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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 February 26th, 2015, 02:12 AM   #661
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Old February 26th, 2015, 12:04 PM   #662
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What's your academic degree? Did you study architecture?
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Old February 26th, 2015, 12:22 PM   #663
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Old February 26th, 2015, 03:50 PM   #664
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Alright. So obviously sustainability should be of great consideration for you.

Then you probably realize how sustainable classical architecture is compared to anything else, since a large portion of such buildings exist for hundreds of years without any problem. This is due to the use of largely natural, healthy and well-ageing materials like wood, slate, (sand)stone and bricks; but also due to the timeless and widely accepted architecture. As well as the thoughtful structure, with mixed uses, high density and a great alternation of concepts.

Thinking of the commieblocks in my area, they were built to last 40 years by intention - most of them are crumbling even though maintained, they have to be torn down. That's not what I call sustainability, but throwaway structures.
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Old February 26th, 2015, 05:04 PM   #665
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erbse View Post
Then you probably realize how sustainable classical architecture is compared to anything else, since a large portion of such buildings exist for hundreds of years without any problem. This is due to the use of largely natural, healthy and well-ageing materials like wood, slate, (sand)stone and bricks;
Many, many modernist buildings got built with bricks. I'm not sure about sandstone. In my city many modernist buildings feature sandstone, but it's probably just decorative -attached to a brick or concrete wall.







EDIT: I think it's not sandstone but a similar type of stone. I don't the English name of it.

Last edited by BriedisUnIzlietne; February 26th, 2015 at 05:12 PM.
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Old February 26th, 2015, 10:53 PM   #666
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Mostly earlier modernist buildings were built with bricks. It's astonishing to know that e.g. the Chrysler Building was built mostly with bricks. It's very well possible to create withstanding huge buildings with bricks, in fact it has a better durability than modern concrete. Perhaps this technique will be more widespread again with faster and more widespread robotic construction methods.

And when it comes to sandstone, well it's applied for decorative reasons sometimes indeed, but not like it used to be, you hardly see any sophisticated masonry these days.
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Old February 26th, 2015, 11:46 PM   #667
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Quote:
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Mostly earlier modernist buildings were built with bricks. It's astonishing to know that e.g. the Chrysler Building was built mostly with bricks. It's very well possible to create withstanding huge buildings with bricks, in fact it has a better durability than modern concrete. Perhaps this technique will be more widespread again with faster and more widespread robotic construction methods.
In the Soviet union (in my republic at least) the brick never lost it's popularity. I think that it even regained it's popularity in the 80ies.





pictures from Photoriga.com

Quote:
And when it comes to sandstone, well it's applied for decorative reasons sometimes indeed, but not like it used to be, you hardly see any sophisticated masonry these days.
It seems that even these have become more lazy... Crafted stone walls have been replaced with those stone-filled wire mesh boxes or even simple concrete blocks.


In the front - a sandstone-covered fence from 20th century. In the back - some new, brown concrete blocks.


Filled wire mesh boxes
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Old February 28th, 2015, 04:15 AM   #668
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erbse View Post
Then you probably realize how sustainable classical architecture is compared to anything else, since a large portion of such buildings exist for hundreds of years without any problem. This is due to the use of largely natural, healthy and well-ageing materials like wood, slate, (sand)stone and bricks; but also due to the timeless and widely accepted architecture. As well as the thoughtful structure, with mixed uses, high density and a great alternation of concepts.
-->
Quote:
Originally Posted by erbse View Post
Could we stop the stereotyping please?
Architecture is far too often seen out of context. Any style can work in different locations, as long as the genius loci, the spirit of the location, is considered. Then any piece of architecture in any given style can work.
Some classical pictures from the capital of erbses
(btw. in the time of Brasilia)









by fs-berlin








by sonntag/stadtgeschichte-60er


Quote:
Thinking of the commieblocks in my area, they were built to last 40 years by intention - most of them are crumbling even though maintained, they have to be torn down. That's not what I call sustainability, but throwaway structures.
Perhaps there is not enough erbses for the commieblocks.

Here people are smarter:




by wikimedia.org

Another crumbling example:








by forster-architekten


...and the best for last:


by evoldaily
More: https://www.flickr.com/photos/evoldaily/sets
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Old February 28th, 2015, 02:37 PM   #669
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What are these pictures supposed to tell us? Yes indeed, many older buildings were horribly overcrowded due to the immense growth rates of the industrialisation. After the war, there were millions of refugees and large portions of the residential areas destroyed. So of course new units were needed.

But many if not most such residential areas rather had a temporary character manifested in the planning process already. The ultimate expression of this temporariness is the commieblock. Yeah, you can do wonders to it if you rip most of it apart and completely change its appearance. This is done in my area as well. But in many cases the investment is disproportionate compared to a new building or renovating a pre-war building. A commieblock is only looking good when it's completely transformated; while most classical buildings look good when they are renovated true to original.

Btw: Even in boomtowns like Dresden, Berlin, Prague, Wroclaw, Rostock and Leipzig, commieblocks are torn down all the time. Often it just doesn't pay off to renovate.
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Old February 28th, 2015, 02:57 PM   #670
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloudship View Post
The failures of the buildings and spaces were failures not because the architect applied a wrong style or even a wrong philosophy, but because the very spirit of the times turned out to be flawed.
In a rare defence if such architects, I'll quote(ish) Danny Baker talking about how he really liked his high-rise tower block, when he said "...people criticise the architects for the poor living conditions the tower blocks, but it wasn't the architects who pissed in the lifts."
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Old March 7th, 2015, 03:53 AM   #671
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I came across this article on Dezeen.com, and thought it relevant to this discussion.

Many buildings built in the 60s and 70s, and in fact even today, are built with little or no architectural input, commissioned by government agencies and designed and constructed by design build companies with only rudimentary concern for design. This includes many of those "failed" public buildings that tend to give Modernism a bad name.

Quote:
Originally Posted by erbse View Post
Alright. So obviously sustainability should be of great consideration for you.
I think you may be a bit confused on Environmental Design. According to the National Academy of Environmental Design,

"Environmental design addresses the impact of the built environment on individuals and the natural world and creates a wide range of interventions informed by human and environmental systems.

Environmental design comprises architects, planners, landscape architects, interior designers, preservationists, building technology specialists, and researchers from a wide range of disciplines. Their shared body of knowledge and professional skills affect communities, landscapes, buildings, products, and the individuals who occupy and use them."
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Old March 7th, 2015, 07:19 AM   #672
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Some times I think why people built/ build such massive architectures, they could help poor to gain success in life as well. What is need for such massive structures and what it has bring to humanity.
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Old March 7th, 2015, 07:52 PM   #673
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@Cloudship: How's that in a sharp contrast to what I said?
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Old March 10th, 2015, 01:26 AM   #674
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Quote:
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EDIT: I think it's not sandstone but a similar type of stone. I don't the English name of it.
It is most likely limestone.
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Old March 10th, 2015, 06:53 AM   #675
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A lot of posters here are conflating modernism as an aesthetic with car-centrism. The overwhelming issue in developed world urban planning is auto-dependence. You could argue that the emergence of pre-fab highrise concrete blocks brought about the issues of car reliance and social dysfunction. Conversely, buildings with historicist detailing are coveted because they appeal to an idealized depiction of a functional past. But these are illusory correlations.

A lot of developers are capitalizing on this mindset. New Urbanism gets a lot of hype--and the biggest beneficiary is the real estate industry. Marginally higher densities, the same lower cost balloon frame construction, yet it's promoted and hailed as the answer to long commutes and boredom. In reality, NU residents live the same lifestyles as everyone else.

Prefab concrete highrise blocks get a lot of flak here. If the criticism were limited to the aesthetics, it would be easy to accept. But criticism of the aesthetics leads to talk about car centrism, social dysfunction, you name it. The causes of car centrism are the LACK of efficient public transit, lower densities, haphazard greenfield development. If prefab highrises lead to social dysfunction, why are the Trellick and Barbican towers so highly prized? The leading cause of social dysfunction is... POVERTY itself. Suburban Singapore is all about concrete highrise blocks, but its residents aren't dependent on the car, and its crime rate is miniscule.

Citing concrete highrises as the source of auto dependency and social dysfunction really just detracts from other social issues. Over the past generation or so, spending on infrastructure has been slashed in many places. Secure, full-employment is starting to disappear. These developments explain things better than aesthetically-challenged architecture.
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Old March 10th, 2015, 07:08 AM   #676
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I think you're getting caught up in definitions here. I wouldn't say that modernism as a philosophy and modernism as design are one and the same. However, they grew out of the same conditions and have common roots. I see modernism (the dawn of the modern age) as a collective psychological state of mind that was both creative and destructive in its nature. From individual writers and artists to city planners and politicians many shared a view and an idea that the world needs to change and that that change needs to be radical, modern or even destructive. That doesn't mean there weren't differences in opinions and even bitter arguments about how this would be achieved. But to say that modernist design was apolitical and that its champions just thought in would be neat to design buildings around their function (whatever that really means) is naive. In this case I don't see any particular reason to make any distinction between modernism and modernism. On the contrary, the key to understanding this phenomenon is to see it as a whole.

We might compare this to what has happened in our own society these past decades. For example, it would be incorrect to claim that the rise of global digital capitalism has nothing to do with the emergence of post-modern and "high-tech" architecture. Indeed the very opposite is true. That is how ideology works.
Aren't we overanalyzing this? If you want to talk obscure history, let's talk about the history of the Bauhaus. The Modernists there could be described as utopian socialists. They saw the destruction of war and poverty, thus they wanted to more efficiently house people and plan cities. Thus if you look up the biographies of Mies Van Der Rohe, Gropius, etc., you'll see partcipation in the Spartacist League. The Weissenhof Estate in Stuttgart was meant to be a showcase for workers' housing.

The Bauhaus Modernists drew the ire of Hitler. They were seen as socialists, there were Jews amongst their ranks, and Hitler personally favored Neoclassicism.

After WW2, Modernism really caught on in North America. But billionaires
like Philip Johnson and Phyllis Lambert promoted Mies' aesthetics--but omitted its original sociological background. Hard to erect corporate towers for the likes of Seagram, IBM, Toronto Dominion Bank and express any desire to provide better housing and communities for the proletariat.
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Old March 11th, 2015, 02:25 AM   #677
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The modern architecture didn't failed. There are good and bad examples, like any other style.

The only thing that failed (partially) was the modern urban planning taken to the extreme, a kind of "final answer" or solution for our cities. Endless areas composed of similar boring residential blocks spread all over, without "streets", without shops or social life, without human scale, without any interaction with the previous old buildings, etc. This idea of a final answer lead to a radical view of the future. However there are good examples, that's why I say it failed partially.

Many concepts were also misunderstood in architecture... any simple, pragmatic design became associated with "modern", thus forgetting the quality on detail, good materials, design, proportions, etc.
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Old March 11th, 2015, 02:56 AM   #678
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But some places like Pruitt Igoe could have survived today if enough care and maintenance was put into them. However there was economic red tape, and maintenance fees had to be paid through the rents of the residents, who couldn't afford it since they were living on welfare. No maintenance was done and the place turned into a nasty hellhole. Everyone who could afford to leave had left to the suburbs, so only the poorest remained, creating a vicious cycle since there was even less money put into it.

In the context of the time the Pruitt Igoe was truly seen as the answer to overpopulation and horrible living standards. It replaced a terrible, dark, unhygenic slum with gleaming new buildings. The people who used to live there now had running water, electricity, a room for every family member, open spaces to interact, and a 10 story balcony with views of the skyline. But with economic mismanagement, a shrinking city population, and close to zero maintenance there's no wonder it became a slum itself.

The architecture itself wasn't the best, but it wasn't terrible and definitely not the reason it failed.
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Old March 11th, 2015, 04:06 PM   #679
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Architecture by itself almost never is the reason a structure fails.

The nasty thing with modernism is, it often came and sadly still comes with generally bad planning (mono/separate uses, solitary housing with useless infill green/no perimeter blocks, massings too big/out of touch with its surroundings, idiotic floor plans, bad materials, maintenance too expansive, mismanagement, etc.). That's why so much of it just fails.
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Old March 11th, 2015, 06:14 PM   #680
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Where Modernism failed as an architecture is the energetic efficiency (and ecology in a large meaning). But can we consider it failed if it wasn't a criteria at this time?
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