect. A few I actually like.
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  #93  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2012, 2:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays View Post
I'm saying they buy houses with cues that draw from historical styles because they like those styles. That doesn't mean I like the snouts, square footage, insustainability, or low construction quality. Also, their preference of styles isn't related to their desire for big driveways.
I don't think they care much about styles. It's more about what is familiar. Unlike with large buildings, there is a general concensus in our society that a residential house must look a certain way, like it came from a certain era, to be considered "human".

The similarities between most single detached houses built today and the houses they are "based" on from a century ago is extremely superficial. Many of them are so simply that they could very well be considered modern, and not traditional, which throws your argument that people want those old styles out the window.

And most of the time when someone with money builds the house they dream of, what does it look like? Why, it's often modern and contemporary, not a poor facsimile of traditional styles!
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  #94  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2012, 2:49 AM
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I've heard that 10% of the house market is modern overall. At the high end I agree that modern is more common than that, but it's still much smaller. One reason might be that modern can be far more successful with very high-end materials, workmanship, and even architectural detailing (vs. cheap modern).

Whether the 90% are buying what they like or just what they're comfortable with is mostly semantics.
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  #95  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2012, 3:13 AM
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mhays, you're really rambling, and you're not exactly responding to others' arguments.

do you really see the twa terminal and the yoyogi national gymnasium as expendable? that's on the level of wanting to ditch the sagrada familia, the eiffel tower, the bank of china, etc. sadly there are more than a few of you out there.

say you dislike pacers, and you include every example of brutalism with the pacers of the world. BUT in previous generations, other styles were seen as the architectural equivalent of pacers. this goes for buildings like the richfield tower in los angeles and the singer in new york. both were torn down in the 60s.

richfield tower--fussy machine made art deco
singer building--ersatz second empire revival

in the 60s the PREVAILING ATTITUDE held these buildings to be expendable.

look at miami beach. its art deco/tropical modern/streamline moderne buildings are now roundly appreciated by professionals to architectural tourists to the paris hilton crowd. it's also the best example of functioning urbanity in the miami era. yet a generation ago, most people saw it as an eyesore, full of outdated and unfashionably ugly buildings that catered to old geezers from new york.

the list goes on. what about the teardowns of so cal's remaining googie buildings? there are a small number of architects and activists who are fighting for their preservation. yet they're just pacers to you.

you don't want to admit it, but "taste" in architecture is heavily influenced by the prevailing fashion. the currently unfashionable styles aren't objectively worthy of a mass teardown, just like the unfashionable styles of earlier generations (art deco, second empire revival, streamline moderne) were singled out for demolition, but were later re-assessed to have their own qualities. finally, people are not completely rational. nostalgia plays a role in our likes and dislikes. advocating the demolition of particular style may sound good right now, but it will be seen as a mistake in the future.

you still haven't addressed the similarities between your lauding of historicism and hatred for brutalism/modernism; and the baroque vs. neoclassical argument.

then you talk about insustainability (sic). if only functioning urbanism were contingent on style.
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  #96  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2012, 3:32 AM
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Taste is also influenced by some elemental aspects of design, like detail, activity on the street, base/middle/top, strength when it's called for, etc. Some of that isn't treated well by modern principles. So people gravitate toward buildings that represent thousands of years of acquired design wisdom. That's why some styles have been popular for a brief snapshot in time (if that!) and others have been more lasting.

I don't know why you keep trying to get my reaction to specific buildings, but here goes: Richfield Tower is nice except for the ugly top, which I'd call blight on the skyline. Yoyogi isn't a big deal...not the worst but not great, and poorly integrated with the city, though I don't think I went by it on my single visit. TWA is ok. Yes, googie architecture is a GMC Pacer to me.

To consider any of those even 10% in the Eiffel Tower's league as a preservation target (based on architecture plus other intantibles) strikes me as a ARish concept totally out of touch with the public. I'd love to see an AIA poll on that one!

You didn't see the part where I said I like some modern stuff, and I think I even said I like some brutalism.

I haven't checked to see if all of your jumble of points has been answered.
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  #97  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2012, 4:50 AM
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The Eiffel tower was a hotly debated issue a century ago and most Parisians hated it , thought it was an ugly blight on the city and wanted it to be torn down.
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  #98  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2012, 5:03 AM
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Yoyogi isn't a big deal...not the worst but not great, and poorly integrated with the city, though I don't think I went by it on my single visit
*sighs* it's as if you're wilfully ignorant. you refuse to acknowledge the similarities between your mindset and the mindsets of those who advocated the idiot teardowns of the past.

YOU: all for nuking brutalism
Others similar to you circa 1965: all for nuking the singer and atlantic richfield
" circa 1975: all for nuking miami beach

you don't like yoyogi and twa, whatever. you don't realize these buildings had many innovations and influenced subsequent design. you might as well advocate for the destruction of the seagram building, sydney opera house, chicago marina towers, and the bank of china tower too.

btw, architectural record isn't about architecture. it's really more about various materials suppliers shilling their products and various paid off editorials. at least it's declined quite a bit in recent years.

if you were okay with nuking the buildings that don't comport with your narrow view of aesthetics, you're passively okay with padding some developer's profit margin. the need for a developer to get even wealthier is the driving force behind these demolitions. the buildings were weren't truly replaced, and subsequent generations will rue the fact that people of an earlier era were so egotistical, small-minded, and dismissive of their own heritage.

you STILL AVOID answering the question. how is your "pull 'em down" attitude any different from the hordes of architecture snobs who were in favor of nuking miami beach, or any number of then-loathed/now missed buildings? see, you cannot substantiate your initial assertion. your attitude is hypocritical, and there's no way you can justify it.

*edit* i still find it amazing that you'd conflate an entire genre/generation of architecture with being expendable. there is a lot of brutalism that was built to a cost, and is now nearing the end of its lifespan. at the same time, there is no shortage of brutalism that is worth preserving. if you're in seattle, drive two hours north to vancouver and see some of arthur erickson's works.

Last edited by slide_rule; Jan 20, 2012 at 5:17 AM.
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  #99  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2012, 6:27 AM
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The Eiffel tower was a hotly debated issue a century ago and most Parisians hated it , thought it was an ugly blight on the city and wanted it to be torn down.
And it grew on them. Relatively quickly it became an icon, which it's remained.
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  #100  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2012, 6:35 AM
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*sighs* it's as if you're wilfully ignorant. you refuse to acknowledge the similarities between your mindset and the mindsets of those who advocated the idiot teardowns of the past.

YOU: all for nuking brutalism
Others similar to you circa 1965: all for nuking the singer and atlantic richfield
" circa 1975: all for nuking miami beach

you don't like yoyogi and twa, whatever. you don't realize these buildings had many innovations and influenced subsequent design. you might as well advocate for the destruction of the seagram building, sydney opera house, chicago marina towers, and the bank of china tower too.

btw, architectural record isn't about architecture. it's really more about various materials suppliers shilling their products and various paid off editorials. at least it's declined quite a bit in recent years.

if you were okay with nuking the buildings that don't comport with your narrow view of aesthetics, you're passively okay with padding some developer's profit margin. the need for a developer to get even wealthier is the driving force behind these demolitions. the buildings were weren't truly replaced, and subsequent generations will rue the fact that people of an earlier era were so egotistical, small-minded, and dismissive of their own heritage.

you STILL AVOID answering the question. how is your "pull 'em down" attitude any different from the hordes of architecture snobs who were in favor of nuking miami beach, or any number of then-loathed/now missed buildings? see, you cannot substantiate your initial assertion. your attitude is hypocritical, and there's no way you can justify it.

*edit* i still find it amazing that you'd conflate an entire genre/generation of architecture with being expendable. there is a lot of brutalism that was built to a cost, and is now nearing the end of its lifespan. at the same time, there is no shortage of brutalism that is worth preserving. if you're in seattle, drive two hours north to vancouver and see some of arthur erickson's works.
And you're equating a "mindset" regarding fad buildings vs. buildings that exhibit our combined history of architectural lessons learned. That seems to be the basis of most of your points.

Your point about those buildings influencing future buildings is relevant only in the "buildings as museum pieces" mindset. It's not relevant to what's good for a city or neighborhood, or tenants.
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