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Old January 2nd, 2013, 11:01 PM   #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarJoLe View Post
There's many glass buildings in the City that are highly reflective and disappear into the surrounds
Where's the fun in that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarJoLe View Post
Architecture should always be progressive and pushing boundaries in design and engineering. I think it just boils down to a distinct lack of wanting to try anything new for fear of upsetting the masses.
I agree. Architecture should be about experimentation and innovation. Therefore a new movement advocating contemporary ornamentation can't be a bad thing? Right?

I am interested to know why ornamentation is superfluous? Again i'm not saying we should be building Quinlan Terry style mock Georgian but an original new style.
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Old January 2nd, 2013, 11:02 PM   #102
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Originally Posted by DarJoLe View Post
What I find superfluous is the need to 'add' ornamentation of a classical or ancient design that no longer relates to the times we live in.
But it does relate to the times we live in. These wonderful Hindu temples are a prime example. India's a rising power. As their status and power grows, Indians regain confidence in their own culture and heritage. (Assuming they ever lost it in the first place: many never did.) Today's Indians are less inclined to slavishly immitate Western styles, such as modernism, and more inclined to develop their own rich traditions into the C21st.

Of course there are trends that run counter to nativism. We do live in a globalising and standardising world. We find Indians reviving their own neglected architectural heritage at the same time as they increasingly adopt Western dress, for instance. However the fundamental assumption that modernity = Westernisation will increasingly be challenged by the rising powers of Asia.

A prime example of all this is Turkey. Turks were forcibly Westernised by a secular elite for most of the last century. They believed that Europe = modern and Turkish = backward. However the new self-made money is more self-confidently Turkish, and the secular establishment's pro-Western cultural norms are now in retreat.
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Old January 2nd, 2013, 11:08 PM   #103
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It is not enough to be built now to (intellectually) belong to our time. There is this concept called "reproduction" or "repetition" or "copy" or in the worst cases "pastiche". This temple fits in one of those descriptions. It claims loudly and proudly to belong to other time. I don't see why would you be ashamed of that. This is not a building of our time.

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Originally Posted by cnapan View Post
I don't think this is fair. I'm sure the people behind the project see it as an authentic hindu temple, rather than a pastiche of one, and I do too. What isn't authentic about it?

Correct: it is not fair that among all the words I proposed you chosed "pastiche" to describe this building.

"What isn't authentic about it?"

You must be joking!


----------


@Langur
I hope that now that you know what "philistine" means you will use the term appropriately. It does not describe me (nor DarJoLe) much as you insist on throwing it.

Those facts you mention about Hinduism and India´s population.... don´t make this temple a building of our time. I hope you can see that those things are unrelated. This building can not belong to our time (as it actually doesn't) at the same time as Hinduism can be a "hugely potent force in the world's most populous country" (as it actually is). Both things are compatible.

Think about it for a second: Your reasoning would make any building of any shape or form, of any technique, material, size, colour, ..... whatever,.... dedicated to Hinduism automatically a building of our time..... because "Hinduism is a hugely potent force in the world's most populous country". You are denying the existence of buildings that do not belong (intellectually) to our time.

----


@future.architect

Have you really understood that anyone has said that ornament does not belong in modernism?

Oh dear!

Even radical "form-follows-function, less-is-more" theorists understand aesthetics and the place for ornament.




You can go as far as the author of the expression ornament-is-crime and discover that he just meant that superficiality is deemed to vanish and become out of fashion by its own definition.

Last edited by menganito; January 2nd, 2013 at 11:15 PM.
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Old January 2nd, 2013, 11:42 PM   #104
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@Menganito
Your and DarJoLe's thuggish hostility towards architectural beauty that doesn't conform to a narrow modernist norm is certainly philistine.

And Hindu buildings are of our time if they're built now. (And they are, all over the world.) They're intellectually part of our time because Hinduism is a living intellectual stream for nearly a billion of India's 1.22 billion people.
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Last edited by Langur; January 3rd, 2013 at 02:24 AM.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 12:41 AM   #105
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@Langur

There are two problems here:

a)Philistine is only, if at all, tangentially related to thuggish hostility. It is more related to ignorance and contempt towards intellectual knowledge, to smugly narrow mindedness, conventional morality, materialistic and superficial views and tastes. People who find attraction towards a building just because "it has a lot of hand carved stone statues" could be a good example of a Philistine. As a rule of thumb you could say that philistines prefer the past to the present. It sounds very awkward when you use that word to refer to someone that prefers the present to the past.

b) I don't have any hostility towards architectural beauty, on the contrary. Hardly I could express any hostility thuggishly if I do not have it at all.

On the other side I do find you quite hostile towards DarJoLe. Hostile and repetitive. Hostile, repetitive and personal. Rather than centred in an argument it seems you prefer to look for flaws (imaginary flaws mostly) in the person and directly resolve to insults. Hostile, repetitive, personal and, yes, thuggish, when you decide to join others acting as a gang of idiots in this same boring pursuit.

By the way Thug is a word that comes from Sanskrit. The original thugs were Hindu. They robbed and killed people in honour of goddess Kali, so probably they visited many temples similar to this one. When I say similar I mean carbon copies, cause this is what this one is. A proper Philistine Thug would love this building to bits. That definitely proves I am not one.

Anyway, if you want to use the words with the meaning that you decide they have it is up to you. It only sounds weird in the ears of those who know the correct meaning. In your head it probably sounds humpty dory.

Last edited by menganito; January 3rd, 2013 at 01:17 AM.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 12:51 AM   #106
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The 'ornament' of contemporary architecture is usually the exposing the internal workings of a building - Lloyds, Leadenhall all do this.
No, this is wrong. As often is the case, you mention exceptions rather than the rule. The vast majority of modern buildings do not do this at all, and what the examples you give do is nothing new. The timber framed structure of buildings from the 16th century or the arches of a victorian train shed do as much as the Leadenhall's structure. There's nothing wrong with it of course. I like your examples. But structural interest is just one of the ways a building can be interesting. Another is in the adornment of the structures and surfaces. They are different things.

Quote:
But sometimes there is nothing more pure, or dramatic, then no ornament at all.
...and sometimes there's nothing more dramatic than dripping ornamentation... Such as the geometric fantasies of arabic architecture...

So what can one conclude, really?

Quote:
There's many glass buildings in the City that are highly reflective and disappear into the surrounds like optical illusions thanks to their sheer clean lines and crisp, sharp corners, of which any 'additions' would destroy that sense of the drama of less is more.
I can't think of a single reflective glass building which does anything other than stick out like a sore thumb when surrounded by other types of buildings. Like them or loathe them (and I like the good ones), this is the first time I've seen it claimed that these buildings 'disappear into the surrounds like optical illusions'!

Quote:
What I find superfluous is the need to 'add' ornamentation of a classical or ancient design that no longer relates to the times we live in.
From reading your comments here and elsewhere, this is not your beef. You actually don't like the addition of ornamentation, no matter whether it is a modern design or an old design. You don't see the purpose of it, and I think this is where you display a rather narrow-minded view of what modern architecture can be. It's an old-fashioned point of view really. Calatrava is just one of many architects who has moved beyond the views of the 'less is more' brigade, but there are many designers who are rediscovering life on the other side of the minimalist surface.

Quote:
Why the constant need to go back?
The tiles I posted a picture of are not going back. They are incredibly modern. But they are not just flat and square. They have artistic merit, and looking at them gives pleasure. This is a purpose of architecture that old architects knew about and new architects and designers are discovering for themselves.

Quote:
Architecture should always be progressive and pushing boundaries in design and engineering. I think it just boils down to a distinct lack of wanting to try anything new for fear of upsetting the masses.
Until you stop trying to portray art in buildings as something 'old fashioned' and from 'the past', you'll never really understand. You'll always miss the point, both about why so much of the modern built environment is throw-away ugly and why people still warm to the older stuff. Had architecture not turned its back on art, then people today would be far more protective of their 30 year old shopping centre or gallery or esplanade of shops.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 12:56 AM   #107
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OED

philistine, n.

3. Also philistine. Of or relating to philistines (sense A. 3); uneducated, unenlightened; indifferent or hostile to culture; aesthetically unsophisticated.


----
Bear in mind: this is a thread about a Hindu temple which one group of people is defending, and another group of people is being hostile towards.

Last edited by Loathing; January 3rd, 2013 at 01:10 AM.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 01:08 AM   #108
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i'm not saying we should be building Quinlan Terry style mock Georgian but an original new style.
My view on this is that there's nothing wrong with neo-classical architecture. It has been very successful for obvious reasons, and I won't be drawn into pretending to agree that any one style which is successful should be erased as an option for new buildings. I would enjoy St. Pauls if it were built yesterday. I don't subscribe to the fashionistas who think it their job to say which style is 'valid' for today, which is why the fuss over this temple is a little absurd to me. Ok, so it's not weather beaten, and it's not a long-haul flight away, but other than that, it gives me pleasure to look at in the same way as a temple built 300 years ago sitting in the indian subcontinent would give me pleasure. The same goes for the entrance to the Rockerfeller centre, or the village of Lavenham, or the norman carvings on Kilpeck Church, or the baptistry window in Coventry Cathedral, or the 19th century buildings in Cole Valley San Francisco, or the blue stainless steel and glass of the Lloyds building. These are all good things, and would delight me if they were all executed 500 years ago or yesterday.

I get excited when I see modern designers innovating with forms and patterns and textures and colours, because it gives me hope about a future where not only are the aesthetics of a building once more important, but there may come a time when those responsible for the built environment can be - as a rule rather than exception - trusted to build beautiful surroundings again. In the 21st century, we've never had less of an excuse to realise this.

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Old January 3rd, 2013, 01:12 AM   #109
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Wise words cnapan. I'm in complete agreement with you.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 04:14 AM   #110
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I agree with Future Architect. There really needs to be a new movement in architecture that will save us from the dullness that we are currently getting.

Architecture should inspire and delight (many old buildings did exactly that) and not depress. I'm generally all for contemporary architecture but if it can't produce attractive then Ill have Quinlan Terry. It's all about aesthetics.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 06:40 AM   #111
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Well, actually, it's about business.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 08:45 AM   #112
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Quote:
"What isn't authentic about [the mandir]?"

Menganito: You must be joking!
This is a temple built and carved by hindus, payed for by hindus and to be used by the local community of hindus as a place of worship, using authentic methods of hindu temple construction.

In what way is it not authentic?
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 09:09 AM   #113
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Well, actually, it's about business.
Not exactly a passionate defence of the status quo, is it? Were we to allow 'the bottom line' to be the only governer of our civilisation, then we'd be throwing a lot away. Universal healthcare and free education would be the first things to go!

So if business has reshaped the making of the built environment in such a way that it no longer builds environments which feed the soul, then do we just shrug our shoulders and put up with the endless noddy houses and desolate second rate shite characterised by the Glasgow financial centre, or do we argue for something better?

I'd prefer the latter. In the meantime, buildings like this mandir should be left alone. They are not the problem.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 12:57 PM   #114
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Not exactly a passionate defence of the status quo, is it? Were we to allow 'the bottom line' to be the only governer of our civilisation, then we'd be throwing a lot away. Universal healthcare and free education would be the first things to go!

So if business has reshaped the making of the built environment in such a way that it no longer builds environments which feed the soul, then do we just shrug our shoulders and put up with the endless noddy houses and desolate second rate shite characterised by the Glasgow financial centre, or do we argue for something better?

I'd prefer the latter. In the meantime, buildings like this mandir should be left alone. They are not the problem.

The problem with your arguments, is that you don't seem to understand what needs to change in order to get you closer to your idea of 'something better'.

Rather than proposing better ways to plan, develop and design, you simply attack other people for having different aesthetic tastes, throw words like 'desolate' and 'shite' around, and then wonder why people are taking issue with what you say.

What you also just don't get is that Darjole is explaining the reality of development. You are attacking him for simply explaining the way things are, and then doing nothing other than use meaningless terms like 'something better' to suggest how things should be done.

No matter what way you would like things to be done, in the here and now they are done in a certain way, and so instead of regurgitating the same old posturing every time a new vs old architectural debate comes up, you should be providing a decent argument about why the system should be changed.

I am afraid telling politicians and people that the way developers, planners and architects approach the built environment should be changed to suit your own aesthetic preferences, won't get you very far. You need to demonstrate why the 'something better' you speak of, is achievable, workable and preferable to what there is now. Words like 'soulless', won't carry much weight with anyone who actually understands how the built environment is developed, nor will harking back to times gone by. You need an awareness of all the issues involved in development, whereas at the moment, you seem to think there is a conspiracy to make buildings ugly, and that if only buildings were pretty everything would be fine.

FWIW I think an awful lot about the way we produce the built environment needs a radical overhaul, but you don't seem to have made any real or practical suggestions other than, CAN BUILDINGZ STOP BEING UGLY PLZZZ!!!!??? Great, well, I am sure the Mayor of London is redrafting the London Plan as we speak!

It's about time you started developing a sophisticated argument of what you want, and how you could get it, rather than arguing against those who are trying to explain why you won't get what you want in the current system, and why your criticism of architecture is baseless without an awareness of what the driving forces behind such architecture is. And also, it's about time you learned how to forge an argument that might actually persuade people, rather than piss them off.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 01:13 PM   #115
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For a building that is so admired where are all the photos? funny how everyone is rhapsodising about this building yet nobody has bothered to venture out and take a photo or see it? Even a new housing development in Lewisham has more attention than this.

Very telling, It's a fine building and I have no problem with what has been achieved here, but we must be aiming for much more than this.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 02:54 PM   #116
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^ Well said. Here's some photos of both of London's impressive hindu temples that I took (and posted on this forum) a few years ago.

The golden stone temple is the under-construction Shri Sanatan temple in Alperton:






The larger white temple is the Shri Swaminarayan temple in Neasdon (near Wembley).



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Old January 3rd, 2013, 02:58 PM   #117
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OED

philistine, n.

3. Also philistine. Of or relating to philistines (sense A. 3); uneducated, unenlightened; indifferent or hostile to culture; aesthetically unsophisticated.

----
Bear in mind: this is a thread about a Hindu temple which one group of people is defending, and another group of people is being hostile towards.
Exactly. They're hostile to most celebrated architecture from most of the world through most of history. There's a huge amount of beauty that they casually swat aside with glib platitudes such as "superfluous ornamentation". Such hostility, and such a lack of appreciation for architctural beauty, can only be described as philistine.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 03:57 PM   #118
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Originally Posted by i_like_concrete View Post
why the system should be changed
Isnt it obvious? Because currently it produces nothing but dullness and ugliness.

Architecture should inspire and delight and foster peoples interest in it and not depress and be utterly forgetable. Theres no denying the fact that pre 1960s streetscapes were far superior in aesthetic terms to what came since. You can argue that Victorian or Georgian buildings were not suitable for modern ways of life, but equally, I dont see how an ugly concrete monstrosity is. It was built because politicians and planners allowed it to be built. Quality and aesthetics should come first. Doesnt even Rogers often criticise the contemporary stuff for the lack of aesthetics?
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Last edited by El_Greco; January 3rd, 2013 at 04:05 PM.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 05:56 PM   #119
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Originally Posted by El_Greco View Post
Isnt it obvious? Because currently it produces nothing but dullness and ugliness.

Architecture should inspire and delight and foster peoples interest in it and not depress and be utterly forgetable. Theres no denying the fact that pre 1960s streetscapes were far superior in aesthetic terms to what came since. You can argue that Victorian or Georgian buildings were not suitable for modern ways of life, but equally, I dont see how an ugly concrete monstrosity is. It was built because politicians and planners allowed it to be built. Quality and aesthetics should come first. Doesnt even Rogers often criticise the contemporary stuff for the lack of aesthetics?
How come "there is no denying..."?

Of course there is denying. It is so very easy to deny. You can do it yourself!

Look, when you described modernity you found the need to talk using the words "ugly monstrosity". It it just that simple, you attach the words "ugly monstrosity" next to whatever you want to disqualify and voilŕ you have just denied whatever.

Here, have a daily dose of the architecture that belongs to the times when you live for a year and lets see if it influences your taste and you can become a person of your age:

http://www.archdaily.com


PS: Rogers would never ever sign a project similar to the temples on this thread and the great buildings of all time are always examples of its day architecture, not copies from another era.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 06:03 PM   #120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Greco View Post
Isnt it obvious? Because currently it produces nothing but dullness and ugliness.

Architecture should inspire and delight and foster peoples interest in it and not depress and be utterly forgetable. Theres no denying the fact that pre 1960s streetscapes were far superior in aesthetic terms to what came since. You can argue that Victorian or Georgian buildings were not suitable for modern ways of life, but equally, I dont see how an ugly concrete monstrosity is. It was built because politicians and planners allowed it to be built. Quality and aesthetics should come first. Doesnt even Rogers often criticise the contemporary stuff for the lack of aesthetics?
What isn't obvious is what the alternative is, and how it is workable. All you do is bang on about aesthetics, regardless of what developers want, regardless of what their clients want. You want some sort of authority to have control over what looks good, and make decisions based on that? Or do you want everyone to throw aside what they currently want in a building and adopt views more in line with your own?

Over and over you say the same thing, aesthetics should take priority, but you've given no practical solution as to how it can be judged, who should judge it, and what recourse for appeal there would be if a project were judged to be aesthetically inferior? You've mentioned nothing about what clients of architects want, nor what architects themselves have to deliver, and you've mentioned nothing about strategic documents that combine a whole host of issues to deal with when developing.

The factors which are shaping our cities now are not something pre-war generations had to contend with, and who are we to say how they would have responded if they had been forced to deal with them? If you want a system that favours aesthetics then demonstrate how such a system could work in 21st century London, rather than drawing on the past.
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