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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 6th, 2014, 07:04 PM   #501
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One of the most obvious reasons modernist architecture did not fail was that the attempt to change it, the postmodern movement, lasted only from the 80s to the early 2000s. Now apart from ugly suburb/shopping mall architecture, and the odd few skyscrapers, there is much less emphasis on mixing modern and traditional. Nowadays it has split into true neoclassic architecture and pure modern styles. Although postmodernism is still thriving in Dubai for obvious reasons.

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Old August 6th, 2014, 08:13 PM   #502
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I like the classicist compromise: if you are carving greenery, don't. Use the real thing if it is at all possible. If you are carving people, don't. Use the real thing if possible. If there is a need for it, whether it is allegorical, to prevent sparsity in a section that is not for traffic, or to fill in interstices where natural light is impermissable, then yes, go ahead.

Clean lines for the sake of clean lines, as in Farnsworth House, is simply bad design. Clean lines for the sake of safety or maintenance like Falling Water? I would say that is good design.
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Old August 6th, 2014, 08:16 PM   #503
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyscraperus View Post
That is cold soulless box for me

I say this as a lover of old architecture, but that example is in no way more bland and soul-destroying than this one from inner Paris, like which there are tonnes:


LECLERC
by Alexandru Mircea, on Flickr

Just like there is now "stock" architecture, devoid of any quality and character, there also was back in the old times that we like to idealize.

Regarding your question on maintenance, I think my example above shows that traditional materials need maintenance just as much as newer materials. (I don't have technical knowledge but my suspicion is that glass and stainless steel actually do better in time.) Both buildings above can get nicer by investing in them for cleaning, bringing some more complexity to the facades (the old one could use some decorative plaster bas-reliefs, the new one some panels with different textures). What's needed is will and resources.

This brings me to a rant that I need to get out of the system - a lot of people say that, because of such old buildings, Paris is "grey" like it would an intrinsic quality, and like it would be a shame for buildings to be grey. No you idiots, it's not grey, it's white plaster or beige stone that has gotten old and needs a repaint or a cleaning. It's called patina and it's normal. And it's no shame for a city not being able to keep all its buildings renovated all the time, that's just impossible. Next time you come around by the same place the house may have been renovated and you won't even recognize it you dumb f*cks.

/rant
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Old August 6th, 2014, 11:59 PM   #504
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People once wanted to tear down stuff like this after 50 years because they became uninhabitable messes. They were initially seen as perfect solutions for social problems.


Now it's the same situation, 50 years later.


Will the cycle repeat in another 50 years? Is it modernism's fault?
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Old August 9th, 2014, 04:49 AM   #505
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Just want to throw out a couple of observations.

First, Be careful of how you are using "Modern"*and "Modernist" and "Modernism". They all have specific meanings, and just because a building was built after WWII does not make it Modernist or an example of Modernism. Also keep in mind that buildings may not be classical in design, but they were not designed of built to Modernist standards.

Second, be careful at what you are looking at for more traditional buildings. Yes we have a lot that survived. However, there was an awful lot that did not survive. That stuff was often not as nice and tended to be poorer quality. Many of the examples of thrown around of modern buildings are the same, however time has not yet had a chance to erase them or improve them or adapt them. You are comparing the whole volume of building built in modern times against what is a select group of traditional buildings. You would have to go a few hundred, if not more, years ahead before you can compare everything remaining of Modern architecture vs Traditional.

Third, Traditional architecture, or what remains of it anyways, is what defines space for us. Which explains some of the differences between how people from Europe see their cities than say the US or Asia. It also means that Modern architecture, which changed how buildings and people relate to each other, is thus always going to be, for our generation anyways, the more intrusive style.

Fourth, What we see in Traditional architecture has had a long "aging" period. Modern architecture still is going through that. Mush of what was cutting edge a few years ago is old, forward looking is now backward looking. We are now just starting to see true early Modernist buildings settling down in history and the fabric of our cities. We need to keep in mind styles still need to age.

Lastly, please, please understand that glass office blocks are not Modernist or examples of Modernism. They are modern, but they are not modernism.
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Old August 10th, 2014, 03:21 PM   #506
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Buildings don't have a "soul", neither do cities.

I cringe at this anthropomorphication of buildings and neighborhoods. They are a collection of engineering structures that might or might not seem pleasant to eye of the onlooker, but they don't have innate human attributes to them, at least not on the large scale of analysis suggested here (whole areas or even whole cities).
Wow you actually want to point out that stone, brick and steel is dead matter? Congratulations for completely misunderstanding what the term "soul" means in this context. Buildings, neighbourhoods and cities clearly have a soul. Your incapability to see this explaisn very well your completely and utterly flawed view of urbanity and architecture.
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Old August 10th, 2014, 05:21 PM   #507
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloudship View Post
Just want to throw out a couple of observations.
...
Couldn't agree more with every word you said...
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Old August 12th, 2014, 09:52 PM   #508
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While I think it didn't make a whole lot of sense what he said.

He's clearly confusing what the modernist movement actually caused for cities across the globe. It put an end to architectural tradition. It's a deliberate self-denying renunciation from everything that came into existence before. It doesn't even matter how we classify it - it continues to screw up our cities as long as we're not aware of our roots.
Of course many people just don't care (Suburbanist et al.), as they feel they are global citizens and there should be no distinguishable styles at all, as all people should look the same, music should sound the same, food should taste the same, buildings should look the same - wherevere you go. That's what we can call monoculture.
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Old August 12th, 2014, 10:26 PM   #509
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modernism succeeded in its villas and private detached house, but failed in its public housing and offices.
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Old August 13th, 2014, 01:30 AM   #510
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erbse View Post
While I think it didn't make a whole lot of sense what he said.

He's clearly confusing what the modernist movement actually caused for cities across the globe. It put an end to architectural tradition. It's a deliberate self-denying renunciation from everything that came into existence before. It doesn't even matter how we classify it - it continues to screw up our cities as long as we're not aware of our roots.
This doesn't make sense, if you studied the history of architecture and urbanism you would know that traditions end and start all the time, it's in the nature of inhabited places. Very often the break up is extremely radical, like when the Renaissance men despised what came before (calling it "maniera gotica" which meant barbaric) and put instead stuff that sought to replicate classical antiquity. Sometimes it was changes in religious or social traditions that brought radical change in style and destruction, like change from pagan to Christian, from Catholic to Protestant, from aristocracy to republic etc.
The 19th century, that we now consider "historical", was awful in terms of destructions in the Western World, if you look at its leading cities like Paris and London the scale of the destruction done by Hausmannian / Victorian urbanism was tremendous, a scale which in Europe in the 20th century was matched only by totalitarian states (I'm thinking of Ceausescu mainly). Had he lived in the 19 century, a lunatic like Le Corbusier would have surely convinced a political leader to let him "rebuild" his capital, because he was a very good architect of individual buildings and a very convincing man of ideas. In the 20th century that was no longer possible for him. Among the aberrations of the 19th century, one that I really dislike was the very powerful school of renovation / conservation that "renovated" a building by destroying it to pieces first.
Lastly, saying that modernist creations have no roots is either uneducated or I don't know, if the roots are not from right under our nose that doesn't mean they don't exist. Anyone with knowledge of art history will know that the main fads in the second half of the 19th century up to around WWI were Japan and North Africa, and if you look at Japanese and North African architecture you'll understand a lot about modernist architecture. It's like saying that Picasso's stuff was radically new without having ever seen an African mask or a Byzantine painting.
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Old August 13th, 2014, 10:12 AM   #511
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You're right about modernism taking inspiration from Japanese simplicity of course. But that's part of the reason it feels so alienating in most European / historical city contexts, in grown cities. It just doesn't integrate. That's why I said it's not rooted in classical architecture. It'll always feel alienating in the context of earlier styles - unlike classical buildings that just blend together, be it Gothic, renaissance, baroque, classicist or the wildest fantasies of historicism, Art Nouveau and even Expressionism/Art Deco, while the latter being considered "modern" already.

Modernism merely works on its own, as solitary buildings or ensembles of their likes. It's a pity that architects, planners and investors across the globe decided to go for modernist designs in grown urban contexts. While there's so many styles we can choose from that fit and age much better.
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Old August 13th, 2014, 02:37 PM   #512
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Exactly. To me, the true debate does not concern the nature of the building itself (like if it is traditional or modern). It is above all its integration in the existing townscape. Unfortunately, modernism and contemporary architecture crap on it most of the time.

Here are random examples (the first one is modernist, the other one contemporary):

Marché des Carmes (Toulouse - France)



Logements Cyrano (Saint-Dizier - France), simply one sample of numerous contemporary french housing projects...



[EDIT] Judge this evolution by yourself:

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Old August 13th, 2014, 04:07 PM   #513
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What wasn't destroyed by wars already was and is levelled by architects/planners/investors...
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Old August 13th, 2014, 04:46 PM   #514
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When the architectural scene ruled by warm and happy people like Greeks, Italians, Spaniards, French - architecture was beutiful, but later when architectural scene ruled by cold and unhappy people like Englisman, Germans, Skandinavians, Americans - architecture failed.
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Old August 13th, 2014, 05:47 PM   #515
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyscraperus View Post
When the architectural scene ruled by warm and happy people like Greeks, Italians, Spaniards, French - architecture was beutiful, but later when architectural scene ruled by cold and unhappy people like Englisman, Germans, Skandinavians, Americans - architecture failed.
Rubbish. Some of the leading modernist and contemporary architects were/are French, Italian, and Spaniards. You clearly don't know what you are talking about.
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Old August 13th, 2014, 07:06 PM   #516
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Hamburg-Altona Trainstation before

www.bildarchiv-hamburg.de
demolished in the 1980ies
result:

www.bildarchiv-hamburg.de
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Old August 13th, 2014, 07:21 PM   #517
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Just to be sure : is it about Modernism with Le Corbusier, Gropius, Bauhaus, .. or about architecture since the 1950? or something else?
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Old August 13th, 2014, 07:54 PM   #518
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@erbse: will respond later

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lambrequin View Post

[EDIT] Judge this evolution by yourself:

You're offtopic with this. The subject is modernism, and modernism didn't invent the featureless, boxy collective tenement. They've been around since we first became technically able to build them, the Romans called them "insulae". In each era, they're the first buildings from the previous era to get demolished to make way for new buildings.

As an aside, though, if you're asking me which one I prefer, I suspect my answer might be the modern apartment block. I live in an old nice French house like those in the "before" side of the comparison, and the quality of life it provides is absolutely ******* dreadful. It was shocking to learn that commieblocks offer an infinitely superiour comfort, once you renovate your apartment like new (recently there are also renovation & rehabilitation programs for the exteriours of commieblocks all over Eastern Europe); and I always struggle to explain to my EE relatives coming from commieblocks how people in what we cherish as the "civilized" world can accept such a low quality of living.

Like anyone else, I like - aesthetically - the look of such old houses, but people have to live in them. In the case of smaller one-family houses (like in Britain or Belgium) you can take the comfort issue in your own hands, but the age of small houses in inner cities is long past now, and not even for the suburbs of larger cities they're not a solution anymore because it just creates sprawl.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ji-Ja-Jot View Post
Hamburg-Altona Trainstation before

www.bildarchiv-hamburg.de
demolished in the 1980ies
result:

www.bildarchiv-hamburg.de
The stupid destructions thread is just nearby... The fact that 20th century architecture has a lot of shit examples is not something new for anyone here.
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Old August 13th, 2014, 08:08 PM   #519
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyscraperus View Post
When the architectural scene ruled by warm and happy people like Greeks, Italians, Spaniards, French - architecture was beutiful, but later when architectural scene ruled by cold and unhappy people like Englisman, Germans, Skandinavians, Americans - architecture failed.

Could not have put it better myself. As soon as they abandoned the golden rule, it was pretty much down hill. But hey, they needed a turn at the wheel. Every race has to make a contribution. Beauty has never been the strong point up north.
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Old August 13th, 2014, 08:33 PM   #520
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexandru.mircea View Post
This doesn't make sense, if you studied the history of architecture and urbanism you would know that traditions end and start all the time, it's in the nature of inhabited places. Very often the break up is extremely radical, like when the Renaissance men despised what came before (calling it "maniera gotica" which meant barbaric) and put instead stuff that sought to replicate classical antiquity. Sometimes it was changes in religious or social traditions that brought radical change in style and destruction, like change from pagan to Christian, from Catholic to Protestant, from aristocracy to republic etc.
The 19th century, that we now consider "historical", was awful in terms of destructions in the Western World, if you look at its leading cities like Paris and London the scale of the destruction done by Hausmannian / Victorian urbanism was tremendous, a scale which in Europe in the 20th century was matched only by totalitarian states (I'm thinking of Ceausescu mainly). Had he lived in the 19 century, a lunatic like Le Corbusier would have surely convinced a political leader to let him "rebuild" his capital, because he was a very good architect of individual buildings and a very convincing man of ideas. In the 20th century that was no longer possible for him. Among the aberrations of the 19th century, one that I really dislike was the very powerful school of renovation / conservation that "renovated" a building by destroying it to pieces first.
Lastly, saying that modernist creations have no roots is either uneducated or I don't know, if the roots are not from right under our nose that doesn't mean they don't exist. Anyone with knowledge of art history will know that the main fads in the second half of the 19th century up to around WWI were Japan and North Africa, and if you look at Japanese and North African architecture you'll understand a lot about modernist architecture. It's like saying that Picasso's stuff was radically new without having ever seen an African mask or a Byzantine painting.

Indeed one is always amazed at the selective and/or deliberate ignorance displayed on this thread. And to think that this is an architecture forum... Look at some of the more recent posts here and one is simply amazed at how people who clearly know nothing about the history and development of architecture can hold such ridiculous and laughable convictions.
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