Originally Posted by roryben
It's a sweeping statement to say "modernist architecture" is so bad. But, to be fair, most of the things people seem to be posting and liking in here are smaller residential or boutique-office kind of size, and mostly seemingly surrounded by plush greenery and mountain views. The nature aspect makes all these projects easier to swallow. I'd like to see some examples of more urban projects that people are into, and some larger projects in here that people like.
I think this is a fair point and I think the main reason for people's distaste of modern urban architecture is related to my biggest problem with the profession as a whole. There is now a much broader range of materials and forms to use, and because of that, there is less homogeneity and complementary design than earlier centuries. Before the 20th century, when materials were mostly limited to those locally available, the architects were limited to building methods and styles that inherently complemented each other and they were forced to distinguish themselves by technical refinement and ornamental skill. It's not that they weren't trying to separate their buildings, but they just didn't have the means to create truly divergent styles. Right now, there is little interest among most architects to let their designs defer to the context around them because the business interests of architecture is more centered around the style of their architecture than the actual technical refinement and quality of it. Besides having different tastes in what makes good architecture and the economic realities that necessitate faster construction, many practices feel the need for their projects to visually stand out as a means for notoriety, so they hedge their designs to the side of over-design and visual noise for a contrived "wow" factor. Clients often have bad taste and the incentive for an architect to give them a bad design outside the public's best interest is greater than the incentive to give them a good design at the expense of future business. While the interests of the client are important, architecture is a mostly permanent, multi generational undertaking, so the effects of the design are not limited to the clients in the way that the purchase of a hideous car is, and burden of clients to undertake socially responsible design that benefits those interacting with the buildings beyond their own lifespans isn't being met. Modern London is the gold standard for cluttered, narcissistic design manifestos.
Bond Street is the most architecturally eclectic part pre-20th century London , but even with the most explicit aspirations for distinction, everything is still relatively homogeneous and complementary because of the material and formal limitations.