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Sullivan's spectacular masterpiece Guarantee Building

BKM

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#41
Rumpy Tunanator said:
Wow, this has become one big pissing match...........

Can't we just agree that it was a great building for its time?
We are beginning to rehash some of the arguments in Luca's attempt to define "good design" independent of style. I was disappointed to see that argument/discussion fade. :-$
 

steel

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#42
There really is no architecture without style but modernism does attempt, to some degree to be structurally and functionally honest using the functions and structure of the building as its decoration rather than applied decorations developed in another era. Good modernism does this well bad does not.

As for the Ipod. You say it is rediculous to make an Ipod look like a victrola, You would not want your car to look like an 1857 carriage, and you do not dress like a Roman Senator but you think your buildings should look like ancient Greek places of worship. I do not understand that.

If we had more faith in our own time and abilities we would be creating a lot more great buildings but our fear especially in this country (the europeans are building many exquisite modern buildings) is holding us back on many new and exciting things in many fields, especially architecture

Check out the Phaidon - Atlas of Contemporary Architecture. It is a gigantic book. Wow are there a lot of great buildings in there.
 
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#43
The iPod is designed to look like the old-school MacIntosh computers from the 80's. It is certainly not of its time, and yet it is of its time because it exists now and performs a function in the present. The fact that it looks retro does not in anyway affect its ability to perform its function, but adds to the appeal of the product.
 

Luca

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#44
steel said:
There really is no architecture without style but modernism does attempt, to some degree to be structurally and functionally honest using the functions and structure of the building as its decoration rather than applied decorations developed in another era. Good modernism does this well bad does not.
The idea that making an ostentatious show of some element's of a building structural element sis 'honest' is a mere statement, not backed by any deep reasoning - it is also a tenet of modernism. Again, I use the suit metaphor. If you make the stitching in a suit heavy-gauge nylon fishing line and flare orange so it stands out, is the suit more 'honest'? or just pi##-ugly?

As you say, in reality the cheesy line about showing the 'true nature' of the building is just a gimmick intended to justify some, clumsy, ornamentation (I-beam spans tacked on the outside of the building, anyone?). Whether a decorative element is attractive or not, does not depend on how long ago it was invented, 1000, 100 or 10 years ago. Classical decorative elements have EVOLVED over time and therefore passed the test of time. Generally, they are better than what 99.9999% of Johnny-come-lately architects or designers could possibly dream up. It is a conceit, a folly, an illusion that some guy with 4 years of college is likely to add much to the design canon.

steel said:
As for the Ipod. You say it is rediculous to make an Ipod look like a victrola, You would not want your car to look like an 1857 carriage, and you do not dress like a Roman Senator but you think your buildings should look like ancient Greek places of worship. I do not understand that.
Two points. Not all things and endeavors are alike. In most fields of aesthetics, humanity has peaked. I would bet any amount of money we will never build cars that LOOK better than 1930s cars. Ever. If you are a car body designer you're wasting your time and the shareholders' money. The mechanics are a different thing. Architecture... Hmmm, probably 99% of architects should just give up trying anything new, they're just not that good.

I don't dress like a roman senator but (elegant) men's clothing has not changed appreciably for 70 years, though manufacturing techniques and details have.

All we classicists say is: don't just build different for the sake of it. Build BEST. Do you honestly think that Koolhaas builds more pleasing, humane, inspiring buildings than Palladio? Not 'more of our time', not 'more daring' Better, Objectively better? No, of course not; he should pack it in.

steel said:
If we had more faith in our own time and abilities we would be creating a lot more great buildings but our fear especially in this country (the Europeans are building many exquisite modern buildings) is holding us back on many new and exciting things in many fields, especially architecture
No. Sorry. I grew up and live in Europe. In Europe small elites (in the worst sense of the word) foist appalling, city-space-killing atrocities upon a reluctant public.

PARDON THE RANT. Construction and support of ugly new buildings is one of the few things others can do that affects me, that I cannot get away from. So I care. When an ugly building goes up in a European city center and the critics praise it, to me it's like watching a thousand trucks dump mercury and sludge into a tropical lagoon and a crowd of imbeciles cheering it as a 'different take on what it means to be a sea'.
 

BKM

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#45
Luca said:
The idea that making an ostentatious show of some element's of a building structural element sis 'honest' is a mere statement, not backed by any deep reasoning - it is also a tenet of modernism. Again, I use the suit metaphor. If you make the stitching in a suit heavy-gauge nylon fishing line and flare orange so it stands out, is the suit more 'honest'? or just pi##-ugly?

As you say, in reality the cheesy line about showing the 'true nature' of the building is just a gimmick intended to justify some, clumsy, ornamentation (I-beam spans tacked on the outside of the building, anyone?). Whether a decorative element is attractive or not, does not depend on how long ago it was invented, 1000, 100 or 10 years ago. Classical decorative elements have EVOLVED over time and therefore passed the test of time. Generally, they are better than what 99.9999% of Johnny-come-lately architects or designers could possibly dream up. It is a conceit, a folly, an illusion that some guy with 4 years of college is likely to add much to the design canon.



Two points. Not all things and endeavors are alike. In most fields of aesthetics, humanity has peaked. I would bet any amount of money we will never build cars that LOOK better than 1930s cars. Ever. If you are a car body designer you're wasting your time and the shareholders' money. The mechanics are a different thing. Architecture... Hmmm, probably 99% of architects should just give up trying anything new, they're just not that good.

I don't dress like a roman senator but (elegant) men's clothing has not changed appreciably for 70 years, though manufacturing techniques and details have.

All we classicists say is: don't just build different for the sake of it. Build BEST. Do you honestly think that Koolhaas builds more pleasing, humane, inspiring buildings than Palladio? Not 'more of our time', not 'more daring' Better, Objectively better? No, of course not; he should pack it in.



No. Sorry. I grew up and live in Europe. In Europe small elites (in the worst sense of the word) foist appalling, city-space-killing atrocities upon a reluctant public.

PARDON THE RANT. Construction and support of ugly new buildings is one of the few things others can do that affects me, that I cannot get away from. So I care. When an ugly building goes up in a European city center and the critics praise it, to me it's like watching a thousand trucks dump mercury and sludge into a tropical lagoon and a crowd of imbeciles cheering it as a 'different take on what it means to be a sea'.
An excellent summary to what the rest of us have been saying all along.:-D

To me, the most critical aspect of this debate is simple: Most architects, let alone contractors and design-build consultants-are NOT Mies or Frank Lloyd Wright. Without a strong tradition, a strong shared language of proportions and materials and urbanism, these day-today builders responsible for 95% of our built environment are utterly lost, utterly destructive.

Steel: you are quoting the same mythological justifications for the "eternal avante garde" as the enfants terrribles of the 1930s. Even the "scientists" who are now beginning to acknowledge the psychological and form-based science of traditional "styles" now find the 1930s purism silly and laughable. It's 2005, man. What is REALLY up to date and modern, "Pruitt Igoe" or a beautifully proprtioned and crafted traditional mixed use building like Mendleman posted and you disparaged?

(Again, I like some modernist style architecture. It can work, when its in a traditional fabric and follows simple, time-tested rules of transparency and proportion (among others).)
 

chukky

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#46
sorry to back track but this gets me.

This building is certainly well built and it gets details more correct (though not entirely)than most. This is a rare higher quality historic building. Take a look at the crummy historicy bank building down the block at the corner of Armitage.

Certainly your example building is not offensive but a quality contemporary building at this site could have offered much more to its tenant and to the street. On top of that I think it takes away form the history of the original (true) old buildings. Those buildings have real history behind them. That history adds meaning to them.
Could a modern building really contribute more to the street? I think a line needs to be drawn between "landmark" buildings and "infill" buildings. Every area needs some of both. That building serves an "infill" context - it is the padding that gives more signifigant buildings room to breathe. Regardless of how beautiful or waht style they are, landmark, distinctive buildings dont work well jammed next to each other. If you try, you get Vegas.

I know i am talking more distinctive v. bland rather than modern v. traditional, but i dont think the two are seperable in this context.

Should Paris construct buildings which look like they were built in 1675 so they match the adjacent buildings that were really built then? I think that would be rediculous. How silly... You are in Paris on vacation. you stand and take some pictures in front of some buildinsg that you THINK are form 1675 and it turns out they were from 1995....Wouldn't you be disappointed once you found that out?
Maybe I take the photo becuase I think it is a pretty building?
 

steel

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#47
You guys keep changing the conversation from Modern (contemporary) vs. Classical (historicy) architecture to Good architecture vs. bad architecture.

Modern does not equal bad. Bad equals bad weather it is classical or modern. You are all ignoring the huge mass of blatantly horrid new historicy buildings going up today. We are not talking about 100 year old buildings. We all know that society was very much more urban and pedestrian oriented 100 years ago making for a much more pleasant human environments (at least now if not back then....lets not glorify too much, cities were pretty bad back then)


Here are some (in my opinion) bad historicy buildings. Let us keep on subject this is classical v contemporary, not bad v good:







 

mendelman

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#48
I totally agree that those buildings you posted are wretched, and should be avoided completely.

BTW, you've ignoring a part of the argument being made by others that good "historicy" buildings are worthy of placement in our built environment.

I think we can all agree (as you & BKM has stated) that quality execution (proper proportions, interaction with street activity, transparency, time tested materials, etc) of either Modern or Classical styles in a built environment are needed and desireable.
 
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#49
Those are all postmodern buildings steel. It was the style 'of the time' back in the 80's. You have to pick the right targets.
 

BKM

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#50
jaws said:
Those are all postmodern buildings steel. It was the style 'of the time' back in the 80's. You have to pick the right targets.
As banal as these are, I would still argue that they at least have more color and interest than the typical botched third-rate modernism that REQUIRED the reaction of postmodernism, as cartoonish and bland as most postmodernism was/is. :p
 

steel

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#51
jaws said:
Those are all postmodern buildings steel. It was the style 'of the time' back in the 80's. You have to pick the right targets.

They are not post modern. they are poor interpretations of historic styles.

Here are some contemporary buildinsg that I like. The comparison is a bit unfair since these are all done by some decent architects but still who is designing exciting new historicy buildings. I am seeing mostly crap on the historicy side.



















 
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#52
steel said:
They are not post modern. they are poor interpretations of historic styles.
That was what postmodernism was about! Bringing back historic elements in an ironic tension with modern elements. It turned out to be a poor interpretation of historic style because it was meant to be that way.

If you look into your buildings they have not a hint of genuine historic elements. The columns in that first picture aren't even any recognizable order. They don't even look like anything historical. They were made that way deliberately, as a statement. They are modernist buildings.

You are guilty of apologism for the comedy of errors committed by modern architecture when you arbitrarily draw a line between good modernism and bad modernism based on your own preferences. Modernism is better you say because there are some examples of good modernism, while you ignore failure upon failure that the world has to suffer until their demolition can be afforded. And failure upon failure is what is in store for all of us if we continue to finance modernist architects. Rem Koolhaas says we [modern architects] are stuck in the crater of modernism. The only hope is to create ever extravagantly more experimental buildings until something is done right. Never mind the wishes of people being experimented on. Modernist architects don't even believe that the past can be used to rescue the present. They don't even believe in order or beauty, only discord and artistic statements. The whole field is dominated by extreme nihilists. They are doomed to discredit themselves.

You cannot challenge the undeniable fact that the rules of traditional building styles were succesful in creating beauty and harmony on a mass scale before Modernism did away with rules. You haven't done so. In fact you have condemned the postmodern historicism that seeks to bring back traditional elements without the rules that accompanied them. The only foundation for your argument against a return to traditional architecture is the arbitrary claim that architecture has to be 'of its time'. I ask you first to explain, why? Second, what or who defines the time? And third, when is the time over?
 

BKM

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#53
steel said:
They are not post modern. they are poor interpretations of historic styles.

Here are some contemporary buildinsg that I like. The comparison is a bit unfair since these are all done by some decent architects but still who is designing exciting new historicy buildings. I am seeing mostly crap on the historicy side.
(EDIT) Some of these photos, lovely as they are, illustrate my points: They are largely isolated rural/semi-rural/suburban buildings set on relatively large lots that may well work ok as objects floating in space. (At least, they are photographed that way. If they are not in fact isolated, then the photographs are cleverly and somewhat dishonestly selected to give that impression).

How would these structures work in a dense urban or even suburban environment? I'm skeptical.

The skyscraper could be pretty neat. One cannot tell from the photographs-how does it meet the sidewalk? Does it deaden the block through a windowless wall set back behind a useless plaza?

Photo 2 shows a block-long, windowless megasatructure that may well be more appealing from a crafstmanship and materials standpoint than the typical concrete block wall that rational modernist planning and architecture foists on us-but it still deadens the entire block.

Again, the mdoernism that can work is the smaller structure that still respects traditional scale and character in modern materials. This modernism is extremely rare and is not created by "experiemental" buildings "of our time."
 
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Luca

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#54
steel said:
Aggressive, non-scalable (imagine six or seven similar buildings next to each other, slashing the air, bumping into each other), blank, alien...

steel said:
What BKM said. An utterly alienating, unfirendly building.

steel said:
Are the owners expecting viking raids? It looks like a fortress tower, only less graceful.

steel said:
Very nice. See? I'm not prejudiced. Based on the limited evidence, really very nice. I'd approve a building like that in any appropriate context. Who's the architect?

steel said:
Conversely: thes are pointless. Talk about unnecessary, superfluos elements....ornamentation HAs a point, it relieves mass. Those panels? just block out light? look plasticky? what's the idea? And the too-closely-spaced columns? it reminds me of that hideous city hall in celebration. Claustrophobic

BTW, I think the MODERATOR should cut most of this thread out of the 'Sullivan Building' one and maybe append it, if I'm not being too presumptuos, to my 'Objectivity/Subjectivity' thread?

Moderator note:
that would be too much like work. Let me think about it.
 
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BKM

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#55
Luca said:
Aggressive, non-scalable (imagine six or seven similar buildings next to each other, slashing the air, bumping into each other), blank, alien...
True. A couple of these in a skyline is "ok" though-again-depends on how it meets the sidewalk. I would still probably prefer an art deco tower, though. :p


Luca said:
What BKM said. An utterly alienating, unfirendly building.
The materials help a little bit, but a block-long blank wall is still a block long blank wall.


Luca said:
Are the owners expecting viking raids? It looks like a fortress tower, only less graceful.
Probably not Vikings. :) If this were in the United States, it's probably "brown people" (ethnic minority groups) that will come a plunderin', don't you know. ;-) If it's Germany (my guess, actually), who knows what those Eastern Europeans and Truks are up to


Luca said:
Conversely: thes are pointless. Talk about unnecessary, superfluos elements....ornamentation HAs a point, it relieves mass. Those panels? just block out light? look plasticky? what's the idea? And the too-closely-spaced columns? it reminds me of that hideous city hall in celebration. Claustrophobic
That Celebration City Hall has to be the exemplar of postmodernism taken to its "look how literary and full of in-jokes my building can be" architecture. Heck, I'd prefer a glass and steel Bauhaus building to that!
 
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#56
steel said:
As for the Ipod. You say it is rediculous to make an Ipod look like a victrola, You would not want your car to look like an 1857 carriage, and you do not dress like a Roman Senator but you think your buildings should look like ancient Greek places of worship. I do not understand that.
I said that changing an iPod to look just like a victrola is silly, and that taking turn of the century designs and making them fit an iPod is not.

I never said that buildings should look like Greek places of worship. I only advocate that history be used to create interesting, new, and completely functional buildings, not that exact reproductions of Greek temples be produced. You seem to deny that classical elements can be used to create something new and unique, despite thousands of years of architecture suggesting otherwise.

If we had more faith in our time and abilities we would have excellent "historicy" buildings as well as excellent modern/contemporary buildings. Insead we have crummy post modern pseudo-historic junk as well as lots of modern junk - after all, we don't want future generations saying that our architecture was "not of their time."
 

steel

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#57
Jack said:
I said that changing an iPod to look just like a victrola is silly, and that taking turn of the century designs and making them fit an iPod is not.

I never said that buildings should look like Greek places of worship. I only advocate that history be used to create interesting, new, and completely functional buildings, not that exact reproductions of Greek temples be produced. You seem to deny that classical elements can be used to create something new and unique, despite thousands of years of architecture suggesting otherwise.

If we had more faith in our time and abilities we would have excellent "historicy" buildings as well as excellent modern/contemporary buildings. Insead we have crummy post modern pseudo-historic junk as well as lots of modern junk - after all, we don't want future generations saying that our architecture was "not of their time."

You seem to believe that there is no reason to create new forms of architectural expression. If that was the case we would be living in caves.

Should we have stopped at the Egyptian style? Why move on to Greeek style when Egyptian style has worked for a few thousand years. In the middle ages they could have said why build Gothic cathedrals. These Romanesqe buildings have been suiting us just fine for hundreds of years. Besides that Gothic stuff is just too modern with all that glass.
 
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#58
steel said:
You seem to believe that there is no reason to create new forms of architectural expression. If that was the case we would be living in caves.
No, I don't believe that. I've said numerous times that both "historicy" and new can exist together, just as they did for centuries before modernism came about.

But if we are to do it your way, and only look forward with the new buildings we build, then even more care needs to be taken to preserve genuinely old buildings. If you can't build new historicy buildings, then the old ones become inherently irreplacable. Perhaps a law bannning the demolition of anything built before WWII.
 
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Luca

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#59
steel said:
You seem to believe that there is no reason to create new forms of architectural expression. If that was the case we would be living in caves.

Should we have stopped at the Egyptian style? Why move on to Greeek style when Egyptian style has worked for a few thousand years. In the middle ages they could have said why build Gothic cathedrals. These Romanesqe buildings have been suiting us just fine for hundreds of years. Besides that Gothic stuff is just too modern with all that glass.
No, in that case we'd be living in palladian buildings built cheaply and efficiently using modern engineering.

I don't look at it from teh standpoint of 'need' but rather of quality. if you're a high jumper, each tiem teh abr sis et higher, it amy be that, for most jumpers, the bar is set so high they should just stay on the ground. No, they jsut kick at the uprights, piss on the mat and call it 'high jumping' (metaphor alert)
 
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#60
steel said:
You seem to believe that there is no reason to create new forms of architectural expression. If that was the case we would be living in caves.

Should we have stopped at the Egyptian style? Why move on to Greeek style when Egyptian style has worked for a few thousand years. In the middle ages they could have said why build Gothic cathedrals. These Romanesqe buildings have been suiting us just fine for hundreds of years. Besides that Gothic stuff is just too modern with all that glass.
The difference is that these styles were evolved by many architects and not invented as some grand experiment by a starchitect with too much money. Evolution in modern architecture is forbidden. You are not allowed to bring back elements of Egyptian or Greek style or Gothic style. They wouldn't be "of the time", regardless if they ever were, regardless if they still perfectly work. In modern architecture everything must be completely new and completely invented. Because the odds of arriving at a succesful solution by pure invention are infinitesemally low, we end up with a landscape of garbage architecture.

Evolutionary architecture takes an examplar of a solution that has been proven to work and then applies a transformation to that solution to solve a contemporary problem. This is what the roman architects did by adopting greek architecture, this is what the renaissance architects did by adapting roman architecture, and the baroque architect did the same with renaissance architecture, and the modern architects did the same with the baroque until modernism declared the practice to be taboo. Architecture changed considerably through all these transformations, but it always kept the succesful recurring elements.

There are two ways to do architecture today. There are experimentalists who demand the freedom to do anything they want in anyway they want using whatever is fashionable at the time (the zeitgeist). They demand that architecture be of its time. And there are the evolutionists who believe that most problems of architecture have already been solved and that studying and reproducing the solutions of the past will achieve the greatest architecture civilization has ever seen. Are you sure you are siding with the right team?
 
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