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View Poll Results: Has architectural modernism failed?
Yes 190 45.13%
No 231 54.87%
Voters: 421. You may not vote on this poll

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Old August 28th, 2011, 02:02 AM   #261
tpe
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Originally Posted by Rev Stickleback View Post
There are people capable of adoring those that most think only a mother could love. They are just in a very small minority. You can respect their right to choose. You just wouldn't want them setting up blind dates for you.



...which is kind of my point. To reject the opinions of those who judge buildings on their asthetics, purely because they don't judge them on architectural merit, makes you a bad judge of aesthetics.

Like my example earlier, someone who prefers a Jack Vettriano over a Jackson Pollock may be a poor judge of art, but it doesn't make that person wrong to say the former is a more aesthetic picture.



Art is just to be admired. Buildings are to be lived in and with. That adds a whole new dimension.

I said earlier. I grew up in a new town. I can see what the town planners were trying to achieve.

Bracknell Town centre has central square. It's always been blocky and ugly. Take a step back though, and and you can see that this square was his modern take on a traditional town square, with a bandstand at one end, enclosing the space. I'm sure on his drawings, it was full of happy smiling people sitting at cafes and bars, enjoying the experience, and enjoying this modern town. Of course the reality is that there were no cafes and bars lining the square. In was full of shoe shops, a branch of Dixons, stationery shops, jewellers, estate agents...i.e. places that didn't cause anyone to linger, maiking the "plaza" a concrete expanse that you'd only cross to reach the other side, and which would be completely deserted come 5.30 when the shutters came down.

It was a bold vision. It failed, and was brutally ugly. There's been at least 20 years of concerted efforts at turd polishing since then, but it is still susan boyle in a nice dress with make up.


You can see a similar thing with the tower blocks that replaced the terraced housing post-war. It was really thought that the concrete walkways would be "streets in the sky" recreating the streets and communities people had once known. Instead, they were barren, cold places, anonymous and unwelcoming.

If an ugly building performs its job well, then that a svaing grace, just as a good-looking building that doesn't do its job well will have its foibles glossed over. But when a building neither looks good nor functions well, what is its saving grace? Architechts may fondly remember the bold vision for tower block living, but they never had to live in one.



But wouldn't people prefer the modern to the outdated?

Why did that not happen with the rebuilt cities post war? Shouldn't we all be loving the modern style, not the old stuff?


That's an entirely different kind of question. It'd be more like asking if a tudor inn is more attractive than a Gerogian townhouse, which yes, is a matter of taste.

And ultimately it is all a matter of taste, unless you purely rate all building by their architectural significance, in which case Bracknell probably rates more highly than Cambridge for architectural merit.


Even if it is a matter of taste, that still doesn't make all views equal. I mean, I can look at one of those FHM 100 Sexiest Women and disagree with the results. That doesn't mean I think it would be equally right to have Dawn French in there becase some men like a woman with a bit of meat on her.


Matter of taste or not, if there's anyone out there who can honestly rate these three skylines and not put Birmingham 3rd, then I'd be amazed.
Well, it seems to me that you do have some form of "canon" that is somehow "set", if not rigidly absolute.

I asked this question not to put you on the spot, but to understand where you are coming from.

That you have some form of "canon" would explain a lot. And there comes a point that if we don't agree on some fundamentals, then there is no point in arguing over other things. To discuss is fine, but I don't think we will reach a resolution, given that we may be far apart on the basics.

I would want to comment about your saying that art is not lived-in. As I said, great architedcture is art. And for that matter: furniture, paintings, music, is just as lived-in as any building. This is my collector's viewpoint creeping in.

In the strictest sense, I would consider architecture as an art-form, as "Art" is really a more encompassing concept.

But that is all a matter of definition.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 02:07 AM   #262
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Well that's to be expected, because you don't see anything of note at all. No one does. That's the point.

As for your example of Hardwick Hall, unfortunately for you the facts don't agree:
Clearly we see here that the windows of Hardwick do frame views instead of blandly displaying them. There's no continuous stretch of nondescript glass panes here.
Read my post again. I said: compared to screens and lattices. So would you agree that the Hardwick windows expose the view more "nakedly" than the lattices of the Taj, for example, and therefore the former is inferior to the latter?

I am simply following your argument here, and as you can see, the conclusions can be rather arbitrary and a tad ridiculous.

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"Coulda woulda shoulda" doesn't substitute for a substantive architectural critique..
Or perhaps it exposes (quite "nakedly") your lack of knowledge in architecture.

Last edited by tpe; August 28th, 2011 at 02:20 AM.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 02:42 AM   #263
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Originally Posted by tpe View Post
Read my post again. I said: compared to screens and lattices. So would you agree that the Hardwick windows expose the view more "nakedly" than the lattices of the Taj, for example, and therefore the former is inferior to the latter?

I am simply following your argument here, and as you can see, the conclusions can be rather arbitrary and a tad ridiculous.
Try reading my posts accurately:

The framed view, however framed, carries more potency than one that is displayed with no eye to artistic detail.

Emphasis added.

It is not a question of specific art-form, but a question of whether there is art-form at all. That's why I provided two very different examples, and that's also why I clearly stated that I gave them only to give you a general idea of the principle. Once again, you fail to address my points honestly.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 03:29 AM   #264
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Try reading my posts accurately:

The framed view, however framed, carries more potency than one that is displayed with no eye to artistic detail.

Emphasis added.

It is not a question of specific art-form, but a question of whether there is art-form at all. That's why I provided two very different examples, and that's also why I clearly stated that I gave them only to give you a general idea of the principle. Once again, you fail to address my points honestly.
Would you say that the primitive unframed/un-paned windows of pre-Classic/proto-Classic Greeks are any less potent?

"Artistic detail" is certainly distinct from "artistic". As in a lot of Greek art, the most primitive forms are artistic, not because they have any remarkable detailing to speak of, but because they consituted robust, and elegant forms with clean, simple lines.

This is what Modernism appreciates at its very best; "detail" is in many ways subservient to clean and elegant lines and forms.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 11:07 AM   #265
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This is what Modernism appreciates at its very best; "detail" is in many ways subservient to clean and elegant lines and forms.
This is the reason why modernism fits the best to my nature. I prefer shapes, lines and forms over decoration.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 12:46 PM   #266
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Please read the discussion before commenting: doing otherwise is irresponsible.

The point being made was that the average streetscapes of today (i.e., those lined with regular dwellings) are no worse than those of the past. On average, they are most likely better today than during the halycon days of the Roman Empire.

Had you read the discussions, THAT point would have been OBVIOUS.

And may I remind some posters here again that the majority of inhabitants of the Empire could not have afforded frescoes, much less what some of you consider as classic architecture.
In what way worse? Just architecturally? I think that just by dragging millennia old mud and brick dwellings into this discussions is quite telling.

The insulae were structurally poor buildings and the condition in which many people lived were probably appalling. However, they created functional, interesting and urban street scapes something modernism has failed to do. The insulae were just buildings on the ground whereas modernist residential developments as they were built during the post- war decades were just high fly ideas put into realization. Modernism can be very creative but it's hardly functional.

Btw, if anyone is interested to know how the poor and the middle class lived in the Roman Empire, watch the hbo/bbc series "Rome".
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Old August 28th, 2011, 02:03 PM   #267
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Would you say that the primitive unframed/un-paned windows of pre-Classic/proto-Classic Greeks are any less potent?

"Artistic detail" is certainly distinct from "artistic". As in a lot of Greek art, the most primitive forms are artistic, not because they have any remarkable detailing to speak of, but because they consituted robust, and elegant forms with clean, simple lines.

This is what Modernism appreciates at its very best; "detail" is in many ways subservient to clean and elegant lines and forms.
Show me where the proto-Classic Greeks had unbroken glass curtain walls and maybe you'll have an argument. Show me a proto-Classic Greek window that looks like that of the New Acropolis Museum or the Apple Store posted above and maybe you'll have something to stand on.

But the truth is you don't. You try to distinguish between "artistic detail" and "artistic", but this is false. Modernism, in spite of its pedantic rhetoric, spurns the artistic in just about every dimension. When it comes to this, windows and openings, the modernist obsession with entire spans of glass reduces our interaction with the view, reduces the nuance of the view and above all fails to give the view any character at all. As I said, it's not about the specific art-form but about whether there is art-form there at all.

In short, you're blatantly dishonest when you try to hijack the legacy of yet another complete architectural style.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 03:02 PM   #268
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Show me where the proto-Classic Greeks had unbroken glass curtain walls and maybe you'll have an argument. Show me a proto-Classic Greek window that looks like that of the New Acropolis Museum or the Apple Store posted above and maybe you'll have something to stand on.
The point is: they had no frames (emphasis added). So according to you, they should be less potent. I do not think they are any less potent, and this opinion is certainly not isolated..

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But the truth is you don't. You try to distinguish between "artistic detail" and "artistic", but this is false. Modernism, in spite of its pedantic rhetoric, spurns the artistic in just about every dimension. When it comes to this, windows and openings, the modernist obsession with entire spans of glass reduces our interaction with the view, reduces the nuance of the view and above all fails to give the view any character at all. As I said, it's not about the specific art-form but about whether there is art-form there at all.
We distinguish between artistic detail/decoration and artistic all the time. For example, in every architectural discussion of Hagia Sophia, we discuss the pure artistry of its spatial derivation from the mathematics of conic sections without reference to the marble revetments, columns, mosaics, window frames, and furnishings.

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In short, you're blatantly dishonest when you try to hijack the legacy of yet another complete architectural style.
Practically every style borrows or derives its very best from the ideals of previous styles. The Roman style borrows even more heavily from the Greek, and looked upon it as its ideal. So, when you say this about Roman architecture, are you being "blatantly dishonest when you try to hijack the legacy of yet another complete architectural style"?

All can see the plain ridiculousness of your remark.

It seems that you can't have a dispassionate discussion everytime the word "Modernism" comes to the fore. Why is that?

Last edited by tpe; August 28th, 2011 at 04:17 PM.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 03:22 PM   #269
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This is the reason why modernism fits the best to my nature. I prefer shapes, lines and forms over decoration.
As many people do, to be sure. You are certainly not alone.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 03:29 PM   #270
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In what way worse? Just architecturally? I think that just by dragging millennia old mud and brick dwellings into this discussions is quite telling.
Everything is laid out in all previously related posts. Take the time to read them.

Whichever side you go for (and I know which side you are on), please understand that the point was NOT to compare Roman slums with the works of starchitects.

The point was to compare standard streetscapes/houses from the Roman period and those from today. Using upper class Vitruvian derivations won't cut it. Using frescoed Roman houses won't cut it. This is because the average house throughout the Empire at the time was very different from all these. The North African comparison comes pretty close.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 05:17 PM   #271
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The point is: they had no frames (emphasis added). So according to you, they should be less potent. I do not think they are any less potent, and this opinion is certainly not isolated..
Thanks for admitting they didn't have glass curtain walls, thus proving my point.

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We distinguish between artistic detail/decoration and artistic all the time. For example, in every architectural discussion of Hagia Sophia, we discuss the pure artistry of its spatial derivation from the mathematics of conic sections without reference to the marble revetments, columns, mosaics, window frames, and furnishings.
And yet it would have never occurred to a designer of a complete architecture to have the former without the latter. Art-form arises from core-form...the two go hand-in-hand. That's why the Ayasofya is an architectural triumph, that's why it's a complete building.

You want to strip buildings bare, to get rid of what a building is. The reductionism of modernism has done away with what made the Ayasofya and other buildings so powerful, and so it's no surprise modernism has failed.

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Practically every style borrows or derives its very best from the ideals of previous styles. The Roman style borrows even more heavily from the Greek, and looked upon it as its ideal. So, when you say this about Roman architecture, are you being "blatantly dishonest when you try to hijack the legacy of yet another complete architectural style"?
Except modernism, which doesn't borrow or derive anything substantial from the lessons of the past. In fact, that's the basis of modernism: a complete break with the past. Then, modernists thought they could buffer their impoverished theories of their impoverished architecture by claiming, with no basis whatsoever, that their style had antecedents before the 19th Century.

This, of course, is nonsense...and your inability to defend your historical allusions is shining proof of this.

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It seems that you can't have a dispassionate discussion everytime the word "Modernism" comes to the fore. Why is that?
I'm the one applying objective reasoning. You're the one retreating to "it's just a matter of taste!" every time your arguments are debunked and shown to be fallacious.

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As many people do, to be sure. You are certainly not alone.
There are quite a few people who think that clothes are completely unnecessary and that nudism is the best way to go...but we don't do away with clothes, and we only allow nudism in restricted areas. My point? It's just like modernism...simply because a small minority disagrees with the rest of society doesn't mean we should force the majority to live with the preferences of the minority. Except that's precisely what modernism and its small clique of apologists want to do.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 05:26 PM   #272
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Everything is laid out in all previously related posts. Take the time to read them.
You didn't take the time to respond reasonably to any of the responses, so you should probably take your own advice instead of trying to shield your ignorance with arrogance.

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Whichever side you go for (and I know which side you are on), please understand that the point was NOT to compare Roman slums with the works of starchitects.
Um, yes, that's what you did. Look back at the thread and see how your inability to defend the Farnsworth House led you to try and convince us that Romans didn't like to paint their houses...just like Mies!

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The point was to compare standard streetscapes/houses from the Roman period and those from today. Using upper class Vitruvian derivations won't cut it. Using frescoed Roman houses won't cut it. This is because the average house throughout the Empire at the time was very different from all these. The North African comparison comes pretty close.
You keep repeating the same garbage even though it's been proven wrong time and again. I guess I'll have to repeat myself again:

Romans loved to decorate their homes. When they had the ability to do so, they did so gleefully. Pre-industrial societies did not have the productive capacity to provide luxury for every home, not even modern society is capable of this. Even still, Roman architecture was all about decoration whenever it was a possibility. Even the photo of the "middle class home" that was posted had corinthian capitals. Until you admit to that, you'll be running away from reality.

Lastly, we can clearly see decoration in the North African medina photos that were posted. I already pointed out the designs on the doorways and elsewhere, and one of the photos was of a riad that is beautifully decorated from top to bottom.

Sorry, you lose, just like modernism.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 05:27 PM   #273
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Thanks for admitting they didn't have glass curtain walls, thus proving my point.
You are avoiding answering the question. So I assume that I know the answer.

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And yet it would have never occurred to a designer of a complete architecture to have the former without the latter.
How do you know? The problem with you is that you extrapolate too much, and you make ridiculous generalizations without respect for facts and reality.

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Except modernism, which doesn't borrow or derive anything substantial from the lessons of the past. In fact, that's the basis of modernism: a complete break with the past. Then, modernists thought they could buffer their impoverished theories of their impoverished architecture by claiming, with no basis whatsoever, that their style had antecedents before the 19th Century.

This, of course, is nonsense...and your inability to defend your historical allusions is shining proof of this.
See my above comment. For someone very deficient in knowledge, you talk too much and assume too much.

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I'm the one applying objective reasoning.
No, you are not. At least that much is obvious.

Last edited by tpe; August 28th, 2011 at 05:44 PM.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 07:11 PM   #274
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In truth, it is a waste of time trying to reason with people who are both addicted to making riduculous generalizations, coupled with a serious deficiency in knowledge

So, let us address one such inanity and be done with it. It is pointless to expect anything sensible in response, because as it has been said: sicut canis qui revertitur ad vomitum suum sic inprudens qui iterat stultitiam suam

So, let us proceed with the demonstration.

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And yet it would have never occurred to a designer of a complete architecture to have the former without the latter.
This generalization was made in context of Hagia Sophia and its two great designers, Anthemios and Isodorus.

Well, it turns out that Anthemios and Isodorus provide a counterexample for this generalization.

I pick out a standard/popular text in the literature: Krautheimer's text on Byzantine architecture. Everything I say here can be verified within this text, or any of the many sources Krautheimer cites.

The facts:

- Anthemios and Isodorus are mechanopoioi, versed in Physics and Mathematics. They were not (and had no training as) master builders, and therefore were not trained in the principles of the standard classical architecture of the past.

- There is strong indication that one of them was not even familiar with the principles of Vitruvius.

- They explicity did not involve themselves with the decoration of the Great Church. They restricted themselves to the resolution of the mighty dome and semi-domes against a central rectangular plan. This resolution involved going to the very limits of what we now call "safety coefficients" in the science of structural statics and engineering.

- The decoration and details of the basilican plan of the Church was the work of the master builders working under Justinian. This accounts for the rather peculiar attempt at juxtaposing a standard basilican layout inside a building that what was obviously designed with a centralized plan in mind.

- The original decoration in Hagia Sophia was remarkably plain, reflecting the lack of time that faced the master builders once the scheme of Anthemios and Isodorus was stabilized. The marbles were selected by Justinian and his master builders, and Anthemios and Isodorus did not concern themselves with the construction and placing of the marble columns and the famous patterned marble revetment. There were no figural decorations in the original interior.

So, from the facts laid out by Krautheimer, it is clear that Anthemios and Isodorus concerned themselves purely with the "former", and never with the "latter".

But any ignorant fool can claim otherwise, of course, given that they have not read a standard text like Krautheimer's! One would even wonder if they have read anything at all.

Additional reading: http://www.amazon.com/Master-Builder.../dp/0691005354

Last edited by tpe; August 28th, 2011 at 07:19 PM.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 08:13 PM   #275
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You are avoiding answering the question. So I assume that I know the answer.
You haven't posted anything to answer...you vaguely mention Greek windows without posting a single example. It is, however, obvious that it isn't anything like the New Acropolis Museum and other modernist follies, and so you already supported my point whether or not you want to admit it.

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How do you know? The problem with you is that you extrapolate too much, and you make ridiculous generalizations without respect for facts and reality.
Um, because the designers of the Ayasofya did use copious amounts of decoration?

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See my above comment. For someone very deficient in knowledge, you talk too much and assume too much.
Show me these supposed records of Byzantine architects promoting modernist principles of design. Of course, you can do this after you show me how Seutonius was a primary source on the Great Fire of Rome while not even being born yet.

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No, you are not. At least that much is obvious.
Nice comeback.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 08:34 PM   #276
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Show me these supposed records of Byzantine architects promoting modernist principles of design.
Foolish child. Where did I say that Byzantine architects promoted modernist principles of design? Are you high, perhaps?

This comment illustrates the bad quality and extremely low level of most of your responses on this thread. It not only reveals you as stupid and flippant, but also ignorant and delusional. My dogs know more architecture than you.

I cannot justify wasting more time on you and other ignoranti. And therefore, I leave you to the judgment of the casual and more rational readers in this thread, who will look at your above comment and exclaim: sicut canis qui revertitur ad vomitum suum sic inprudens qui iterat stultitiam suam!

Last edited by tpe; August 28th, 2011 at 08:45 PM.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 08:51 PM   #277
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This generalization was made in context of Hagia Sophia and its two great designers, Anthemios and Isodorus.
Well, it took you one sentence to retreat into dishonesty. What a surprise.

The point is in the context of the Ayasofya as it was designed by its original builders. The main designers were part of this, of course, but they aren't the whole story. They came up with the structure itself (core-form) but lacked the skills necessary to add decoration and artistic detail (art-form). Thus, the backers of the building got other individuals to decorate it and make it the beautiful, complete building we know it as.

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- There is strong indication that one of them was not even familiar with the principles of Vitruvius.
Where did I say they did? Nowhere. How is that intrinsic to my argument? It isn't.

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- They explicity did not involve themselves with the decoration of the Great Church. They restricted themselves to the resolution of the mighty dome and semi-domes against a central rectangular plan. This resolution involved going to the very limits of what we now call "safety coefficients" in the science of structural statics and engineering.

- The decoration and details of the basilican plan of the Church was the work of the master builders working under Justinian. This accounts for the rather peculiar attempt at juxtaposing a standard basilican layout inside a building that what was obviously designed with a centralized plan in mind.
Right...Anthemios and Isodorus didn't know much of anything about decoration and so that was left to other minds and hands. The final product is what matters...no one was going to keep it plain "just 'cause".

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- The original decoration in Hagia Sophia was remarkably plain, reflecting the lack of time that faced the master builders once the scheme of Anthemios and Isodorus was stabilized. The marbles were selected by Justinian and his master builders, and Anthemios and Isodorus did not concern themselves with the construction and placing of the marble columns and the famous patterned marble revetment. There were no figural decorations in the original interior.
And it was later decorated because no one was stupid enough to leave a building needlessly unadorned.

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So, from the facts laid out by Krautheimer, it is clear that Anthemios and Isodorus concerned themselves purely with the "former", and never with the "latter".
Because they weren't trained in "the latter"...so their patron got other people who were trained in "the latter" to complete the building. As I said, it wouldn't have occurred to anyone to not decorate the structure.

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But any ignorant fool can claim otherwise,
You'd know a thing or two about that, wouldn't you.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 09:08 PM   #278
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Foolish child. Where did I say that Byzantine architects promoted modernist principles of design?
You've been futilely trying to connect the Ayasofya's windows to modernist glass curtain walls for a few posts now. I've pointed out how absurd and idiotic this is.

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This comment illustrates the bad quality and extremely low level of most of your responses on this thread. It not only reveals you as stupid and flippant, but also ignorant and delusional. My dogs know more architecture than you.
Your dogs decorate exteriors with more artistic quality than your modernist heroes.

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I cannot justify wasting more time on you and other ignoranti. And therefore, I leave you to the judgment of the casual and more rational readers in this thread, who will look at your above comment and exclaim: sicut canis qui revertitur ad vomitum suum sic inprudens qui iterat stultitiam suam!
Well, you can't justify anything else you've said so far, so that's nothing new. But since someone forgot to tell you, bible quotes don't substitute for honest architectural analysis.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 09:24 PM   #279
tpe
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Originally Posted by kaligraffi View Post
Well, it took you one sentence to retreat into dishonesty. What a surprise.

The point is in the context of the Ayasofya as it was designed by its original builders. The main designers were part of this, of course, but they aren't the whole story. They came up with the structure itself (core-form) but lacked the skills necessary to add decoration and artistic detail (art-form). Thus, the backers of the building got other individuals to decorate it and make it the beautiful, complete building we know it as.


Where did I say they did? Nowhere. How is that intrinsic to my argument? It isn't.


Right...Anthemios and Isodorus didn't know much of anything about decoration and so that was left to other minds and hands. The final product is what matters...no one was going to keep it plain "just 'cause".


And it was later decorated because no one was stupid enough to leave a building needlessly unadorned.


Because they weren't trained in "the latter"...so their patron got other people who were trained in "the latter" to complete the building. As I said, it wouldn't have occurred to anyone to not decorate the structure.


You'd know a thing or two about that, wouldn't you.
The dog is again barking at the wrong tree.

Please argue with Krautheimer, as he clearly disagrees with you. It would profit you to read him, as he will be able to help you with some of your most gaping deficiencies, so help you God.

Finally: quibbling does not hide ignorance in architectural principles and its history. Please go beyond your usual quibbles.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 10:49 PM   #280
kaligraffi
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Originally Posted by tpe View Post
The dog is again barking at the wrong tree.

Please argue with Krautheimer, as he clearly disagrees with you. It would profit you to read him, as he will be able to help you with some of your most gaping deficiencies, so help you God.
So Krautheimer says that the Byzantines never put ornament on the Ayasofya?

Or...more likely, your arguments aren't supported by your own citations.

Quote:
Finally: quibbling does not hide ignorance in architectural principles and its history. Please go beyond your usual quibbles.
Is that from Proverbs too?
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