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Old March 21st, 2011, 09:53 PM   #21
El_Greco
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But then it is not "attention whoring" nor "utter banality" either.
But thats what Ive said, good architecture does not have to be 'attention whoring' to be good.
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Old March 23rd, 2011, 03:21 AM   #22
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No, but for a city to be a good place it needs a substantial amount of architecture which is set into context of the environment and which also creates bigger urban realms which make sense.

"Good architecture" in one place can be bad architecture in another place.
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Old March 23rd, 2011, 08:48 PM   #23
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But thats what Ive said, good architecture does not have to be 'attention whoring' to be good.
It does appal me that within the past generation, "good" architecture is synonymous with "attention whoring" work. If a building does not twist, spin, lean or leap off the ground and do backward somersaults, it is labelled "boring". If it does remind us of shiny household appliances, then it is "iconic".
Let's wait twenty years, and see how society regards much of the attention whoring architecture that has recently been constructed. My guess is there will be a number of "iconic" towers that will rapidly fall out of favour in the public eye, and eventually become civic eyesores.
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Old March 23rd, 2011, 09:25 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Taller, Better View Post
It does appal me that within the past generation, "good" architecture is synonymous with "attention whoring" work. If a building does not twist, spin, lean or leap off the ground and do backward somersaults, it is labelled "boring". If it does remind us of shiny household appliances, then it is "iconic".
Let's wait twenty years, and see how society regards much of the attention whoring architecture that has recently been constructed. My guess is there will be a number of "iconic" towers that will rapidly fall out of favour in the public eye, and eventually become civic eyesores.
I guess it has to do with the fact that architecture had become coward in the wake of modernism, since the early 80's. After some modernist excesses of the "urban renewal" era, the style in vogue was the "non-style": it was all about retrofitting (because demolishing anything was unacceptable, an intrusion, a violent act!!!), fake building resembling Italian villas or Victorian fronts and porches and alike.

The order or the day was to study, re-study, analyze, re-analyze to death any project and strip it of as many "new" elements as possible. If you look at most Western cities, there were few truly impressive architecture projects, and most "transformations" rested on annoying restoration, reclaiming and redevelopment projects. A derelict, toxic and decrepit steel mill suddenly became "cool" to be transformed in office estate.

Only minimalism prospered during this era, but minimalism is just not suitable for large-scale construction as it has functionality limitations.

I'd say that "attention whoring" was the only way for architects to gain the upper hand over preservation-wackos and planners that wouldn't accept the fact the urban landscape is ever-changing - and rejecting any proposal that didn't fit the surroundings, the view, the "character" (probably the most overused term in planning since the early 80's until recently). So unless you came with a really revolutionary proposal, something to shock-and-awe, you had no chance but to work within severe constraints.

Then you saw architects like Zaha Hadid, Lisbeskind, Massimiliano Fuskas and the likes emerge in the international scene.

Much of NIMBY-ism is rooted on those assumptions. There is a negative culture that changing is necessarily bad, "corporatist" and to be avoided. So if it takes 10 years to get a new underground parking lot constructed downtown because of some concerned people over the "character" of a local plaza that will be disrupted for 2 years during construction, people in the outskirts fill ok to try to stop a road widening because of some minor technicality on noise regulations and a light-rail because it will affect the character of a 50-year old playground that will be cut-off from the rest of the local park.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 02:27 AM   #25
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I guess it has to do with the fact that architecture had become coward in the wake of modernism, since the early 80's. After some modernist excesses of the "urban renewal" era, the style in vogue was the "non-style": it was all about retrofitting (because demolishing anything was unacceptable, an intrusion, a violent act!!!), fake building resembling Italian villas or Victorian fronts and porches and alike.
I wonder because this obviously simply did not take place in Austria at all. Private homes might show some traditional forms but private builders don't have to care about what architects like or hate, only about what they would like to live in. But even in this sector not fake Italian villas are dominant but simply a more or less modern version of what has been always an Alpine style found in the region.

I can't see whats wrong about incorporating old structures into new ones. It often creates a very interesting atmosphere and certainly helps modern architecture a lot in looking less depressing. Mediocre new buildings suddenly become nice and interesting buildings that way.
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The order or the day was to study, re-study, analyze, re-analyze to death any project and strip it of as many "new" elements as possible. If you look at most Western cities, there were few truly impressive architecture projects, and most "transformations" rested on annoying restoration, reclaiming and redevelopment projects. A derelict, toxic and decrepit steel mill suddenly became "cool" to be transformed in office estate.
These "annoying restoration, reclaiming and redevelopment projects" laid the foundation for the revival of vibrant and well functioning city centres. Given that you seem to strongly dislike exactly such areas even the more if they do well I can understand your view however.

I guess you would also dislike the Museumsquarter, short MQ in Vienna. One of the largest art complexes in Europe. Its basically the old imperial stables adopted for that new purpose including new buildings in the courtyard. Its one of the greatest urban city planning success stories of Vienna of recent years.


(red roofed complex in the lower part of the picture)

In my opinion the MQ is in architectural terms a greater success than the all new and attention whoring Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Quote:
Much of NIMBY-ism is rooted on those assumptions. There is a negative culture that changing is necessarily bad, "corporatist" and to be avoided. So if it takes 10 years to get a new underground parking lot constructed downtown because of some concerned people over the "character" of a local plaza that will be disrupted for 2 years during construction, people in the outskirts fill ok to try to stop a road widening because of some minor technicality on noise regulations and a light-rail because it will affect the character of a 50-year old playground that will be cut-off from the rest of the local park.
NIMBY-ism is one point, an undifferentiated urge for destroying everything old just for the sake of it is another thing. If you have existing structures and you can revive them with relatively little effort into a modern function which works perfectly why should you instead tear the old thing down and destroy established structures to build something entirely new in the suburbs from scratch which will be deemed by people badly connected to the rest (unless you invest a fortune to expand infrastructure far towards the very outside)? And if you tear down parts of the centre to build from scratch you destroy the very own USP of European city centres for something generic any modern city can come up with.
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Last edited by Slartibartfas; March 25th, 2011 at 02:32 AM.
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Old March 26th, 2011, 01:50 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Slartibartfas View Post
NIMBY-ism is one point, an undifferentiated urge for destroying everything old just for the sake of it is another thing. If you have existing structures and you can revive them with relatively little effort into a modern function which works perfectly why should you instead tear the old thing down and destroy established structures to build something entirely new in the suburbs from scratch which will be deemed by people badly connected to the rest (unless you invest a fortune to expand infrastructure far towards the very outside)? And if you tear down parts of the centre to build from scratch you destroy the very own USP of European city centres for something generic any modern city can come up with.
Of course if you can restore then theres no need to destroy, but the thing here is that when the old is destroyed it is usually replaced with something that pretends to be old. This is because anything adventurous or exciting is met with extreme hostility and instead of gaining Kunsthaus Graz or Centre Pompidou youre left with some lame PO-MO like building that contributes absolutely nothing to the urban landscape and is forgoted by everyone and loved by no-one. Is it really such a good idea to be overtly concerned about "character", after all this vague word is one of the main weapons in the NIMBYs arsenal....

However I disagree with Suburbanist there. A derelict, toxic and decrepit steel mill is indeed cool when it becomes office or entertainment or learning complex.
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Old March 26th, 2011, 04:29 AM   #27
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Of course if you can restore then theres no need to destroy, but the thing here is that when the old is destroyed it is usually replaced with something that pretends to be old.
Actually thats not true usually, not in Austria.

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This is because anything adventurous or exciting is met with extreme hostility and instead of gaining Kunsthaus Graz or Centre Pompidou youre left with some lame PO-MO like building that contributes absolutely nothing to the urban landscape and is forgoted by everyone and loved by no-one. Is it really such a good idea to be overtly concerned about "character", after all this vague word is one of the main weapons in the NIMBYs arsenal....
First of all, I don't agree with your general negative view of post modernism. Like any other style there are good examples and bad ones. Post modernism can be adventurous and exciting, even controversial. I think of the library of the technical university of Vienna for example. (http://diepresse.com/images/uploads/..._Foto_Clem.jpg) You may call it kitschy ugliness but its definitely neither bland nor easily forgotten. And just because it can't be mistaken for a derelict factory hall like the Centre Pompidou does not make it inferior either.

Thats the one thing. The other is that the Museumsquartier is not one bit post-modernist. It is baroque (authentic) infused with two modernist blocks hosting modernist and contemporary art museums. The ensemble is very iconic and people love it as a place to hang around in an artsy atmosphere in a great looking big but still human scale courtyard.
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However I disagree with Suburbanist there. A derelict, toxic and decrepit steel mill is indeed cool when it becomes office or entertainment or learning complex.
Agreed.
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Old March 28th, 2011, 04:57 AM   #28
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