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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 October 4th, 2011, 04:03 PM   #321
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This is a medieval favela. Half thousand years and Rio will be a historical city possibly, a romantic tourist site, with small old houses and narrow streets in the hillside:

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Old October 4th, 2011, 04:09 PM   #322
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blabla
Basically all this debacle has started from your comment - "common people were able to enjoy quite sophisticated classical architecture in the era of the Roman Empire." Which is simply not true, since common people lived in appaling conditions, in dull and poorly constructed buildings which were prone to fires and collapse. However that wasnt because there was no "productive capacity", but because there was no will (a bit like today where developers put up cheap stuff just to make a quick buck), after all the Romans criss-crossed their empire with aqueducts and roads!

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Lastly, what's the definition of beauty? Well, if you have to ask, then you ain't got it. At least that's what they say
Im sorry but brutal buildings of rough stone in narrow streets (Siena or the aforementioned Pitigliano) are not what Id call beauty. In the end it is very subjective. To me a modernist building can be just as beautiful as Gothic cathedral or Baroque palace.

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This is a medieval favela.
Of course, but people would say it looks beautiful, romantic even. However these buildings are not that different from brutalist stuff of the 60s.
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Old October 4th, 2011, 05:03 PM   #323
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Originally Posted by El_Greco View Post
Basically all this debacle has started from your comment - "common people were able to enjoy quite sophisticated classical architecture in the era of the Roman Empire." Which is simply not true, since common people lived in appaling conditions, in dull and poorly constructed buildings which were prone to fires and collapse. However that wasnt because there was no "productive capacity", but because there was no will (a bit like today where developers put up cheap stuff just to make a quick buck), after all the Romans criss-crossed their empire with aqueducts and roads!
First, yes, common people did enjoy sophisticated classical architecture. Public bathhouses are just one example of this, the Flavian Ampitheatre is another. Second, no, Roman society was very much bound by its productive capacity, along with every single society before and after. How much a family decorated their home was very much dependent upon how much they could spend on it...which is entirely determined by the cost (and thus the availability) of labor and commodities. It is the mode of production that is most important in the development of all social relations and therefore the basis for construction. Third, none of this excuses your insistence that the Baths of Caracalla/Trajan/Diocletian and other public buildings outside of the forum didn't exist.

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Im sorry but brutal buildings of rough stone in narrow streets (Siena or the aforementioned Pitigliano) are not what Id call beauty. In the end it is very subjective. To me a modernist building can be just as beautiful as Gothic cathedral or Baroque palace.
Beauty is subjective, but most people find the Chrysler Building endlessly more beautiful than the CBS Building. This, in spite of the fact that architectural "experts" have been lecturing the public on the supposed merits of the latter for years.

But since beauty is subjective, then we can dispense of this modernist myth that architecture can be a fully scientific (read: objective) enterprise. Realizing this 60 years ago would have saved us from many a failure.

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Of course, but people would say it looks beautiful, romantic even. However these buildings are not that different from brutalist stuff of the 60s.
In form and in material, they are markedly different. How many 60's brutalist buildings have clay tile roofs? How many are made of stone? How many are arranged in such a manner? How many employ voussoirs?
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Old October 4th, 2011, 09:58 PM   #324
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this is a fantastic piece of modern architecture, but is this truely modern in the layout ? its modern by looks and facade but the layout is the same as the classic dutch areas, its classic

its interesting, as we can see modern and classic compromising each other

they dont have to go against eachother !
Thats exactly why I said we have to distuinguish between modernist architecture and modernist town planning. Modernist town planning is a failure I agree, but the architecture is not, and works especially well when applied in non-modernist town planning contexts.. Having said that, this isn't exactly a classic dutch layout, although it does take its inspiration from classic dutch.
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Old October 4th, 2011, 11:13 PM   #325
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Originally Posted by kaligraffi View Post
Exceptions don't disprove rules...a broken clock is right twice a day...even a blind squirrel finds a nut...
That is stupid. A completely wrong and badly chosen analogy. A squirrel finding a nut has absolutely nothing to do with architecture. FAIL. The broken clock thing doesn't even make sense, although I'd love to hear your try and explain it. He clearly pointed out that there are many fine modern buildings. That is not an accident, coincidence or blind luck.

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Originally Posted by kaligraffi View Post
A few things here:

1.) Expensive skilled labor is absolutely no excuse for a lack of detailed design. Architects get paid to find solutions to problems, and throwing your hands up and saying "well stone masons are expensive so let's make everything a big glass box" doesn't cut it.

It is quite astonishing how quickly modernism changes its tune. One minute, it is claiming its intrinsic superiority to all other styles, how much it improves life, how it is the product of an advanced era in human history. The next, though, it is screaming that the modern age is somehow incapable of producing even the slightest bit of ornamental detail (in spite of the fact that modernism first advanced its polemic against ornament as an ideological matter and not a practical one). These are contradictory positions, and at least one of them is wrong. As it happens, both of them are.
To respond to this: You either missed or possibly deliberately avoided the point of what I said. What I said was that old construction methods are not cheap today. That is not debatable, it is fact. The point I was making, is that if you want a good design, you have to spend money, and that applies to old fashioned as well as new construction. IE, in the case of the drab suburbs, it is not like you could have made them nicer for the same price, simply by using traditional building methods. If you think you can make modern buildings look nice by adding some cheap ornament then you I will take the opportunity of reminding you how crap post modernism and neo classical buildings are. The fact is that if you want the qualities of old buildins - ie if you want a building to look like a very beautiful old building you HAVE TO build it using old methods. You cannot build a wonderful georgian town house using today's wire cut bricks, or uPVC windows. For it to look right would require handmade bricks, and timber sash windows - both of which are insanely expensive. Again, you cannot build an oak cottage without using carpentry and oak - again - both insanely expensive.

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Originally Posted by kaligraffi View Post
2.) Let us not exaggerate. Britain and France and the Netherlands were part of the Marshall Plan, so it's not like they had no resources with which to rebuild. I agree that we can't ignore the dire housing situation that was left in WWII's wake, and this was probably at its worst in places like the Soviet Union. In that case, I am sympathetic to pre-fab concrete housing, simply because there were people who needed roofs over their heads and it was the fastest and cheapest way to accomplish that. So in that specific sense, I can nod my head at the concrete apartment bloc (it's always interested me how the Soviet Union is condemned for this style of architecture while no one criticizes the same exact stuff in Stockholm, Tokyo and Paris...the effects of hypocritical NATO propaganda, surely enough).

But that aside, the most egregious crimes of modernism came about when there was no actual need to demolish a cherished public building: Penn Station was never near any bombing campaigns and yet it was knocked down to be replaced by a bad joke. Euston Station, similarly, was not heavily damaged by bombing when it was destroyed to make way for an infamous piece of modernist stupidity.
You say this as if it is a crime unique to the modern period. Yes, according to you ancient buildings have always been respected in the past, and never wantonly destroyed to be replaced by an inferior product. Do you have any evidence for this?

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Originally Posted by kaligraffi View Post
New methods of construction and modernist architecture are not one in the same.
Again, you seem to think that we can and should use modern methods of construction to build ancient style architecture. This makes absolutely no sense. All it amounts to is fakery and ennui. Fakery is never beautiful, and beauty is what architects should strive for. In any case, why should we keep repeating the past? As far as I can tell, your argument amounts to a mixture of bad taste, delusion and prejudice.

The stupid thing is that instead of arguing why modern architecture is beautiful I am arguing why we shouldn't build old fashioned... Or maybe thats not stupid, but now I will make the argument for modernist beauty. First some images:

Alvar Aalto (one of my favourite modernists, fabulous Finnish architect):


image hosted on flickr

interior by andrewpaulcarr, on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

villa mairea XIII by rafael rybczynski, on Flickr

Pierre Chareau:






Mies Van der Rohe


image hosted on flickr




Le Corbusier




Peter Zumthor:











Carlo Scarpa:











Wiel Arets:








Louis Kahn:















I could go on and on and on and on... But enough pictures.. Ultimately modernism greatly contributed to the beauty of architecture in many ways:
- sculptural form
- interior capturing of light
- amazing materials
- scale and wonder

ok enough.

Last edited by PadArch; October 5th, 2011 at 12:27 AM.
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Old October 4th, 2011, 11:44 PM   #326
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The problem with Modernism - despite it's good buildings - however is the erosion of local styles. Many modernist styles are quite rightly labeled as the 'international style', they fit in any city anywhere on earth. Now, if you look at older styles, you can look at one building and say 'Yes, that belongs in the UK' or 'that is definitely french'.
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Old October 5th, 2011, 12:04 AM   #327
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Now, if you look at older styles, you can look at one building and say 'Yes, that belongs in the UK' or 'that is definitely french'.
What about Classicism? Or Gothic? Or Baroque? Or Art-Deco? Etc etc?

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Old October 5th, 2011, 12:18 AM   #328
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its true, classicism is just as much an international style as modernism..
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Old October 5th, 2011, 12:32 AM   #329
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What about Classicism? Or Gothic? Or Baroque? Or Art-Deco? Etc etc?

But even they adapted to the locales. Art deco in particular is very distinguishable between nationalities.
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Old October 5th, 2011, 01:16 AM   #330
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Nope.
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Old October 5th, 2011, 02:39 AM   #331
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Nope.
Actually art deco has. For example Singapore has very different art deco than say, New York. Classism in Europe and South East Asia are also very different, even though they were built by colonials.
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Old October 5th, 2011, 03:59 AM   #332
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Singapore was British colony and Art-Deco (ie early version) didnt really pick up there, Britain and indeed most of Europe was a Streamline Moderne (late Art-Deco) country and this is what youll find in its former colonies. As for Classicism its similar everywhere too, maybe South-East Asian version has shutters and verandas but its not all that dissimilar to what you find in the rest of the World. Indeed regional/national differences in architecture was a thing of the Middle Ages and since the 18th century architecture was becoming more and more international - you could find same looking buildings from Istanbul to St Petersburg. Theres no surprise there, though, because since the Renaissance the World has been shrinking and shrinking ; advances in technology made it easier to travel and thus easier for ideas to spread, whereas Middle Ages was largely isolationist age of city-states and such.
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Old October 5th, 2011, 11:00 AM   #333
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Indeed, but I was just backing up ill tonkso, there are differences in every style, even modernism, depending on the country.

I must say, I love modernism. In Singapore, modernism is executed very well, with tall landmark buildings constructed all the time, just like Dubai. But that said, modernism hasn't succeeded over classicism in places like Finland where buildings are cheap and ugly, way too often.
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Old October 5th, 2011, 06:05 PM   #334
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That is stupid. A completely wrong and badly chosen analogy. A squirrel finding a nut has absolutely nothing to do with architecture. FAIL. The broken clock thing doesn't even make sense, although I'd love to hear your try and explain it.
...a clock that broke at 10.17 would be right twice a day, at 10.17 am and 10.17 pm


The implication that modern buildings can be attractive be accident rather than design is a little stretched though. The good examples (as listed but not requoted) were good because the architect clearly put a lot of effort into how the building looked. they were clearly not designed purely to be functional.

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You say this as if it is a crime unique to the modern period. Yes, according to you ancient buildings have always been respected in the past, and never wantonly destroyed to be replaced by an inferior product. Do you have any evidence for this?
They certainly weren't bothered by preservation in the past. The historic gates of London were destroyed to ease traffic congestion, for example. The famous multi-storey houses and shops that once lined London Bridge, which would now be regarded as one of Europe's greatest architectural treasures had they survived, were also unceremoniously removed for the same reason.

Saying that, there's little evidence to suggest people thought such building ugly and wanted them pulled down. The era just seemed to be rather more pragmatic.

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Again, you seem to think that we can and should use modern methods of construction to build ancient style architecture. This makes absolutely no sense. All it amounts to is fakery and ennui. Fakery is never beautiful, and beauty is what architects should strive for. In any case, why should we keep repeating the past? As far as I can tell, your argument amounts to a mixture of bad taste, delusion and prejudice.
I don't think anyone should try copying the past. Unless you can recreate exactly, it will always look inferior.

I don't think people are really clamouring for it either - even those that dislike "modern" architecture.


Quote:

I could go on and on and on and on... But enough pictures.. Ultimately modernism greatly contributed to the beauty of architecture in many ways:
- sculptural form
- interior capturing of light
- amazing materials
- scale and wonder

ok enough.
The problem is than when many think of modern architecture, they do think of cheap tower blocks, sterile pedestrian precincts and dreary office buildings.

It may not have been the objective of modernism to reject any notion of decoration and concentrate purely on function, but when people look at such structures, it's easy to draw that conclusion.

And yes, some people might look at a 60s office block and see beauty in it, but nobody ever list such buildings, or car parks or inner city tower blocks as examples of great modern architecture, and it's not hard to see why.

The thing I don't really get is why those with a thing for modern architecture give the impression that all modern stuff is fine, and anyone who doesn't appreciate it is some kind of philistine. It may well be true that the first prefabricated tower block is worthy of preservation as an example of the pioneering style, and is interesting because of it. But that doesn't mean the 37th example of the style is as equally valuable.
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Old October 5th, 2011, 07:24 PM   #335
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Being the real of poor and the most abject and degraded social and cultural aspects of a 3rd World society, slums must be cleared, wiped out (after people are to be removed). Doesn't matter it can be "nice" in 200 years.

First, take everyone out, they are illegal settlements anyway. House them elsewhere in planned neighborhoods in cheaper areas of the city

Then, wipe it out, drop napalm on buildings after removing everyone, put on fire, bulldoze, do anything to remove that urban cancer in form of slums as it were extreme urban chemoteraphy. IT's not enough to take people out. Remove the buildings, the history, the very rooted, poisoned, degraded, hopeless community dynamics developed in these slums on AFrica, Asia, Latin America. Burn them down and forget they ever existed. Remove the people, but also the culture and deranged attachments to lawlessness, disrespect for codes and private property, traffic, disregard for ordinances etc.

Only then could 3rd World cities ever look great.

Modernism succeeded a lot in bringing the concept of peacetime "carpet clearance" to cities.
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Old October 5th, 2011, 07:36 PM   #336
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So you go from modernism is a failure to, "there are many fine modern buildings out there". Need I really say more?
Modernism is failure on the whole, but no one can deny that it has produced som great stand alone buildings and sometimes even whole streets.

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Yes I think I should. "the majority of what's being built these days is bland." ok so I suppose you think this is bland:
You clearly missed the majority part. How can you possible claim that the maority of modern buildings built today look anything like the ones you posted?? Those are rare example of goo looking modernism.

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yes i am sure you much rather live here:
image hosted on flickr


than here:
Bad exmaple. They are so different. So many factors are involved including location.

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Just because you see a lot of bland buildings in the suburbs of Helsinki, doesn't make modernist/modern architecture a failure. They are probably bland because there wasn't enough budget to do a nicer design.
Hardly. As you may know Finland is quite well known for its modernist architecture and architects. As I said, modernism did not fail as badly in Finland as in other countries such as Britain. I just don't like how suburbs were built in the post- war era.

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If you think its possible to produce lovely old fashioned buildings cheaply then you have no idea what you are talking about.
Many cities seem to pull it off with great success, Dresden for example. Not that it's relevant as we're discussing architectural style. Furthermore the same applies for modern architecture: you won't get nice building if you aren't willing to invest.

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The fact is skilled labour these days are incredibly expensive, let alone the kind of skilled hand craft that is need to do complex carpentry, intricate stone work etc. The main reason people always think old buildings look good is because they were the best of their era that survived..Over time people destroyed all the bad stuff...
I don't know where you get your ideas but that is simply not true. Restored 18th century slums look amazing today, in fact I often find converted warehouses and old industrial buildings more beautiful than the fancy ornamental stuff.

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So you can't compare hand-picked old buildings against the worst examples from the 20th century. In any case, putting the work of one century (20th) against all other centuries is stupid.. If you want to compare you should compare century vs century, because the output in each era varied considerably in style. Furthermore the argument that there were less resources for building in previous eras is absolute bullcrap. Do you really think that St Peter's in Rome had a budget?!
That's true, but I honestly think that all centuries in the early modern era produced better- looking buildings than what was built in the 20th century. However, architecture is getting better these days and this may change.

When it comes to land mark buildings, keep them out of this discussion as they are always exceptions. In the 15th century no one cared how the average person lived. Today we do care about how people live and that they are entitled to a certain standard of living i.e. more money is spent on building housing.

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Do you have any idea what it would cost to procure a building like that in this day an age, and bearing in mind that in today's environment people won't spend money on a building unless they can expect a profit or direct benefit.. The fact is actually the exact opposite, the monuments of the past were often built by tyrants with total control who would blow incredible amounts of money just to glorify themselves. Take the palace of Versailles for instance. At one point Louis XIV was spending a staggering 30% of the GDP of what was at the time, by far the most powerful empire in the world in order to make improvements at Versailles. In fact he almost bankrupted France, and had to have all the silver tables melted down in order to continue their war efforts. On the other hand, at the end of 2 world wars, Britain, Netherlands and Germany for example were absolutely derelict. I suppose you have seen images of London, Rotterdam, Dresden, Berlin after WW2? Where do you suppose the money came from to rebuild? Who were the workforce, after so many men were killed. The fact that these places have been rebuilt at all, could be seen as a triumph, and yet you are complaining because you are too chic to live in "drab concrete" building. You should be grateful you have what you have, and that people in the 20th century outdid themselves to give our generation what the vast majority of Europeans in the past never had.
What a rant. Funny how you try to turn a discussion about architecture into some kind of speech about how I have no respect for was heroes

What you wrote is completely besides the point as no one is questioning the fact that when it comes to comfort the concrete blocks of he 60s blow any other historic form of housing out of the water.

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On the subject of the utopias again, wasn't it Finland who helped the Nazi's against the Soviet Union? No wonder you are confusing utopia with dystopia.
Seriously wtf?? Get a grip.

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On The fact is, that you have absolutely no perspective on this issue. Scandinavian people seem to think they have accomplished their civilised society on their own! The fact is that Scandinavia benefited from centuries of hardship and progress made by countries that went through long and arduous industrial revolutions, countries like France, Britain and Germany were in such terrible situations for their working classes in the early 20th century, that it was perfectly normal and justifiable to wish a progress from children with a life expectancy in the early 30s due to overcrowding, pollution and lack of hygiene.


Whatever mate, you don't know shit about Scandinavia.

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On For you to call that utopian is such an easy and stupid criticism, when thanks to this kind of progress it is now that Scandinavian countries have such a good standard of living. If it wasn't for our "utopias", you Scandinavians would still be rolling around in mud and snow eating herrings and drinking too much. Great education system? Fantastic healthcare? Where do you think all this stuff comes from - you think you invented it yourselves?!
Yes we invented it ourselves! We built it bit by bit. Jesus, people seem to think there was no harship and factory workers in Scandinavia. We decided to invest in welfare and that is why the Nordic countries are so prosperous today. You are clearly jealous and deluded.

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If you think this kind of mass-scale rebuilding, rehousing of Europe would have been possible after 2 world wars, with old methods of construction, then once again, I say, you are out of your element.
Again, stay on topic.
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Old October 6th, 2011, 08:41 PM   #337
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Modernism is failure on the whole, but no one can deny that it has produced som great stand alone buildings and sometimes even whole streets.



You clearly missed the majority part. How can you possible claim that the maority of modern buildings built today look anything like the ones you posted?? Those are rare example of goo looking modernism.




Hardly. As you may know Finland is quite well known for its modernist architecture and architects. As I said, modernism did not fail as badly in Finland as in other countries such as Britain. I just don't like how suburbs were built in the post- war era.
So in other words what you are having is not a discussion about modern or modernist architecture at all. The fact is you've made very little argument e.g. no analysis or explanations and used zero examples, zero evidence etc. All you can say is "I just don't like how suburbs were built in the post-war era". Why is it that you fail to understand what I have said.. No one here would quibble the fact that a vast quantity of austere and unattractive buildings were built in various places in the 1960s. I would argue that the post modern crap built in the 1970s and 1980s is even worse (funnily enough a lot of the 1950s stuff, although intended temporarily was actually quite good). Now, that is all well and good, but as I said in previous posts, you pretty much get what you pay for with buildings, and at that time people's priorities were paying for things like space and light, not decorative frills or finishes, especially given the millions of people who needed rehousing, and the limited budgets available. The best I can say is that in some cases at least they had achieved a result which did the best they could with their means.

Besides this, the main point of discussion - if we are truly discussing the merits of modernist/modern architecture - are the actual features of that architecture or at least examples. If you really want to critique you should point out why that style is bad rather than simply saying that you (and your anecdotal "most people") don't like modern buildings, or prefer old buildings. Even then, it is my view that some people are so affected by populism that they simply follow the trends of the times. At this point in the early 21st century, vintage is chic. People love vintage clothes, old refurbished warehouses and higgledy piggledy medieval town centres, but 40 years ago, people detested the same things. Personally I have no problem with refurbished buildings, (slight problem with vintage fashion - except when truly reinvented), and I completely understand why other people like them - the layering of different periods adds a lot more richness to the aesthetic. Again, I am completely aware and sympathetic to the virtue of old buildings, for instance my favourite building ever is probably the hagia sofia. But at the same time one has to recognise that Modernism has made an unbelievable contribution to architecture in a short space of time. None of those buildings I posted above would have been possible without the modernist movement, and I would say that the best modernist buildings stand out as some of the finest in history ever. The kind of qualities of natural light you get, sense of space you get, and quality and precision of worksmanship displayed is simply more powerful, more beautiful and more inspiring than anything before (barring some notable examples). These things haven't simply expanded the range of existing buildings in the world, but more importantly the imagination and possibilities of architecture as an art have been opened up so much wider. To call that a failure is taking for granted everything beautiful that has been added to the world in the last 100 years, which I would dare to say is probably more than any other century in the past.


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Whatever mate, you don't know shit about Scandinavia.


Whatever mate, you don't shit about Architecture.


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Yes we invented it ourselves! We built it bit by bit. Jesus, people seem to think there was no harship and factory workers in Scandinavia. We decided to invest in welfare and that is why the Nordic countries are so prosperous today. You are clearly jealous and deluded.



Again, stay on topic.
My point was that what without what you dismiss as "utopias" and "failures" were the aspirations of other countries to improve living conditions for common people, without which countries like those in Scandinavia wouldn't have the living conditions that they have today. So before you snidely throw out "utopias" (the standard line of critique in the early 1980s), remember that it was the modern progressive movements (not just limited to architecture, but its all part of the same narrative) that gave you what you have.

I can only conclude from what you have said in this discussion, that your vision of architecture is anti-progressive and anti-creative. It seems like you prefer that we stick to the old ways, rather than expand our horizons of beauty as well as quality of life. I believe this is because you have a romantic or nostalgic view of the past as being some kind of golden era, and that everything which is old is automatically better or nicer, and you are certainly not alone on that point. This is because you take for granted everything I point out. If I show you the beauty of modern buildings you dismiss it as "rare examples". Meanwhile if I showed you an ordinary unremarkable classical building you'll probably immediately praise its "great architecture".

As a side note, the reason I said you views were 40 years out of date, is that we've already had a huge backlash against these kind of buildings - it was called post modernism - and I think you'll find that period produced very little of any merit at all.

At this point the debate becomes meaningless.. I can only suggest that if you are interested in architecture, take some time to discover modern and contemporary architecture. I'm quite sure far ahead in time we'll look back on the 20th century with just as much nostalgia once the the post-war slums are cleared or renovated. And then people like you will criticise the equivalent demons of the time whilst lamenting the bygone era of modernism.

Last edited by PadArch; October 6th, 2011 at 08:46 PM.
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Old October 7th, 2011, 03:36 PM   #338
Mr Bricks
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So in other words what you are having is not a discussion about modern or modernist architecture at all. The fact is you've made very little argument e.g. no analysis or explanations and used zero examples, zero evidence etc. All you can say is "I just don't like how suburbs were built in the post-war era". Why is it that you fail to understand what I have said.. No one here would quibble the fact that a vast quantity of austere and unattractive buildings were built in various places in the 1960s. I would argue that the post modern crap built in the 1970s and 1980s is even worse (funnily enough a lot of the 1950s stuff, although intended temporarily was actually quite good). Now, that is all well and good, but as I said in previous posts, you pretty much get what you pay for with buildings, and at that time people's priorities were paying for things like space and light, not decorative frills or finishes, especially given the millions of people who needed rehousing, and the limited budgets available. The best I can say is that in some cases at least they had achieved a result which did the best they could with their means.
Those ugly buildings that popped up all over the world after the war were not ugly becaused they lacked "decorative frills", most of them were ugly in design and very much lacked the space and light you're talking about. They were often just as dark and depressing as the slums of the past.

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Besides this, the main point of discussion - if we are truly discussing the merits of modernist/modern architecture - are the actual features of that architecture or at least examples.
Finally we are getting somewhere!

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If you really want to critique you should point out why that style is bad rather than simply saying that you (and your anecdotal "most people") don't like modern buildings, or prefer old buildings.
Unlike you who are always relying on facts :

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...that period produced very little of any merit at all.
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Even then, it is my view that some people are so affected by populism that they simply follow the trends of the times. At this point in the early 21st century, vintage is chic. People love vintage clothes, old refurbished warehouses and higgledy piggledy medieval town centres, but 40 years ago, people detested the same things.
Well that is not me. Speaking of populism how on earth can you claim that "40 years ago, people detested the same things"? People fought developers who wanted everything old torn down back then just as much as now. The residents of the poor East End of London wanted their streets and buildings to be saved, the architecture was never the peoblem, the horrible living condition were, as well as the fast that old buildings were left to rot. Now get this, those who wanted the new modernist blocks were architects, developers and politicians.

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But at the same time one has to recognise that Modernism has made an unbelievable contribution to architecture in a short space of time.
This is quite obivous don't you think?

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None of those buildings I posted above would have been possible without the modernist movement, and I would say that the best modernist buildings stand out as some of the finest in history ever. The kind of qualities of natural light you get, sense of space you get, and quality and precision of worksmanship displayed is simply more powerful, more beautiful and more inspiring than anything before (barring some notable examples). These things haven't simply expanded the range of existing buildings in the world, but more importantly the imagination and possibilities of architecture as an art have been opened up so much wider. To call that a failure is taking for granted everything beautiful that has been added to the world in the last 100 years, which I would dare to say is probably more than any other century in the past.
As I already said modernism has produced some amazing buildings around the world. However, when walking around in any city most of the modernist architecture you see is plain and ugly.

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Whatever mate, you don't shit about Architecture.
Says someone who derails the thread and don't even understand the topic.

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Originally Posted by PadArch View Post
My point was that what without what you dismiss as "utopias" and "failures" were the aspirations of other countries to improve living conditions for common people, without which countries like those in Scandinavia wouldn't have the living conditions that they have today. So before you snidely throw out "utopias" (the standard line of critique in the early 1980s), remember that it was the modern progressive movements (not just limited to architecture, but its all part of the same narrative) that gave you what you have.
What you said was that the Nordic countries should thank the great European powers for what they are today. What kind of a twisted Sarah Palinian statement is that??

If I want to "thank" anyone for the living standards I enjoy today it is the workers and middle class of the 19th century who started demanding their rights, as well as some politicans who realized that a high standard of living for thepeople benefited the country. Of course the history of the welfare state goes much futher back than this. This should not be confused with the utopian, fascist and racist ideas of the early 20th century. History has shown us that utopianism always fails.

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Originally Posted by PadArch View Post
I can only conclude from what you have said in this discussion, that your vision of architecture is anti-progressive and anti-creative. It seems like you prefer that we stick to the old ways, rather than expand our horizons of beauty as well as quality of life. I believe this is because you have a romantic or nostalgic view of the past as being some kind of golden era, and that everything which is old is automatically better or nicer, and you are certainly not alone on that point.
Well as usual you have arrived at the wrong conclusion. I am extremely glad I don't live like people used to, I would never want to go back. People in the west have never had it this good. Still, I don't - like many others - think everything in the past was worse than it is today. Because that is simply not true.

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This is because you take for granted everything I point out.
There, there. That is simply because you haven't really brought anything new to the table.

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Originally Posted by PadArch View Post
If I show you the beauty of modern buildings you dismiss it as "rare examples". Meanwhile if I showed you an ordinary unremarkable classical building you'll probably immediately praise its "great architecture".
It is a fact that those buildings you showed me are rare examples. It's not like our cities are full of them - quite the contrary. The classical building you picked is beautiful, but as you say quite ordinary and nothing special. You see it isn't always just about how revolutionary the architecture is. Those typical apartment buildings that were mass procued for the European bourgeoisie in the 19th century are very common thoughout Europe today. They are often quite "plain looking", however, they create fantastic street scapes and neighbourhoods, somthing modernism completely failed in achieving.


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Originally Posted by PadArch View Post
As a side note, the reason I said you views were 40 years out of date, is that we've already had a huge backlash against these kind of buildings - it was called post modernism.
Indeed, and I am no fan of that style at all.

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Originally Posted by PadArch View Post
At this point the debate becomes meaningless.. I can only suggest that if you are interested in architecture, take some time to discover modern and contemporary architecture. I'm quite sure far ahead in time we'll look back on the 20th century with just as much nostalgia once the the post-war slums are cleared or renovated. And then people like you will criticise the equivalent demons of the time whilst lamenting the bygone era of modernism.
Maybe you are right, but I can guarantee you that no one is going to miss the modernist architecture itself. In fact I find it amazing to look at pics from the 60s and 70s and seeing all those housing estates in their hay day. In the future we might feel very nostalgic about them, just like we today like to imagine what the foggy Dickensian slums of the 19th century might have been like. The difference is that renovated Dickensian slums look good today and were worth saving, whereas 60s council estates are really difficult to turn into something nice.
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Old October 8th, 2011, 02:19 AM   #339
RPFigueiredo
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The problem with Modernism - despite it's good buildings - however is the erosion of local styles. Many modernist styles are quite rightly labeled as the 'international style', they fit in any city anywhere on earth. Now, if you look at older styles, you can look at one building and say 'Yes, that belongs in the UK' or 'that is definitely french'.
That is not entirely true. The great contribution from Braizl in this movement was exactly to finally introduce a regional style of medern architecture which was able to halt the monotonous production of European purism during the 20s and 30s.
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Old October 8th, 2011, 02:29 AM   #340
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...They are often quite "plain looking", however, they create fantastic street scapes and neighbourhoods, somthing modernism completely failed in achieving.
Well, firstly, street scapes are something that modernist urban planing never tried to achieve on the first place. Secondly, I highly disagree that modernism completely failed to achieve fantastic neighbourhoods.
One example is the Pedregulho housing complex in Rio de Janeiro, by Affonso Eduardo Reidy. His scheme for public housing was internationally recognised.





Note that form follows function here, but beauty is never left aside. For example, the shape of the main block follows the terrain, a solution that is both pratical, economic and BEAUTIFUL. The neighbourhood was complete with a school, medical centre and shopping areas.

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