Sullivan's spectacular masterpiece Guarantee Building

jaws

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#81
New Urbanism is overwhelmingly traditional architecture. The principles are not exclusively traditional but the designers admit they build the traditional way because that's what they like and what their clients like, and they pay big for it.

What do you have in your favor? One magazine to show for 50 years of modernist dominance over architecture? Compared to the dozens upon dozens of magazines dealing with traditional housing that people devour these days? How is this proof that modernism is better?

The Bilbao museum sits out on the river, ejected from the city. Millenium park is similarly apart from any urban context, an artifact of its own. The lesson from these two isn't that Modernism is great, it's that people don't mind it as long as they don't have to live in it. What great modernist office building or residential building has been built lately that people actually like? Mr. Gehry's similarly delirious Brooklyn instant-skyline project was met with widespread public derision. Those stupid people, don't they know how great Gehry was for Bilbao!?
 

Luca

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#82
abrowne said:
This entire conversation is way too polarized
Perhaps...I guess there are strong feelings here....

I HEAR what you are sayign abotur epresenting modern ideas, I just don't see why every manufacture (as in man-made object) has to constantly change, especially as its basic function doesn't. (Details do) I don't see the INHERENT value of that, I do see the risks.

I don't oppose all architectural innovation I just oppose innovation for its own sake, innovation that adds nothing but novelty. I like the Chrysler building, though it is notma calssical building, I like art deco. I don't like some wobbly glass box. I think it is objectively less humane than a building by Wren. There is nothing wrong with a modern architect building in a style that could be Wren or Inigo Jones in the same way that I don't think there is anything wrong with Armani producing a suit taht looks liek ti could ahe been sewn together in the 1950s or Piaggio building Vespas in their 1950s style.

If the architectural establishment was not so dismissive of architects like John Simpson, whom common punters really appreciate, nor so insistent on plonking their ;novelty' within age-old urban contexts, I wouldn't have a problem with them.

I react to the arch. establishment in the same way I do to religious fundamentalists: if they do not impact my life they can do what they want, but if they mess with it (as they arre wont to do) then I'm not just rolling over.
 

steel

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#83
Usually you find that once a person feels like they are loosing an argument they start hurling insults. The last few posts have had a few of those tossed my way. I guess I should feel good about that.

By the way I have never said anything about building out of context about building inhumane about building poor quiality contemporary buildings. There is nothing about contemporary style that predetermines any of these things

The only reason you can not see the possibilities of contemporary architecture is that you are limiting you imagination. You bring up bad examples of modernism and yet when I show you bad examples of so called "historic" buildings they are dismissed as being something else or some other excuse. I also am not the one proclaiming one solution fits all. That has been expoused by the fake historical people on here. I have never been dismissive of comfort and fitting into context. Where have I ever promoted that? If anything it is the fake historic buildings which dismiss comfort in lieu of style and decoration. More often than not you will find that a quality contemporary building is formed by context and function rather than which side should have Ionic Columns. It is the contemporary building which will use the latest environmentally friendly materials and forms, will pay attention to views and will provide the most efficient environment for the use.

So now I gave great examples of modernism that people use and love and they are dismissed as folly and specticle. I notice how you all ignore the fact that the fake historic portions of Millennium Park are the least successfull aspects of the place or the fact that the houses shown in Dwell are wonderfull examples of modernism that provide very well for their occupants.

As far as religious faith isn't it the fake historic team that is stateing that there is only on true way and that to follow any other way that that is a sure path to architectural purgatory. Sounds like a religion to me.

I except your white flag if it is being offered otherwise hold off on the insults untill you are ready to say "I Give"
 
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jordanb

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#84
Reading this thread and others on the same theme, I think it’d be useful to list a series of responses to the main fallacies that I see appearing here and other places where modernism is defended.

Modernist Fallacy #1: True creativity comes from a vacuum

It seems that every other creative endeavor, be it writing, musical composition, painting, sculpting, etc evolves by “evolving” earlier themes, and they do so consciously. A writer or a composer is willing to talk quite frankly about his “influences.” For instance, a composer might say he was heavily influenced by Dylan. Really what he’s saying is that his work is derivative of Dylan’s, but be that as it may he’s still being creative if he’s adding to it.

If you study to be a writer, you read the great past works. A painter will study the great paintings. Maybe a novice painter will even set himself to copying exactly Rembrandt or Monet. When they perfect their craft they will begin breaking the rules established by those painters to produce something unique and original, but they know that they first have to learn from the past.

Consider writing. It is very easy to chart through history when various things we now take for granted were invented. The first English novel, for instance was Robinson Crusoe . After that, novel writing took off but things in novels that we now take for granted like character development and dialogue weren’t completely defined until hundreds of years after that book, and vestigial structures like the travelogue farce were abandoned as novels became more accepted by readers. The point is that the novel evolved slowly out of that book into its present, fairly standardized form, because hundreds of writers were willing to be derivative. Now, although novels are very standardized, that does not prevent people from doing profound and original things with the format.

But Architects don’t want to be “polluted” by such structures so they alone among the creative professions refuse to study past works. “Derivative” is an evil word in architecture, the worst insult you can use. Architects can be influenced by things like trees or philosophy, but not other architecture. Even when architects are influenced, they try to obscure the fact and hope nobody notices, as Ablarc demonstrated a while back with Wright’s hidden Inka influences.

Modernist Fallacy #2: Reviving old styles is dishonest

The question is, who is being dishonest about what, and to whom are they being dishonest? If you were hiking through Northern Virginia and suddenly came upon a large complex of Classical buildings, would you say “my goodness, I must have stepped into Ancient Athens!” or would you conclude that you must have stumbled upon the seat of some large, modern, democratic government, a government that used neoclassical architecture to demonstrate its commitment to the original Greek notions of Democracy?

Steel: You live in Chicago, right? Have you ever mistook Chicago Union Station for a Greek temple, or the University of Chicago for a medieval monastery? Both of those things knowingly used architectural styles that were not strictly “of their time.” One could argue that UoC was being dishonest because they built the campus to look as if it were ancient and storied despite the fact that it was an instant University in an instant Metropolis. But the architects saw their work as not reflecting what the University was, but rather, what it aspired to be. Now over one hundred years after its founding I think we can conclude that their dream was a success and the architecture fits it very well.

Modernist Fallacy #3: Everything before Modernism is now obsolete

This is where Jaws was attempting to go with his rocket ship analogy. Does the fact that rockets exist mean that we should give up everything that existed before them even when the earlier transportation technology remains perfectly adequate?

I’m not convinced the world has changed as much in the past century as Modernists seem to think it has. The Greeks discovered the Golden Ratio as being a proportion that was particularly beautiful. Is there something about the modern eye that makes that ratio obsolete? Are we so changed that architects should no longer consider such anarchic knowledge?

Have you ever looked at the top of the old Board of Trade building? How many people in Chicago do you think were worshiping Roman goddesses in 1930? Isn’t that stature of Ceres anarchistic, then? Dishonest ornamentation, even, perhaps. Or perhaps the architects saw such imagery as a cultural holdover from ancient times that perfectly represented the activities that occurred in the building below.

Modernist Fallacy #4: We should because we can

After outlawing the use of anything that came before, Modernists went on the deep end on the other direction deciding that anything that was made possible by all of the technological advances of the 20th century should be built. That’s what you end up with when your entire philosophy is “novelty for the sake of novelty,” which is what you get when you declare anything derivative to be evil.

But just because you can put twenty tones of concrete in a big platform hovering twenty feet above the entrance to the building doesn’t mean you should. People don’t like to feel like they’re walking under the head of the hammer of the Thunder God while trying to gain entrance to the building, and the architect should be sensitive to that.

And what’s more, when you abandon the neoclassical to build government buildings that look like Battle Droids, what does that say to the civil servants who work in them, and what does that say to the populace about their Government?

Modernist Fallacy #5: Buildings should make you think

Architecture is not, or at least, it should not, be a purely creative endeavor. There is an “in-your-face” aspect to architecture that doesn’t exist in painting or writing. If people have to live in and around your angst-driven manifesto on the futility of man, many will not appreciate it. Architects must use creative faculties but they should do so to produce buildings that represent communal values, to produce structures that are valuable to the community as a whole.

If that means that there’s little meaning behind them, or if the imagery is mostly trite (again, neoclassical public buildings referencing the greek agora to demonstrate our cultural commitment to democracy). If you don’t like producing such things, then you’re in the wrong profession. Why not switching to something where personal expression is less destructive, like sculpture?

Modernist Fallacy #6: That some modernist structures are popular validates the Modernist dogma

If you blindfolded me and put me in a basketball court with a bunch of balls, I’d eventually get a few through the hoop, even if hundreds would end up in the stands. How long are Modernists going to skate on the Bilbao success? And anyway, often when Modernism is successful it’s because the architect cheated and used historical but heavily obscure styles (witness again Wright and Inka).

I’d like to add to this Modernist Fallacy #6a: There’s no difference between the Iconic and the Vernacular. Modernism manages to produce—from time to time—some great iconic structures. But the fact is that there is a very small market for such structures and the vast majority of the buildings built in this would aught to “fit in” to their existing context. What would Paris look like if every building tried to be as unique and iconic as the Eiffel Tower? (Ablarc put together a wonderful photo thread that illustrated that point as well).
 

mendelman

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#85
Everyone,

I agree with the distaste for poorly executed historicy buildings, and I also dislike poorly executed contemporary buildings . (execution of both the compliation of the building's elements, functional for its purpose, and the appropriate orientation of the building with is location)

Although, I don't believe using contemporary styles is better than using historical styles or vice-versa. This is a theortical debate that has no objective answer, at least none that I can see.

A building can only be determined objectively "good" or "bad" depending on how well it functions for it's intended purpose and location.
 

jaws

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#86
Hot off his success at Bilbao, Gehry decided to take his art to the mainstream with this amazing revolutionary office building:



Eyesore of the Month
October 2005

The Peter B. Lewis Building for Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management. Architect: Frank Gehry. If your dog had a tumor like this the vets would just shake their heads and put him to sleep. The design follows the logic of cancer: invade and overwhelm the host organism. It's appropriate that this building houses the business school, because it aptly expresses the disfigurement of American economic practice in our time: banality meets pathology in a tragic duet.

(Thanks Kunstler)
This building is a piece of crap. It's a brick box without even windows, just a bunch of holes in the walls. You were complaining about the poor quality of suburban architecture, here's one designed by the most louded member of the architectural elite. Did he spend more than five minutes designing this? There are absolutely no details involved other than the computer-generated deformation.

These people probably paid big money to get another Bilbao. This is what they got for their money. You think they will want to deal with another elite architect again?
 

BKM

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#87
jordanb said:
Reading this thread and others on the same theme, I think it’d be useful to list a series of responses to the main fallacies that I see appearing here and other places where modernism is defended.

Modernist Fallacy #1: True creativity comes from a vacuum

It seems that every other creative endeavor, be it writing, musical composition, painting, sculpting, etc evolves by “evolving” earlier themes, and they do so consciously. A writer or a composer is willing to talk quite frankly about his “influences.” For instance, a composer might say he was heavily influenced by Dylan. Really what he’s saying is that his work is derivative of Dylan’s, but be that as it may he’s still being creative if he’s adding to it.

If you study to be a writer, you read the great past works. A painter will study the great paintings. Maybe a novice painter will even set himself to copying exactly Rembrandt or Monet. When they perfect their craft they will begin breaking the rules established by those painters to produce something unique and original, but they know that they first have to learn from the past.

Consider writing. It is very easy to chart through history when various things we now take for granted were invented. The first English novel, for instance was Robinson Crusoe . After that, novel writing took off but things in novels that we now take for granted like character development and dialogue weren’t completely defined until hundreds of years after that book, and vestigial structures like the travelogue farce were abandoned as novels became more accepted by readers. The point is that the novel evolved slowly out of that book into its present, fairly standardized form, because hundreds of writers were willing to be derivative. Now, although novels are very standardized, that does not prevent people from doing profound and original things with the format.

But Architects don’t want to be “polluted” by such structures so they alone among the creative professions refuse to study past works. “Derivative” is an evil word in architecture, the worst insult you can use. Architects can be influenced by things like trees or philosophy, but not other architecture. Even when architects are influenced, they try to obscure the fact and hope nobody notices, as Ablarc demonstrated a while back with Wright’s hidden Inka influences.

Modernist Fallacy #2: Reviving old styles is dishonest

The question is, who is being dishonest about what, and to whom are they being dishonest? If you were hiking through Northern Virginia and suddenly came upon a large complex of Classical buildings, would you say “my goodness, I must have stepped into Ancient Athens!” or would you conclude that you must have stumbled upon the seat of some large, modern, democratic government, a government that used neoclassical architecture to demonstrate its commitment to the original Greek notions of Democracy?

Steel: You live in Chicago, right? Have you ever mistook Chicago Union Station for a Greek temple, or the University of Chicago for a medieval monastery? Both of those things knowingly used architectural styles that were not strictly “of their time.” One could argue that UoC was being dishonest because they built the campus to look as if it were ancient and storied despite the fact that it was an instant University in an instant Metropolis. But the architects saw their work as not reflecting what the University was, but rather, what it aspired to be. Now over one hundred years after its founding I think we can conclude that their dream was a success and the architecture fits it very well.

Modernist Fallacy #3: Everything before Modernism is now obsolete

This is where Jaws was attempting to go with his rocket ship analogy. Does the fact that rockets exist mean that we should give up everything that existed before them even when the earlier transportation technology remains perfectly adequate?

I’m not convinced the world has changed as much in the past century as Modernists seem to think it has. The Greeks discovered the Golden Ratio as being a proportion that was particularly beautiful. Is there something about the modern eye that makes that ratio obsolete? Are we so changed that architects should no longer consider such anarchic knowledge?

Have you ever looked at the top of the old Board of Trade building? How many people in Chicago do you think were worshiping Roman goddesses in 1930? Isn’t that stature of Ceres anarchistic, then? Dishonest ornamentation, even, perhaps. Or perhaps the architects saw such imagery as a cultural holdover from ancient times that perfectly represented the activities that occurred in the building below.

Modernist Fallacy #4: We should because we can

After outlawing the use of anything that came before, Modernists went on the deep end on the other direction deciding that anything that was made possible by all of the technological advances of the 20th century should be built. That’s what you end up with when your entire philosophy is “novelty for the sake of novelty,” which is what you get when you declare anything derivative to be evil.

But just because you can put twenty tones of concrete in a big platform hovering twenty feet above the entrance to the building doesn’t mean you should. People don’t like to feel like they’re walking under the head of the hammer of the Thunder God while trying to gain entrance to the building, and the architect should be sensitive to that.

And what’s more, when you abandon the neoclassical to build government buildings that look like Battle Droids, what does that say to the civil servants who work in them, and what does that say to the populace about their Government?

Modernist Fallacy #5: Buildings should make you think

Architecture is not, or at least, it should not, be a purely creative endeavor. There is an “in-your-face” aspect to architecture that doesn’t exist in painting or writing. If people have to live in and around your angst-driven manifesto on the futility of man, many will not appreciate it. Architects must use creative faculties but they should do so to produce buildings that represent communal values, to produce structures that are valuable to the community as a whole.

If that means that there’s little meaning behind them, or if the imagery is mostly trite (again, neoclassical public buildings referencing the greek agora to demonstrate our cultural commitment to democracy). If you don’t like producing such things, then you’re in the wrong profession. Why not switching to something where personal expression is less destructive, like sculpture?

Modernist Fallacy #6: That some modernist structures are popular validates the Modernist dogma

If you blindfolded me and put me in a basketball court with a bunch of balls, I’d eventually get a few through the hoop, even if hundreds would end up in the stands. How long are Modernists going to skate on the Bilbao success? And anyway, often when Modernism is successful it’s because the architect cheated and used historical but heavily obscure styles (witness again Wright and Inka).

I’d like to add to this Modernist Fallacy #6a: There’s no difference between the Iconic and the Vernacular. Modernism manages to produce—from time to time—some great iconic structures. But the fact is that there is a very small market for such structures and the vast majority of the buildings built in this would aught to “fit in” to their existing context. What would Paris look like if every building tried to be as unique and iconic as the Eiffel Tower? (Ablarc put together a wonderful photo thread that illustrated that point as well).
bravo, jordan. This is the definitive summary and expansion of the arguments in this thread. :-D
 

steel

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#88
Fake historic Fallacy #1: Every thing good in architecture has already been done The great modernist houses presented in Dwell each month disprove this one.

Fake Historic Fallacy #2: Historic looking buildings blend in with real historic buildings What is inherently good about a building blending in? If you look at older buildings you will find that they were generally trying not to blend in. That is why they used so many styles, motiffs and decorations.


Steel: You live in Chicago, right? Have you ever mistook Chicago Union Station for a Greek temple, or the University of Chicago for a medieval monastery? Both of those things knowingly used architectural styles that were not strictly “of their time.” One could argue that UoC was being dishonest because they built the campus to look as if it were ancient and storied despite the fact that it was an instant University in an instant Metropolis. But the architects saw their work as not reflecting what the University was, but rather, what it aspired to be. Now over one hundred years after its founding I think we can conclude that their dream was a success and the architecture fits it very well.
I have not mistaken them for buildings built last year nor would I want to.

Fake Historic Fallacy #3: Blending in is the same as being contextual See also #2 above. Blending in is not being contecxtual. Contextualism is far more complex than simplistic use of certain forms and materials alone.

This is where Jaws was attempting to go with his rocket ship analogy. Does the fact that rockets exist mean that we should give up everything that existed before them even when the earlier transportation technology remains perfectly adequate?
the wagon wheel analogy was mine. Jaws insists that it is OK to put wagon wheels on rockest and that our cars would be better if they looked and performed like 1830' buggies

I’m not convinced the world has changed as much in the past century as Modernists seem to think it has. The Greeks discovered the Golden Ratio as being a proportion that was particularly beautiful. Is there something about the modern eye that makes that ratio obsolete? Are we so changed that architects should no longer consider such anarchic knowledge?
first of all Whaaaaaaat? This is the second time you guys have said that there has not been much change over the last century. Are you serious??????? That is just nutty talk... lest see airplanes, 2 world wars, space travel, nuclear bombs, 9/11, civil rights, destruction of the environment, out of control population growth, the cold war, end of the cold war, etc....and second what makes you think modern architecture can not use the golden mean? Corbu based all his project on this proportional system even his god awfull city planning ideas.


Fake historic Fallacy #4: We shouldn't because we can We should not try to provide new forms and experiences. We should not try to advance architecture because we already know how to make fake historic buildings. All other disiplines and endevors should continue to advance but architecture should not because we can make fake hsitoric buildings


Fake Historic Fallacy #5: Buildings shouldn't make you think Don't tell that to the Gothics, the Greeks, or the Egyptians, Don't tell that to Paladio, Sullivan, Richardson, or Wright. There buildings were filled with meaning both literal and obscure.

Fake Historic Fallacy #6: That some fake historic structures are popular validates the idea that fake is good See the Fake historic buildings I posted weralier as proof of this falicy.


I’d like to add to this Fake Hsitoric Fallacy #6a: There’s no difference between new fake historic building and a truely historic building . again fitting in does not have to mean copying. What would Paris look like if every building tried to look like it was built 200 years ago. What a sad trip it would be if a tourist walked through a brand new neighborhood thinking all along that hew was enjoying architecture from Napolean's era only to find out is is a new subdivision built last year.

and how about that Eiffel Tower? Aren't we lucky that the historicists of Eiflels day did not get their way. The tower is a modernist building which was nealy defeated by your team.

Here is an article about the Gap's new "historical" headquarters building designed by Historicist Robert AM Stern. It seems even the Star architects of the historic team can't pull of a quality building.

http://www.architectureweek.com/cgi...?f=/chronicle/archive/2001/06/11/MN235008.DTL
 
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jordanb

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#89
Steel: You misrepresent me by suggesting I claim that everything good has already been done. That's not true in any creative discipline, otherwise there'd be no reason to write any more books or paint any more paintings. Yet writers and painters are willing to rely heavily on past writers and painters for inspiration. Why can not architects do that? Why can they not acknowledge that great ideas rarely just pop out of your forehead like Athena from Zeus's and go back to doing what Architects have been doing for THOUSANDS of years, which is, slowly evolving architectural styles from one good idea to the next?

You dodge my statement about the University of Chicago. My point is that architecture has ALWAYS been historicist. Tons and tons of examples exist throughout history. Why don't you apply the same rule to a building built in the 1890s to a building built today and declare the UoC to be "fake historicist crap?"

Why did you dodge my examination of other creative disciplines? Imagine if the music establishment woke up one day and said:

classical, rock, ballads, Jazz, and all other forms of music invented before the 1980s are now fake historicist and any musician producing them will be ostracized. Nobody studying music will be taught classical composition or any other fake historicist musical techniques. Now only Rap and Techno will be allowed, and only until they very quickly go out of style, and also we're going to deny their evolutionary roots in earlier musical styles.
That's essentially what the modernists did with architecture.

My complaint isn’t that modernism can not produce good buildings for certain purposes, I even addressed that point in fallacy #6. My point is that the arbitrary, abrupt break with tradition that was engineered by the early modernist elite and then ruthlessly enforced for decades virtually guaranteed that—aside from the occasional truly wonderful building—our cities would mostly be relegated to being shat upon by undisciplined simpletons that have no understanding of design as it has evolved for thousands of years.

BKM: Please be a dear and quit quoting entire 50 line posts to post a one-line response.
 
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#90
It should be obvious by now that people hate modernist architecture.
C'mon dude, that's somewhat disingenuous. It has been said that the greatest popular success of the modenists was the development of the "open plan" for homes. You can find literally thousands of houses built in the last half-century that are dressed up in Palladio or Spanish Colonial on the outside, but are all flowing spaces inside. Witness also the popularity of loft style apartments and "great rooms". Those have their ancestry in modernist conceptions of space. One those home improvement shows they seem to be on endless quests to "open up" spaces and make "light and airy". Nobody seems to be going for dark and cozy, or for rooms small enough for everyone to gather in and to say warm by the fire on winter nights. Besides, wealthy old Englishmen have probably cornered the market on such dwellings.
 

jordanb

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#91
^-- Cost of cooling tall spaces should be considerably less, unless you put the thermostat on the ceiling. Buildings used to be built with such high ceilings precisely because it made them cooler.
 

BKM

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#92
jordanb said:
^-- Cost of cooling tall spaces should be considerably less, unless you put the thermostat on the ceiling. Buildings used to be built with such high ceilings precisely because it made them cooler.
That should be true. Probably the real problem for me is the lack of good cross ventilation upstairs. The upstairs feels "warm" during summer days.

Still, the basic point is that we can build-in the cross ventilation and passive cooling/heating of modern open spaces.

[off topic]Despite my love of the archetypal glass box for a single family house, in reality, I would probably build (post-Lotto ticket) a very solid rammed earth or hay bale house that uses thermal cooling mass to keep the energy load down. .Now, this is really off-topic :) [/off topic]
 

Jack

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#93
steel said:
As far as religious faith isn't it the fake historic team that is stateing that there is only on true way and that to follow any other way that that is a sure path to architectural purgatory. Sounds like a religion to me.
If you consider me to be part of the "fake historic team" then none of what you keep saying represents my position. It is you that keeps saying that there is only "one true way."

You are limiting your imagination to the possiblities of architecture.

I think that:

If you wanna build a building that faithfully adheres to classical, art deco, Victorian, or gothic style, then go ahead and do it if you have good reason to do so (and personal taste is an excellent reason). Don't put a fakey "1612" cornerstone on it or try to make it look aged, that would be somewhat dishonest. Just do a quality job of it.

If you want to re-interpret a historical style or combine it with another style, then go ahead and do it. Some of the most original buildings came about this way. Just do a quality job.

And while I may be shot down from both sides for this one - if you want to build an exact replica of a destroyed building, then I don't see anything inherently wrong with that either. Several cathedrals destroyed in WWII have been rebuilt - being rebuilt becomes a part of the building's history.

And finally - If you want to adhere to modernist doctrine, then go ahead and do that too. Just do a quality job.

We build enough houses, churches, schools, courthouses, stores, and office buildings that there is room for experimentation and variety in architecture, so why limit ourselves to only modernism?
 

abrowne

     
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#94
I really, really wish Gehry had gone into mathematics. Anything but architecture, for that matter.
 

jaws

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#95
abrowne said:
I really, really wish Gehry had gone into mathematics. Anything but architecture, for that matter.
What? Gehry is a genius! The shiniest star of the starchitectural elite. He made the Bilbao Guggenheim, the building that single-handedly saved a poor spanish town from abandon.

Steel you dodged that other Gehry building because it shows just how futile Modernism is. If someone as talented and louded as Gehry strikes out nine times out of ten, what hope is there for the less talented architects? What hope is there to build a better world? We are certain to get 99% crap and the one occasional success that will no doubt make the pages of your magazine, but won't reach the vast majority of the population.

Only the conventions and proven successes of tradition can guarantee good buildings with repeated, sustained success. Imitation and reproduction of successful types are how you create good buildings. They did so in the past. Bad buildings everywhere are the inevitable consequence of Modernist dogmas. There is no such thing as historicism, only authentic tradition and ironic tradition. Yes, we can go back and we must go back honestly if we wish to start moving forward again.

This is an issue that divides urbanists and architects for a very simple reason. Urbanists deal with the whole human environment. A 1% architectural success rate is catastrophic to that environment. Architects only see individual buildings and are blind to all the failed projects they unleashed on the environment. At some point people have to stand up and say enough is enough. Experimentalism is over.

And before you bring up that Gap building, it doesn't have one recognizable traditional element on it. It is plain old postmodernism again that you rail against. I'm getting the feeling that you have never seen what authentic traditional buildings look like. Or maybe you have and thought you were looking at an old building. :-D

BKM said:
Have to agree with this here. The open and flowing plan appeals to most people. Similarly, as much as I enjoy decorative exteriors, I'm not much of a fan of over-decorated interiors. As lovely as the British townhouses posted by Luca on his other thread are, I can jus timagine the overwrought ironwork, the excessively detailed wallpaper, the horrible wall sconces. Bleh! (Not to deny that many people do like Victorian interiors. I can admire them, even, without having much desire to live in one). The interesting thing about lofts is they are spare, but rely upon traditional materials (old red brick) to mitigate the spareness.
Loft buildings are often reconditioned 19th century factories, which makes two important points. First that the open floor plan is perfectly compatible with traditional architecture. Second, that the state of architecture today is so pathetic that people have been reduced to living in factories, and paying a lot to do so.
 
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steel

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#96
Jack said:
And while I may be shot down from both sides for this one - if you want to build an exact replica of a destroyed building, then I don't see anything inherently wrong with that either. Several cathedrals destroyed in WWII have been rebuilt - being rebuilt becomes a part of the building's history.
This may seem like a gigantic contrdiction of my previous stated positions here but a agree to rebuilding destroyed buildings with major cveates.

I think it is legit to rebuild certain lost or damaged buildings within certain perameters.


Since this thread started with a Buffalo I will use a Buffalo example.

Frank Lloyd Wright's master piece Martin house fell into direpair and even abandonment though out its history. A portion of the extensive estate (6 buildings) was torn down. The main house and two other houses in the complex remained but the pergola, conservatory and carriage house were destroyed leaving the original composition incomplete. without the demolished biuldings it was imposible to understand Wright's concept for this building, probably one of his 10 most important commissions.

Currently the building is undergoing a very high quality and extensive reconstruction and renovation back to like new condition. The demolished sections are being reconstructed to exacting standards. I think that this is a case were replacement of the lost original is a very good thing.

Another interesting thing about this project is that they are also building a new structure adjacent to the house to serve as a vistitor's center. The visitor's center is designed as a highly contemporary building. The walls will be glass with overhangs that will shde the interior from sun. The roof will be a V shaped which will collect snow to act as an insulator. Heat and cooling will be provided geothermally. The building will be delicately detailed and scaled to work with its surroundings. Could you imagine how silly it would be to construct a Wright knock off at this site in some delusional attempt to be contextual because you think the building needs to blend in.

Here is a link to the Martin House Restoration Corp site for more info.
http://www.darwinmartinhouse.org/


here is a link to the site of the Visitor Center architect's site. If you route around you will find some images of the center

http://www.tmarch.com/
 

jaws

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#97
One last, but rather important point.
steel said:
first of all Whaaaaaaat? This is the second time you guys have said that there has not been much change over the last century. Are you serious??????? That is just nutty talk... lest see airplanes, 2 world wars, space travel, nuclear bombs, 9/11, civil rights, destruction of the environment, out of control population growth, the cold war, end of the cold war, etc....
Answer this question: what does any of this have to do with the business of constructing dwellings for people? If people want to know about world wars and civil rights, they can read about it in books or the newspaper. They don't need to be reminded of how much the world sucks 24/7 by their buildings. Enough with the messages already.
and how about that Eiffel Tower? Aren't we lucky that the historicists of Eiflels day did not get their way. The tower is a modernist building which was nealy defeated by your team.
The Eiffel tower was the Bilbao of its time. Great tourist trap in its own context, nobody would take it seriously as a model to build human dwellings.
 

steel

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#98
jaws said:
One last, but rather important point.

Answer this question: what does any of this have to do with the business of constructing dwellings for people? If people want to know about world wars and civil rights, they can read about it in books or the newspaper. They don't need to be reminded of how much the world sucks 24/7 by their buildings. Enough with the messages already.

The Eiffel tower was the Bilbao of its time. Great tourist trap in its own context, nobody would take it seriously as a model to build human dwellings.
First....are we now restricted to dwellings only in our architectural discussion ( if so see my posts on Dwell magazine) and second.... you guys said that there was not much change in the 20th century. I just thought I would point out how inaccurate that statement was and third.... your team introduced the Eiffel Tower to the discussion not me. It just so happens that the much beloved symbol of Paris was derided as a modern atrocity before it was built. Not too much different from your own argument today.
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jaws

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#99
This is a forum for urbanists. Dwellings are our interests here, not sculpture. This argument exists because we are appalled at what modernism has to done to the dwellings of the common man. I really don't care about Bilbao or the Eiffel Tower or the statue of liberty or the Washington Monument. What I care about are houses and workplaces and shopping and living space. Modernism has ruined them and created immense anxiety on the people that live among these buildings. The escape to suburbia was partly caused by the Modernist destruction of beauty and comfort in the cities. Our only hope to rebuild cities where people are welcomed is to return to our heritage and move on from there.

Modernism has promised good dwellings since the beggining. Since the beggining it has failed to deliver, and people are not buying anymore. Nobody believes you or Dwell magazine. We can't trust the life of our cities in the hands of Modernists. The stakes are too great.

And just so we're sure of what we're talking about, here are some pictures of traditional buildings followed by pictures of postmodernist buildings, both from Stern's website therefore assumed to have the same talent behind them.

Traditional:
(This last one is actually art deco, which is now a traditional style.)

Postmodern:
 

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BKM said:
Have to agree with this here. The open and flowing plan appeals to most people. Similarly, as much as I enjoy decorative exteriors, I'm not much of a fan of over-decorated interiors. As lovely as the British townhouses posted by Luca on his other thread are, I can jus timagine the overwrought ironwork, the excessively detailed wallpaper, the horrible wall sconces. Bleh!
Hmmm, georgian houses have VERY airy interiors, often with windows on more than one wall. Victorian FURNISHINGS were claustrophobic by our standars but if you remove all the drapery the rooms tend to be capacious and with tall ceilings andalrge windows. My house was built later, in 1904, but I can assure you there is nothing stuffy of closed-in about it.

jaws said:
This is a forum for urbanists. Dwellings are our interests here, not sculpture. This argument exists because we are appalled at what modernism has to done to the dwellings of the common man. I really don't care about Bilbao or the Eiffel Tower or the statue of liberty or the Washington Monument. What I care about are houses and workplaces and shopping and living space. Modernism has ruined them and created immense anxiety on the people that live among these buildings. The escape to suburbia was partly caused by the Modernist destruction of beauty and comfort in the cities. Our only hope to rebuild cities where people are welcomed is to return to our heritage and move on from there.

Modernism has promised good dwellings since the beggining. Since the beggining it has failed to deliver, and people are not buying anymore. Nobody believes you or Dwell magazine. We can't trust the life of our cities in the hands of Modernists. The stakes are too great.

And just so we're sure of what we're talking about, here are some pictures of traditional buildings followed by pictures of postmodernist buildings, both from Stern's website therefore assumed to have the same talent behind them.
Bravo. Bravissimo.

The post-moderns on the whole look pretty nasty. I really like the first traditional building. Very very classy.

Since I like similes:

Architecture Models/Actresses

Classicism Claudia Schiffer, Catherine Deneuve
Art Deco Marylin Monroe, Anita Ekberg
Modernism Twiggy, Kate Moss
Brutalism Heroin chic
Deconstructivism A disjointed collection of limbs
Post-modernism A man in drag
 
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