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Thread: “Cool” modern design

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    “Cool” modern design

    I was trying to explain to a relative who is a high school student about the evolution of design throughout the ages. I had difficulty conveying the attributes of the so-called ‘modern’ school of design. I didn’t have any pictures available at the time of this discussion and the listener did not have sufficient knowledge of specific examples that could be pointed to as common referents (“okay, you know how Scandinavian furniture looks? No, well picture how the Guggenheim Museum looks? No? Well, have you ever heard the expression ‘form follows function’? No?.....”)

    – jet (looks like it’s going mach 2 when stationary)

    – car

    – house (not actually a FLW design)

    – furniture

    – office

    – guns (the design on these babies puts a smile on even the most ardent pacifist)

    - centered cable stayed bridge (thanks JNA)

    I’m looking at/posting images and I’m still having a little difficulty conveying in words what specific attributes define modern design. Phrases like ‘sleek lines’ come easy but fall short of the mark in conveying the essence of the thing – what exactly makes them ‘sleek’? So rather than me stumble around on this more let me ask teh Throbbing Brian what defines modern style?

    Based on past poll results, a goodly portion of Cyburbians seem to be drawn to modern styles so chime in.
    Last edited by Maister; 15 Sep 2009 at 10:08 AM.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    To me, modern design means clean lines. The lines can be straight or curved but are not ornamented. The eye is drawn to the overall shape first rather than the details.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus
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    How about centered cable stayed bridges ?
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
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    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
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    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
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  4. #4
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    How about centered cable stayed bridges ?
    How could I forget those! (added)

  5. #5
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Buckminster Fuller comes to mind when thinking modern. Never thought of FLlW as modern, more of the prarie school that led craftsman into modern.

    http://www.thehenryford.org/exhibits...ion/index.html
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  6. #6
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    Never thought of FLlW as modern, more of the prarie school that led craftsman into modern.
    Perhaps a 'proto-modernist'.

  7. #7
    From ... deeep .... recesses ... brain .... comes .... this memory ... that architects and designers ... have ever been searching ... for slender.

    Gothic cathedrals are the perfect example. The columns in the first cathedrals were massive and numerous, blocking viewlines and keeping windows relatively small. Then came the idea of flying butresses and columns got narrower and windows got larger so more light came in. Then materials got stronger/technologies better, and the columns got ever thinner and windows ever larger. Ever searching for that slenderness.

    Okay, back to grant writing ....
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
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    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    If you are going for a modern architecture I'd think of something more along the lines of Corbusier (way ahead of his time), Mies van der Roh (likewise), or Frank Gehry. I think of design that disposes of frivolous details. Simple shapes. Clean lines. Modern materials (carbon fiber, high tech plastics, brushed aluminum, etc.). It's more about the overall form than the details. Modern design to me evokes images of the future. It's always forward thinking.

    For cars, think of the Audi TT or R8. The B2 Stealth Fighter. Dyson vacuum cleaners. The i-Mac. Ducati motorcycles. The Barcelona chair.
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

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    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker View post
    From ... deeep .... recesses ... brain .... comes .... this memory ... that architects and designers ... have ever been searching ... for slender.

    Gothic cathedrals are the perfect example. The columns in the first cathedrals were massive and numerous, blocking viewlines and keeping windows relatively small. Then came the idea of flying butresses and columns got narrower and windows got larger so more light came in. Then materials got stronger/technologies better, and the columns got ever thinner and windows ever larger. Ever searching for that slenderness.

    Okay, back to grant writing ....

    I think you are on to something with slender.

    How about adding: Mobile and Functional
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker View post
    From ... deeep .... recesses ... brain .... comes .... this memory ... that architects and designers ... have ever been searching ... for slender.

    Gothic cathedrals are the perfect example. The columns in the first cathedrals were massive and numerous, blocking viewlines and keeping windows relatively small. Then came the idea of flying butresses and columns got narrower and windows got larger so more light came in. Then materials got stronger/technologies better, and the columns got ever thinner and windows ever larger. Ever searching for that slenderness.

    Okay, back to grant writing ....
    The cathedrals with massive columns and small windows were called the Romanesque style.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    If you look into the manifestoes of early modernists like the Bauhaus school, it was largely about the rejection of historical styles. It can be traced to a collective reaction to the horrors of WWI. War on that scale had never been seen before,with humanity exposed to all sorts of new industrialized weaponry. This gave rise to an idea that society had been on the wrong course and needed to find a new way and thus a "new" architecture. See "From Bauhaus to Our House" by Tom Wolfe and "Lipstick Traces" by Greil Marcus.

    Despite having no real beef with historicist architecture, I still want to live in a modern house.
    Adrift in a sea of beige

  12. #12
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I think Rygor has some good samples. I like to think in terms of the modern masters like Corbu. He looked buildings like a machine. As we learn how to use the machine we will design it to be better for us. His thought was the car would eventually come out to be one design that was highly functional.
    Most architects of the time removed all the frills from buildings. The best example someone gave me was that the modern masters hated the corinthian column when all that was needed was a support beam.

    I would say the best example is showing someone an old office building with small windows and frills then compare it to a glass office building. It was the complete contrast in design that made the modern movement a big thing. At least to me.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian cellophane's avatar
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    The single biggest change to architecture in the last 200 years was the development of the open floor plan (and indirectly the development of steel construction.) When the structure of the building is no longer dependent on external walls for bearing it completely liberated architects to do anything they could imagine with both the plan and facade. Mies van der Rohe is the first person to really grasp it (that i can recall) and his Barcelona Pavilion and Farnsworth House are seminal examples of an open plan. Phillip Johnson later ripped off the Farnsworth House and Mies' Court House (unbuilt) to make his Glass House and his thesis project (name escapes me.)

    The real sticker is that "Modern Architecture" refers to a limited time frame historically and anything since then is either pigeon holed into a "style" or called "contemporary architecture." My favorite is "Post Modernism" - at least in an ironic name kind of way. I don't really dig their style though.

    As far as cool architects I look immediately to the Bauhaus, the Futurists (c. 1914), the Case Study Houses and people like Peter Zumthor, Rudolf Schindler and Stephen Holl.

  14. #14
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    In the Austin area, pomo-style architecture is very common in infill residential development. I'd say pomo residential is more prevalent than the other dominant infill style, a kind of pseudo-Craftsman style.







    I've seen some pomo residential infill in Cleveland and its burbs. Here's a house not too far from where I lived in South Euclid.



    However, this style of residential architecture is completely unknown in Buffalo. Infill there usually takes the form of typical suburban architectural styles, with altered proportions to fit onto narrower city lots. I wonder why, for a city that proudly brags about its architectural legacy at every opportunity, modernist/pomo residential architecture is nonexistent.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  15. #15
    Cool modern house going up in Buffalo




    More on it here
    http://www.buffalorising.com/2009/04...se-i-like.html

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ofos View post
    To me, modern design means clean lines. The lines can be straight or curved but are not ornamented. The eye is drawn to the overall shape first rather than the details.
    "Modern" design really is all about clean lines. This more than anything else helps define it.


    This realization just dawned on me three years after ofos' post.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  17. #17
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    I agree with ofos. Shape is the significant feature, driven by clean lines.

    Example: Palácio do Planalto and Palácio da Alvorada by Oscar Neimeyer





    And that concludes staff’s presentation...

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    Kind of funny how that "modern" look looks like it's out of the 60s. It's kind of difficult to articulate why that building looks "old" while many using a similar styling now look new.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Blide View post
    Kind of funny how that "modern" look looks like it's out of the 60s. It's kind of difficult to articulate why that building looks "old" while many using a similar styling now look new.
    They were actually designed in the late 1950's. But I agree, modernism isn't necessary that modern, but some of the themes still carry through.
    And that concludes staff’s presentation...

  20. #20
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Blide View post
    Kind of funny how that "modern" look looks like it's out of the 60s. It's kind of difficult to articulate why that building looks "old" while many using a similar styling now look new.
    Maybe more emphasis on symmetry incorporated into the design than you see nowadays?
    EDIT: it also occurs to me that the large curvilinear concrete forms in front carry the scent of Brutalism.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  21. #21
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Maybe more emphasis on symmetry incorporated into the design than you see nowadays?
    That's certainly true but after thinking about it a bit more, it's color that stands out to me. A lot of the older modern structures seem to use glass to create contrast rather than other colors of paint or different materials. As a result, the older buildings seem to look more sterile than their modern counterparts.

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