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The Architecture Thread - Page 77

post #1141 of 4539
Sorry. I misstated. The cost of building did not include land. The comparisons are solely the cost/sq. foot that came back from the contractors after the bidding. In Europe, a concrete building might cost 125-150% of one in the US. A building made of steel might cost about 150% of one in the US. A building made of brick will cost about 175%. As the type of construction trends towards longevity, the ratio between its cost in Europe compared to its cost in the US rises. This is due to labor and energy.
post #1142 of 4539
Originally Posted by mordecai View Post
Sigh. One point is that the structures built by these architects, loosely defined as Modernist, were part of a formal and cultural trajectory. They were not imposed on a public that had no use for them, though perhaps the shelf life on that use was much shorter with some forms than it was for others. All of the architects I mentioned are part of that trajectory. You make arguments that seem dismissive to a century of evolving forms, but when pushed further claim that you were obviously just referring to International Style, or brutalism, or whatever.
Then perhaps my interpretation was ungenerous (though what else can you expect from a Canadian dickhole? ), but whereas I have addressed several times the fact of historical continuity, you have yet to address the way practitioners of what is today considered to be modernist architecture self-consciously saw themselves as making a break with historical forms of construction. Even the fact of historical continuity which you've pointed out doesn't take into account overarching trends, which were still overwhelmingly 'traditional' (even if they incorporated new technologies) up to the mid-twentieth century.
post #1143 of 4539
1.) I only half consider the view of the any artist when interpreting their work, and I don't believe that the majority of architects now viewed as Modernist then saw their careers as defined predominantly by a break with history. I haven't addressed it because I don't agree with it and think such a reading is a shallow endeavor.

2.) The Canadian dickhole thing was a reference to a joke you made (I thought) to someone a while ago. I thought it was funny.

3.) If I feel like it later I will expand on 1.) I do have a few sort of general feelings about Modernism as a byproduct of the rise of cities and about the application of residential traditions to new structures/forms and vice versa during the Industrial Age, but they can be irritating to articulate, and of course nobody really cares.
post #1144 of 4539
Originally Posted by roryben View Post
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.
post #1145 of 4539
+1 Michel Ragon writes that without urbanism, architecture is just an object; without architecture, urbanism is just sociology. I hardly see any interaction between the two in writings about cities.
post #1146 of 4539
post #1147 of 4539
Originally Posted by StephenHero View Post
There have been significant public housing developments since the 60's. In fact it wouldn't surprise me if the majority are from after that period. The reasoning for those design choices in the 50's and 60's can partially be attributed to the political ideology of brutalist and modernist design. The public housing contracts and design influence were going through LeCorbusier and the Bauhaus members, and the plasticity of concrete was a defining element of the urban planning schemes they championed. Concrete was seen as a non-hierarchical material in relation to class. The dissolution of the class structure was one of the main tenets of their schemes. An international architecture in concrete afforded the same level of living standards to all members of society and oppressed any inclination for members of society to assert their superiority or individuality with more luxurious materials.

Yes. All the projects I worked on were public projects with land allotted from previous projects that had been torn down: a fire station, two housing developments, a park, and a theatre.

Excuse me for jumping in on this thread, but I have to say that this is an excellent and succinct statement. It's often the case that we look at what I call "orthodox modernism" apart from the rest of the intellectual history of the last century. This is unfortunate because it misses what modernism was supposed to be about in the first place.

Again, well-said.
post #1148 of 4539
Originally Posted by holymadness View Post
I didn't say it existed outside of a historical continuum (it can't want to be a break from the past without acknowledging the past), I said its practitioners and theorists attempted to be self-consciously ahistorical.

This is not a metaphysical debate, it's an aesthetic (and to a certain extent, urban) one.

Also, guys like Gropius said as much. For them, the history of architecture served largely as a model of what not to do; the future was a blank sheet. Modern materials science and rationality would dictate the forms to come.
post #1149 of 4539
I think it is just as important to look at what was happening at the time, what survived, what was sanctified and what was rejected as it is to study the individual manifestos of architects (or any artists) and their self-defined movements. A lot of people in several different mediums thought they were reinventing the wheel in the first half of the twentieth century.
post #1150 of 4539
It does seem preposterously arrogant now to think that one is starting not just another style of architecture, but the last style, the final word in the art.

To my mind, their notion of rationality was contrived and limited. So was their notion of humanism. We are not, after all, hunks of capital.
post #1151 of 4539
Originally Posted by Sazerac View Post
It does seem preposterously arrogant now to think that one is starting not just another style of architecture, but the last style, the final word in the art.

To my mind, their notion of rationality was contrived and limited. So was their notion of humanism. We are not, after all, hunks of capital.

My ho's say otherwise.
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