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Old November 16th, 2011, 03:38 PM   #841
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The British Public doesn't want Modern Styles though. Not always anyway.
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Old November 16th, 2011, 03:56 PM   #842
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Originally Posted by ill tonkso View Post
The British Public doesn't want Modern Styles though. Not always anyway.
The majority happily drive modern cars and fill their interiors with modern furnishings bought from modern shopping malls no doubt journeying there on a modern train from their modern office.

But seemingly stop when it comes to living with a modern exterior.

Gap of knowledge I guess.
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Old November 16th, 2011, 03:59 PM   #843
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Gap of knowledge? God you're arrogant. It is taste, even Richard Rodgers lives in a Georgian Terrace.

Might I also note that you said people buy modern cars, no shit, what else is there? Modern trains, not their choice, modern malls, not their choice, modern furnishings, not everyone and the modern stuff is often more affordable...
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Old November 16th, 2011, 04:12 PM   #844
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Not possible, but wider streets would be nice. Continental cities have much wider streets than does London, which still has a medieval footprint. Wider streets allow for more sunlight than narrow streets. Replacement buildings should aim to maximise the amount of sunlight reaching the public spaces and minimise shadow casting.
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Old November 16th, 2011, 04:12 PM   #845
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I sympathise with both views, I think there is a definite fracture point in architectural language which jumped from regional to a global form in the 20th century, along with everything else. This also parallels a jump from handcraft to mass-production and industrialisation to cope with working on a global scale, time expectations and the exponential rise in the urbanised population.

Architecture is highly visible, hence why regional styles that resonate with a pre-modern world have such a wide general appeal, it is a lost world to everyone of us; the sort of thing that now drives global tourism and marketing. Here lies a distinct economic value which we are now highly aware of but which was something more personal for the original conservationist movement.

In London we see both British and European architectural 'pre-modern' legacies. In the most part of the 20th century the UK was not a leader in the new global language it also unfortunately coincided with some traumatic national times such as waning power and war.
However we do see 20th Century legacy being formed, the UK and London had a very strong 1960s cultural legacy, we now see new generations appreciating and wanting to experience something from that time along with architecture, for example I have seen Trellick Tower on cups and aprons bought by people from other countries. Will this wane? Is it niche compared to the millions who swarm to see a castle?

Most people can not date the many flavours of 20th Century architecture where previous eras had a consistent style for a hundred years or more. Will future generations rate the Gherkin and South Bank Centre of the same era and will their extremes of ratings of attractiveness remain? Tate Modern and Battersea Power station are other iconic 20th Century structures but it would be correct to say that they are highly distinct one off pieces. Do we need everything from every school or architectural practise in the 20th Century? The rate of a change of trends is exponential; does conservation have to keep up, or indeed are we actually just still in the modern age and the underlying architecture is pretty much the same and stand out icons are the ones that will stand the test of time?

I don't think we should be so afraid to rebuild something that hasn’t worked, particularly larger office blocks or residential blocks and estates that have a wider negative impact on an environment. I think that we have to try and rate 20th century architecture from an international perspective as that is its playing field. What about the modern culture of adaptability? What about sustainability and functionality concepts clearly unfit for pastiche? In the realms of building conservation I think we have the balance about right, give or take the odd hypocrisy or mis-judgement. I think the natural desire to protect the pre-modern has a tangible value, certainly currently and I would guess this value can only increase so it is worth pursing as we do.

The politicisation of the 'view' and architectural ‘style’ is very damaging to the adaptability of the place and that needs to be snuffed out to be replaced by not exactly a free-for-all but more of an open minded understanding of how views work in urban places. Good examples include the heavy handed and blunt sightline legislation and Prince Charles’ intervention in the Chelsea barracks saga, where there was more chance to get something appreciated by future generations by a globally respected and proved architect than by an embarrassing muddle of a compromise, industrialised hand craft and a generic take on period regionality pretending to be ye-olde but which wont fool anyone. Better to be a global leader.

* Architecture is linked with culture and economy, we have to go with the flow and accept what is our time

*reject the anti-architecture planning system and interference from EH over new build, instead bring in more competition over buildings of
a certain size.

* Concentrate more on the street experience rather than obsessing over seeing buildings

* We now have some local global leading architects.... use and celebrate them
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Old November 16th, 2011, 04:23 PM   #846
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Quote:
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* We now have some local global leading architects.... use and celebrate them
This is a good point. They are in that position because they know their field. They are experts in what they are doing. Comment, discuss and challenge, but remember at the end of the day they build within the constraints burdened upon them - blame the constraints when things go wrong, not the work they actually do.
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Old November 16th, 2011, 04:25 PM   #847
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ill tonkso View Post
Gap of knowledge? God you're arrogant. It is taste, even Richard Rodgers lives in a Georgian Terrace.
Exactly right. And in large parts of the world (including Canada, where I happen to be at the moment, also the US, Australia, NZ, France, Germany) it is very normal for new commercial buildings to be modern and high-tech externally, and residential domestic architecture to be entirely traditional in external style - for the reason that the housing market in those places is functional enough to respond to people's taste.

A google image search for "new house france" or "new house canada" shows exactly what I mean.
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Old November 16th, 2011, 04:27 PM   #848
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarJoLe View Post
This is a good point. They are in that position because they know their field. They are experts in what they are doing. Comment, discuss and challenge, but remember at the end of the day they build within the constraints burdened upon them - blame the constraints when things go wrong, not the work they actually do.
Most modern buildings look like this.

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Old November 16th, 2011, 04:31 PM   #849
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Most modern buildings look like this.
No they don't, if they did this forum would be full of petitions against them.
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Old November 16th, 2011, 04:32 PM   #850
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Yes they do and this forum is filled with threads full of people saying "not another box". Indeed this is why modern architecture is having such a hard time - it just dull.
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Old November 16th, 2011, 04:39 PM   #851
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Greco View Post
Yes they do and this forum is filled with threads full of people saying "not another box".
And whenever something round or different than a box gets proposed everyone says "it doesn't fit/out of place/incoherent/too wacky/architects acting like a 6 year old".

Considering that a 'box' is the optimum shape to get the most out a plot of land it's not surprising that's what developers/architects build. Again- constraints. Buckingham Palace is a box. The Palace of Westminster is a box.

If people's argument against a building is that it's a box and nothing else without understanding why it has been proposed as a box well shouldn't really being in a business of critiquing architecture quite frankly.
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Old November 16th, 2011, 04:41 PM   #852
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ill tonkso View Post
Might I also note that you said people buy modern cars, no shit, what else is there? Modern trains, not their choice, modern malls, not their choice, modern furnishings, not everyone and the modern stuff is often more affordable...
People can still buy and maintain an old car "full of character", wonderfully dangerous and polluting but then it exists more of an expensive hobby.

Not everyone can live in a Georgian Terrace. The Georgians didn't build enough. Ever wondered why people live in a dingy and damp 2 up 2 down semi? Because that is the housing stock! Once built they do tend to hang around.

People don't have any choice over a modern suburban housing estate, which are mass produced at the cheapest level that the developer can get away with, ever thought that porch or small bay window is just a mask to hide the bad design? The hypocrisy of style in most housing build over the country is there for all to see. But people are happy to at least have decent space to live in.

A modern building will always be a modern building, just those that design themselves around modern standards of living and lifestyle and concepts of sustainability will always be better, but in this country such things are marketed as a niche value extra unless driven by necessity like the post war building plan and need to densify.

There is a historical ignorance in this country of what design can offer as the demise of our industry base shows nicely. Equally ever wondered why our housing stock is now ridiculed the world over?

I think you will find that public opinion would ultimately favour good design! Even the wealthy ran away from the big country houses and mock castles as they became impractical.

Last edited by potto; November 16th, 2011 at 04:58 PM.
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Old November 16th, 2011, 04:52 PM   #853
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As much as Robin Hood Gardens for example is unloved because it has fallen into disrepair, its internal spaces are designed with more attention about light and space than anything like the tiny Noddytown/Chafford Hundred shoeboxes currently being built are. But because they look like 'country cottages' the British masses flock to them. And fill them with IKEA furniture and park up their sleek curvy cars outside (on the pavement of course as the roads are too small).

I think this is partly the reason the Barbican is loved by people who live there - they realise the detail that went into how they use the space they are living in, and appreciate the importance of the estate in the architectural and social history of the UK. You get a real sense walking through it that the tenants are proud to be there. Maybe Robin hood Gardens would have been the same if its tenants were given the opportunity to turn that estate around and see the positives of the space they live in just as the Smithsons intended it to be?
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Old November 16th, 2011, 10:11 PM   #854
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarJoLe View Post
Again- constraints.
Bullshit for if it were true every single city of every single Civilisation in the World would be filled with bland boxes.

Quote:
The Palace of Westminster is a box.
It most certainly isnt, stop being so absurd!

Box

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Not a Box

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Old November 16th, 2011, 11:24 PM   #855
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Old November 17th, 2011, 02:09 AM   #856
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Great post, El Greco.

Quote:
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Not everyone can live in a Georgian Terrace. The Georgians didn't build enough.
True. But in many countries it's quite normal for plenty of new houses to look very similar to those that were being built a couple of hundred years ago. There's no reason why plenty of houses that looked Georgian externally could not be built now, and at no great expense: Georgian brick townhouses are a reasonably dense form of housing, remarkably simple, just with a few simple decorative features and elegant proportions. Of course modern building techniques could be used.

The weird thing is that it's incredibly controversial to build something like that - look at how a neoclassicist like Quinlan Terry gets ridiculed on this forum. It's controversial to build an attractive house in an entirely conventional style, and uncontroversial to build an ugly glass box.

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Equally ever wondered why our housing stock is now ridiculed the world over?
No, it's obvious. We build smaller and smaller homes, despite having become a wealthier country - in countries where the housing market functions properly, it should be needless to say, increased national prosperity tends to lead to larger house sizes. And we build in bland and ugly styles, despite having an extremely strong tradition, until some point in the early part of the twentieth century, of some of the finest domestic architecture in the world. Our perverse, masochistic determination to trample all over that legacy looks completely incomprehensible to anyone elsewhere in the world.

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I think you will find that public opinion would ultimately favour good design!
Indeed it does, which is why for example Georgian houses command such a huge premium. If the housing market worked, more like that would get built (and all sorts of updates and attractive new styles) because that's what people value, as shown very clearly by property prices. Instead we get such ugly housing built that a lot of people oppose all new development on principle. What a mess.
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Old November 17th, 2011, 02:39 AM   #857
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The majority happily drive modern cars and fill their interiors with modern furnishings bought from modern shopping malls no doubt journeying there on a modern train from their modern office.

But seemingly stop when it comes to living with a modern exterior.

Gap of knowledge I guess.
There is an economic reason for this:

Cars, furnishings, clothes are consumer goods. You replace them every few years. The buyer assumes that they lose their value over time.

Buildings are investments. The buyer does not want them to lose value over time, certainly not because the style of the house goes out of fashion. Therefore people opt for styles that will better withstand the changing fashion trends. Hence people often go for a modern interior in a traditional house. You can easily change the interior but not so easily the house.

For sure good modern architecture is also timeless, the problem is that people see mostly average modern architecture. Traditional architecture is not any better, but if people build traditional and the architecture is average, it does not depreciate as fast as average modern architecture.

So people go for different styles when they buy something they know they will replace and when they buy something that needs to last. Jewellery today still looks incredibly similar to Roman jewellery (check out the Museum of London).

In today's consumption society however the house is increasingly seen as a consumer good, it does not need to last, and this applies particularly to office buildings. As long as this approach is supported by the government by granting "planning gains" for replacing buildings that were modern 30 years ago but now look like eyesores, this trend will accelerate. Do you think British Land would have replaced that Broadgate building if they could not slap another 6 stories on top? Fortunately the average private individual is not as calculating as the real estate developers and will not count on future planning gains.

So modern architecture is often defined by our consumption culture and hence suffers with the conscious private buyer.

There was an interesting publication by the US Department of Energy showing that today's buildings are much less energy efficient than the old stock. Intuitively this does not make sense. But the reason is simple; the energy consumed by construction is so enormous compared to the energy needed for heating, even over a very long period of time, that what really counts is to build to last. To turn buildings into consumer goods that have to be replaced every 20 years is in fact the least energy-friendly policy.

If people and politicians took a step back from the consumer society and imposed as a planning requirement that every building is built to last for at least 100 years, one would see a marked improvement of modern architecture and then it would do much better. Today's modern architecture defies the principles of sustainability by not targeting longevity. To be clear, I do not believe that planning authorities should go and apply strict rules in this respect because it would kill the dynamism of a city, but for sure sustainability should become an important soft factor. If the longevity of a building becomes important again, modern architecture will do well. If modern architecture remains a synonym for our consumption society it will continue to decline and push people into the banality of mock-tudor houses.
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Old November 17th, 2011, 02:50 PM   #858
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But who is to say their replacement is ugly and inferior?
They nearly always are inferior. Can you name an attractive purely modernist urban environment anywhere on earth? I can't. Modernism can do individual buildings, but it's extremly poor at cities.
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If the Shard meant the demolition of a row of Georgian and Victorian buildings would you not support it? At what point does heritage give way to contemporary
I'd want the Shard moved to another site, so that we'd lose concrete rubbish (as we did) and not precious and beautiful building stock.
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and what makes all Georgian and Victorian so special over other architectural styles that it needs to be saved?
It's much finer architecurally. You only need to walk around London to see it, not to mention all the other cities in the world. Can you name an attractive purely modernist urban environment anywhere on earth? I can't. Modernism can do individual buildings, but it's extremly poor at cities.
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Yes, there is plenty of stuff in London that can be demolished and not missed so new buildings can be built. But developers don't work like that - there isn't a list of viable buildings that developers can pick and choose to demolish
Listed buildings are err... listed on a list. Developers can't touch them, or at least face much greater restrictions if they do.
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[development is...] about plots of land, location to transport hubs, location to other businesses that decide where they propose new buildings.
Sure, but conservation restrictions also play a part in that, ie this site is unavailable because it's occupied by a listed building. It's the law and developers must operate within that legal framework.
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In a few years (20 I reckon) the central 'hub' of the City will either contain listed buildings, conservation areas or newly built contemporary buildings. So does the City give up? At what point in the future do we accept that we need to demolish an older building to continue London being a place for contemporary office space, or is it that we simply replace the newly built structures?
It's easy: keep the old buildings and simply redevelop the less distinguished newer buildings that aren't worth preserving. If eventually it fills up, and the whole City is listed and beautiful, then development can shift outside the City. However I doubt we'll ever get there given the number of rubbish buildings still there, and still going up. The City has decades of redevelopment potential ahead of it.
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In effect we'll loose a whole chunk of architectural era unless the burden is spread equally.
If it's spread equally between concrete rubbish and valuable heritage then you'll end up with an uglier city: many irreplacable beautiful buildings will be destroyed even as ugly rubbish survives to fight another day (when it would be much better to just demolish the rubbish). If redevlopment is spread evenly among beautiful and ugly buildings, then eventually there would be no beautiful old buildings left at all, which is exactly your philistine agenda.
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Last edited by Langur; November 17th, 2011 at 02:55 PM.
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Old November 17th, 2011, 03:06 PM   #859
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Beautiful! Ugly! Concrete rubbish! Past is best! Modernism is wrong! Move a skyscraper!

You're so out of touch on how the property market works you live in cloud cuckoo land. Yeah, just move the Shard. You know, that skyscraper built around the notion of creating a new city village above a major London train station in an area that wants to be regenerated. Yeah, we'll just move it to the site of this failed building which is nowhere near the station, on a site which the tower is not bespoke designed for and not going to make us as much money. Yes! I can see developers going for that.

You know what, sod it. Just build shit like this everywhere. I mean, at the end of the day, it looks old, so therefore it's good and beautiful, yeah?

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Old November 17th, 2011, 03:22 PM   #860
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That will likely age very well

There are similar buildings around here that looked like that but 10 years down the line look as if they have been there forever.
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