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Old May 5th, 2012, 05:02 PM   #1
Suburbanist
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The need for a new, style-disruptive and global architectural style

From 1890 and well into the 1970s, the architectural world was an exciting place to be or watch.

We had a number of new styles that were introduced in large scale, enabled by new technological advances (from reasonably cheap lifts to prefab concrete) and the ingenuity of many architects.

Without the need to make any list, we could easily point movements/styles like art déco, the late 19th Century "Chicago Style", everything that came out of Bauhaus, modernism, brutalism, and others.

However, if we look back for the last 20 years, we barely see anything emerging with such overreaching pretenses. We do see some starchitects creating their own turf like Calatrava or Zaha Hadid, but we don't see any movement with global reach and relatively defined concepts taking the World like modernism last did in the 1960s.

More worrisome is the fact that substantial part of the architectural and planning community seems to roll eye to any possibility of truly aesthetically disruptive innovation adopted en-masse on existing cities. Even if we set aside the excesses of preservation, they are still entrenched in a fortress that only will admit buildings that "fit the surroundings" or "preserve the character" of a given area. When totally new developments on existing areas happen, they are treated usually as the exception-that-confirms-the-rule.

This head-in-the-sand spirit seems to have caught many architects as well. Again, the stars can push their own ideas, but the space for truly disruptive style innovation in large-scale, the one that completely revamped old areas in the 1920s and then post-War II seem hard to come by.

So I was thinking that it would be good if a new paradigm emerged, some architectural movement with the strength of modernism in the 1950s that takes over academia, the planning "elites" and elsewhere to produce some massive revamping of the buildings in major cities, not the usual stupid retrofitting of the projects that are gutted-out to "fit the surroundings". They could push some sort of ultra-energy efficient construction gimmicks that make for great buildings as the "enabling technology", but it doesn't seem that greenwashing the need for a new hegemonic style would be enough.

Moreover, as the World is now a much integrated place, any hegemonic style would do wonders to reduce differences on the outlook of different cities in different continents, making them look more like one another, in a way that, unfortunately, the modernism never truly could because so many countries at the time were still so poor and underdeveloped.
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Old May 5th, 2012, 09:03 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
but the space for truly disruptive style innovation in large-scale, the one that completely revamped old areas in the 1920s and then post-War II seem hard to come by.
The bombed out city centres of Europe post-WWII were seen by many as a chance to sweep away the past and create cities in a new image.

Is there a single one where people don't think the decision to obliterate the old was a mistake?

That's probably a big reason why there's no desire to make such a sweeping change to any city centre now.

The other, perhaps larger stumbling block is that no city authority is going to compulsorary purchase an entire city centre to allow such a grand architectural experiment.


The upshot of this is that when modern buildings are build, they are rarely built in high enough numbers to impose any unity of style on the area. Because of this, they have to be in sympathy with their surroundings, or they'll just look a jarring mess.
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Old May 5th, 2012, 09:18 PM   #3
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How is the "lack of any disruptive style or innovation" worrisome? Is there some unmet need out there? Are there vast numbers of people clamoring for some new architectural conceit to fill their glossy coffee table magazines? Really?

If anything, architects will go down the same path as the art community: a dispersion model of creativity that eschews trendlines or even the concept of any new kind of paradigm. Technology has liberated architects to pursue their own idiosyncratic visions to the limits of their imaginations and more importantly, that of their clients. No overriding motif or style need interefere with such dialogues.
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Old May 6th, 2012, 12:38 AM   #4
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Clearly, we need a world war.
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Old July 8th, 2012, 07:27 PM   #5
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Ever heard of..................Deconstructivisim?

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Old July 9th, 2012, 04:52 AM   #6
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for me the question boils down to a question of inspiration, is it indeed impossible to ever be truly inspired or reach true inspiration through an idea/concept/strategy/design? just because two cities/buildings/paintings etc. look or seem to be very similar, that doesn't necessarily constitute the same or similar thought process in the head of the creator and also those that come in contact with their creations, hence signifying a sufficient difference between two. for me a design is never really finished, materialisation is but a point within the life of any idea, an architect can only speculate as to the way his/her building will be used and can only try to accomodate specific uses. hence, what for you may be a stand still moment isn't necessarily so for me. even modernism as an idea is incredibly disperse in its interpretations and practice, i could ask anybody who the creator(s) of modernism are and i could come up with a counter argument no matter the response. i would say the movement you are looking for is actually right in front of your eyes, instead of being interested in being under one tag line/word the idea is specifism, ideas that are specific to site/city/architect/people. absence always signifies a presence.

Last edited by stresss; July 9th, 2012 at 05:09 AM.
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Old July 9th, 2012, 02:07 PM   #7
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i'd like to see a return of modern regionalism ...
a time when you see a construction you know it's typical for a city and a culture ....
nowadays an architect can do the same weird and impersonal stuff in ten different cities in the 5 different continents ( calatrava ,gehry not mentionned )
without any local spirit .
i don't want integration , it's possible to an architect to do something very breaking the rules and modern but keeping the spirit of the place .


(excuse my english )
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