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Thread: Future of architecture

  1. #26
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    ....So, the "solution" may be something historical purists hate: carefully modernist interiors in the original shell?
    Dontcha know? It's what "tout le London" has been doing for a decade, dahling!
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    My problem is I am schizophrenic. I hate Victorian interiors, the gee-gaws, the tassels, the gold-painted trim, the warren of small rooms so that each servant has her own chamber, the overwrought woodwork. Yuck to all of it. I don't even like the Arts and Crafts interiors that were a reaction to Victorian excess-still too dark and carved and small roomed. At the same time, these buildings are indeed "Gifts to the street." So, the "solution" may be something historical purists hate: carefully modernist interiors in the original shell?
    I don't care too much for Victorian decorating, but I adore Victorian interiors (the patterned hardware, the woodwork, the ability to partition off rooms so you can actually use them for a variety of purposes) - they can be very light and airy if decorated right.

    This is a pet peeve of mine - if you want to live in a Victorian or craftsman house with a sleek modern interior, then either build a new house or buy an old one that has already been remodelled beyond recognition. Everyone who lives in the house after you will hate you if you were the one to gut it. I had an uncle who modernized a Victorian house that was fairly well intact when he started. He then had a terrible time trying to sell it because most of the people interested in buying a Victorian house didn't want to spend the money it would have required to put it back to the way it was.

  3. #28

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    Quote Originally posted by Jack
    I don't care too much for Victorian decorating, but I adore Victorian interiors (the patterned hardware, the woodwork, the ability to partition off rooms so you can actually use them for a variety of purposes) - they can be very light and airy if decorated right.

    This is a pet peeve of mine - if you want to live in a Victorian or craftsman house with a sleek modern interior, then either build a new house or buy an old one that has already been remodelled beyond recognition. Everyone who lives in the house after you will hate you if you were the one to gut it. I had an uncle who modernized a Victorian house that was fairly well intact when he started. He then had a terrible time trying to sell it because most of the people interested in buying a Victorian house didn't want to spend the money it would have required to put it back to the way it was.
    I don't need to partition off spaces, myself, so....And, I can admire/appreciate the patterned woodwork and other details, but it's not particularly something I would want for myself. Note that living in the Northern California housing market, I cannot envision moving out of my sagging old townhouse absent six magic numbers tomorrow night

    Are the residents of central cities then, condemned to live in houses frozen in time? Can a house never evolve? If not, then you will see more losses of the building stock, which I would dislike seeing in a place like San Francisco.

    Admittedly, you shouldn't gut the house and install low fibreboard ceilings and such. Or go all British minimalist. But there are sympathetic compromises. This month's Dwell magazine (awaits attack from SAC for being an evil yuppie) has a nice, modest remodelling that I think is pretty sympathetic.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Are the residents of central cities then, condemned to live in houses frozen in time? Can a house never evolve? If not, then you will see more losses of the building stock, which I would dislike seeing in a place like San Francisco.

    Admittedly, you shouldn't gut the house and install low fibreboard ceilings and such. Or go all British minimalist. But there are sympathetic compromises. This month's Dwell magazine (awaits attack from SAC for being an evil yuppie) has a nice, modest remodelling that I think is pretty sympathetic.
    Sympathetic remodelling is very appropriate - I had interpretted your original post as meaning to gut the house out and go all out modern (since you had said all that stuff about not liking woodwork, etc.).

    I think of a compromise as being updating the kitchens/bathrooms and removing a few walls, but otherwise leaving the woodwork, fireplace mantles, stained glass, etc alone. I don't think everyone who wants to live in an old house should be condemned to live in a museum, but such people should think for a bit when deciding to meddle with a house that has been lucky enough to retain many of its original details for 100 or more years.
    Last edited by Jack; 30 Jan 2006 at 4:37 PM.

  5. #30

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    Quote Originally posted by Jack
    Sympathetic remodelling is very appropriate - I had interpretted your original post as meaning to gut the house out and go all out modern (since you had said all that stuff about not liking woodwork, etc.).

    I think of a compromise as being updating the kitchens/bathrooms and removing a few walls, but otherwise leaving the woodwork, fireplace mantles, stained glass, etc alone. I don't think everyone who wants to live in an old house should be condemned to live in a museum, but such people should think for a bit when deciding to meddle with a house that has been lucky enough to retain many of its original details for 100 or more years.
    I would probably remove more walls than you, and any woodwork removed, if any, would be very nicely and gently stored. but this is a very good compromise. I just want more light! Part of the problem (as you eluded to) is all the "decor" that fills many such houses-and it doesn;t have to.

    Of course, I have too much stuff on my walls and too many books and I collect too much stuff, so who am I kidding. My mdoern townhouses doesn't look minimalist at all

    Now I just need to win that LOTTO prize

  6. #31
    The problem with those Pierre Koenig houses, as I see them, is that they are completely dependent on their natural surroundings. The concept is to contrast natural elements of the outdoors with the technological ultraprecision in the house. When you look out of your house you have nature ahead of you. The same thing was done with Phillip Johnson's Glass House. If you were to take the house out of its context and put it next to a generic McMansion it would look pathetic.

    I don't think this would work in an urban environment because there's just no nature around to provide contrast and fulfill the human need for natural things. In an urban environment the architecture itself has to provide the natural features, which is what traditional architecture has always done.

    Not that it matters what you do with the inside of your house. If you don't like it you can always tear it out and start over. What you do on the outside affects the street's design, and that should be limited.

  7. #32

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    I agree vis a vis the Koenig houses. There are still modernist city houses I enjoy, but as we've all agreed, it's much, much harder to do them "right" than the use of classical elements.

    I could actually live in a Georgian or Federal house. The overwrought trimwork and other geegaws are replaced by proprtion and light and carefully restrained moldings and trim. Don't want to live in the East, really, so that won't happen either

    Quote Originally posted by jaws

    Not that it matters what you do with the inside of your house. If you don't like it you can always tear it out and start over. What you do on the outside affects the street's design, and that should be limited.
    Of course, these "limitations" will all be PRIVATELY imposed (and governed by a private HOA that goes far beyond any government zoning board in ridiculousness)

  8. #33
    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Of course, these "limitations" will all be PRIVATELY imposed (and governed by a private HOA that goes far beyond any government zoning board in ridiculousness)
    If you want to get into that, there's no reason why privately-imposed zoning regulations would be worse than a government zoning board's. In fact they would be lighter and clearer because the owner of the street would maximize the value of the city, and excessive regulation imposes unnecessary costs. The private operator would dismiss frivolous codes and apply only beneficial codes.

  9. #34
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    STOP IT JAWS, JUST STOP IT!

    Re. the modernist houses, I was not thinking glass boxes (not very imaginative that"..take one golfish bowl..." more of some of Gropius' "cottages".

    I'm thinking a (small) set of intersecting parallelepipedes, with broad, identical simply framed windows in white fine-grain conrete exterior. Or even, for apartments, something along these lines:

    http://www.greatbuildings.com/cgi-bi...9_PICT1520.gbi
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  10. #35

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    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    If you want to get into that, there's no reason why privately-imposed zoning regulations would be worse than a government zoning board's. In fact they would be lighter and clearer because the owner of the street would maximize the value of the city, and excessive regulation imposes unnecessary costs. The private operator would dismiss frivolous codes and apply only beneficial codes.
    Are you deluded? Have you never dealt with an HOA and the retired Oberfeldmarshal with the ruler measuring the height of your lawn? The mandatory beige color palette? The secretive meeting procedures that benefit an in-group?

    Luca: I started it this time So, yell at me.

    I do like the Bauhaus.

    But, the orientation, detailing, choice of glass and framing materials, etc are not as simple as they may appear. Not every "box works as well as Mr. Koenig's-especially when it comes to interior spaces.

  11. #36
    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Are you deluded? Have you never dealt with an HOA and the retired Oberfeldmarshal with the ruler measuring the height of your lawn? The mandatory beige color palette? The secretive meeting procedures that benefit an in-group?
    Homeowner's Associations are not private ownership, they are just another form of collective ownership where the franchise is limited to property owners instead of universal.

  12. #37
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    I think the future of architecture will continue to be dominated by lowest common demoniator form and materials in the not-yet-built-out suburban places, but there will certainly be a continued return to infill and mixed use in the more "urban" suburban places and the cities. The proportions and scale will still be "off", but will get better and have more "traditional" forms and styles.

    As for Architecture, these projects will still be the place for invention and risk, but will be fashionable and fall from favor just as quickly as they rose.

    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    Homeowner's Associations are not private ownership, they are just another form of collective ownership where the franchise is limited to property owners instead of universal.
    No, there is no collective ownership of each house site (typically). Each property is still privately owned, but restricted in what the property owner can do with the property, because of a legal agreement made at pruchase or in the deed stating that the private property is subject to the restrictions of the HOA. Much like a local government.

    But really...the rules are only as strong as the enforcement.
    Last edited by mendelman; 31 Jan 2006 at 12:55 PM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

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  13. #38
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Luca: I started it this time So, yell at me.

    Ah, well then, here we go….

    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Are you deluded? Have you never dealt with an HOA and the retired Oberfeldmarshal with the ruler measuring the height of your lawn? The mandatory beige color palette? The secretive meeting procedures that benefit an in-group?
    I have to side with “Jaws the Privaton” () on this one. If you move to a subdivision with a ‘beige color palette’ you’ve no-one to blame but yourself. You can instead go live in a less fascistic subdivision. Escaping government regulations is a trifle more…sticky. As long as you are reasonably able to make a free decision, a commercial relationship has the benefit that you do not have to enter into it. Indeed you can ‘punish’ or ‘influence’ a private decision maker more readily by withholding your custom (again, lots of sitch where this is not possible, and that’s where political means are necessary). It is much harder to influence a government body, as a private individual.
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  14. #39
    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    Off-topic:

    No, there is no collective ownership of each house site (typically). Each property is still privately owned, but restricted in what the property owner can do with the property, because of a legal agreement made at pruchase or in the deed stating that the private property is subject to the restrictions of the HOA. Much like a local government.

    But really...the rules are only as strong as the enforcement.
    That's not the point though. The administration of the HOA is still handled using a democratic model. There is no specialization under the division of labor involved.

    Under a private ownership of the city, the city is a specialized enterprise maximizing value of the city property, mainly the streets and other public areas. Decisions are made based on profit and loss calculation by an expert private owner, not on votes for HOA president.

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