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Old January 6th, 2014, 12:15 AM   #1
hypersite
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LE PLESSIS-ROBINSON | The European Neo-Traditional Example?

Le plessis-Robinson is a city located in the South-West sub of Paris, from 1952 to 1989 the city was controlled by the local communist party, they kept building social apartments not aligned with the streets and without any "caractère".

Then from 1989 to today à right-wing mayor was elected, and they decided to completely transform the Plessis-Robinson by going with a "Néo-Traditionnel" Style.

The results: Unemployment divided by 3, new-buisneses increased by 150%, real estate value increased, now reaching Paris prices. Crime rate dropped significantly and the city received the European trophy of the best urban development in Europe.


Le Plessis-Robinson Before :




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Le Plessis-Robinson After:









image hosted on flickr














And voilà, It's not perfect but i think it's better than this ugly social-buildings, ho and if you wonder where the people from the old social buildings where placed, they where given the choice to get an apartment in the new-city and 87% of them said yes.
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Old January 6th, 2014, 01:14 AM   #2
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So, i'm parisian, passionate by architecture and urbanisme, but this kind of architecture is a dilemme for me.

I don't know if I should like it or find it ugly. Maybe the more important is that people who live here are happy. If that kind of project allow employment and social life rather than criminality, well, why not...
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Old January 6th, 2014, 01:16 AM   #3
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I'd say it looks nice.
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Old January 6th, 2014, 01:20 AM   #4
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I love it. It looks homey and makes me feel good inside. Modern or glass facades can be cold, depressing, and uninviting most of the time.
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Old January 6th, 2014, 01:24 AM   #5
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yes but this city seems bound in the past, and in fake past.

It's a mess that moderne architecture can't creat something good for simple people without remaking past...
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Old January 6th, 2014, 03:51 AM   #6
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Are the same people living in the new buildings? Or is that, like in many other cases of gentrification, the modest apartment owners moved out?
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Old January 6th, 2014, 05:24 AM   #7
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The layout looks confusing, though.
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Old January 7th, 2014, 12:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cujas View Post
yes but this city seems bound in the past, and in fake past.

It's a mess that moderne architecture can't creat something good for simple people without remaking past...
That is because the essence of modernity is taking the "living soul" out of architecture. Life evolved in "nature" not geometry. In every culture, since the beginning of time, humans have used nature to decorate themselves and their environments. All societies have flower or animal motifs in their architecture. But in the early 20th century there was a philosophical movement against the romanticism of the 19th century. That led to abstract art, and also "modernist" architecture. Add to that advancements in technology, such as mass production which was perfect for "cubist" geometric modernist architecture. Also the new developments in medicine increased our life spans and decreased childhood death rates skyrocketing the human population all over the world. This required fast easy architecture to accommodate the increasing population and modernist architecture is perfect for that.

So modernist architecture creates a good "blank" cave for humans to survive in, but is is cold and devoid of of the "human soul". Without "frivolous" decoration modern architecture will NEVER be "homely and comfortable". Without organic shapes and the sense of earth and nature most human beings will never be happy. Yet ironically most architects don't understand this concept, because they are simply not wired to do so. Most architects are essentially natural born "artistic engineers". Logical people who are drawn to geometric logic and structure, thus most of you prefer modernist architecture. Very few "regular" people become architects because out of the regular population the artistic people, who are drawn to design, color, and organic shapes, tend to become interior designers, artists, etc. not architects.

So from my point of view part of the issue here is that to architects these types of buildings seem kitschy and pointless, but to the average persons they are beautiful modern buildings inspired by a fairytale like past. And they are the vast majority who populate the world. As an artist myself I agree with them, and I also like modern architecture, but in small doses and where appropriate. And I also don't see a problem with EVOLVING classical styles to modern materials and needs. This is the 21st century. We can't build with medieval technology and materials simply to stay true to a designs origins. That doesn't even make sense. So when it comes to this particular project I think it is fantastic, much better that the "modernist" monstrous monolith that was there before.
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Old January 8th, 2014, 06:55 AM   #9
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I think there are a lot of people who like properly done modernist architecture. I think too much of the so-called "humanism" would also be boring after a while. Geometry and linearity can be good! I think people have a bad impression of the style from the badly maintained social housing blocks that most seem to summarize modernism with, which is quite unfair if you ask me.

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Old February 5th, 2014, 02:11 AM   #10
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I think that it's not the best but it's way WAY better that the so called "modern" blocks that are made of off poor materials and without any architectural beauty.

I am not anti-modernism some modern style building can be beautiful the only problem is that they represent less that 5% off all new modern buildings.
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Old February 5th, 2014, 04:10 PM   #11
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Neo-traditionalism is hideous, horrendous, fake and an abomination against the hundreds of years of science evolution.

The problem with the OP is the false dichotomy: just because you don't want equal-looking commieblocks, you don't need to evoke pre-Napoleonic outdated styles.
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Old February 6th, 2014, 04:10 AM   #12
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Good for the unemployment rate, crime, real-estate value. I think it' s a very good gentrification, data speaks for itself.
I like the nice and gentle street design, with curved lines, water, bridges and a very pedestrian-friendly environment.

However, I hate the fake historical façades. You could make a lot of good modern architecture, while still following the curved street path. You could fill the blocks with buildings of the same shape and height, but without copying old buildings.

I totally agree with this post by Suburbanist, and it's a very rare fact (I don't even agree with his/her nickname!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Neo-traditionalism is hideous, horrendous, fake and an abomination against the hundreds of years of science evolution.

The problem with the OP is the false dichotomy: just because you don't want equal-looking commieblocks, you don't need to evoke pre-Napoleonic outdated styles.
By the way, what does OP stand for?
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Old February 7th, 2014, 03:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Neo-traditionalism is hideous, horrendous, fake and an abomination against the hundreds of years of science evolution.

The problem with the OP is the false dichotomy: just because you don't want equal-looking commieblocks, you don't need to evoke pre-Napoleonic outdated styles.
While I agree with you on the massive use of neo-traditionalism architecture, I think it is still better than an agglomerate of commieblocks.
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Old March 3rd, 2014, 10:16 PM   #14
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However inauthentic in style, the variety and quantity of styles is what many people want and desire. After living for decades in gray boxes, it's not surprising. Look at what is happening across Central and Eastern Europe. Many of the "commie block" neighbourhoods are being renovated and while not at the same scale, in many instances that includes the (often ridiculous) selection of brighter colour palettes and ornamentation.
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Old March 4th, 2014, 09:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnOldBlackMarble View Post
That is because the essence of modernity is taking the "living soul" out of architecture. Life evolved in "nature" not geometry. In every culture, since the beginning of time, humans have used nature to decorate themselves and their environments. All societies have flower or animal motifs in their architecture. But in the early 20th century there was a philosophical movement against the romanticism of the 19th century. That led to abstract art, and also "modernist" architecture. Add to that advancements in technology, such as mass production which was perfect for "cubist" geometric modernist architecture. Also the new developments in medicine increased our life spans and decreased childhood death rates skyrocketing the human population all over the world. This required fast easy architecture to accommodate the increasing population and modernist architecture is perfect for that.

So modernist architecture creates a good "blank" cave for humans to survive in, but is is cold and devoid of of the "human soul". Without "frivolous" decoration modern architecture will NEVER be "homely and comfortable". Without organic shapes and the sense of earth and nature most human beings will never be happy. Yet ironically most architects don't understand this concept, because they are simply not wired to do so. Most architects are essentially natural born "artistic engineers". Logical people who are drawn to geometric logic and structure, thus most of you prefer modernist architecture. Very few "regular" people become architects because out of the regular population the artistic people, who are drawn to design, color, and organic shapes, tend to become interior designers, artists, etc. not architects.

So from my point of view part of the issue here is that to architects these types of buildings seem kitschy and pointless, but to the average persons they are beautiful modern buildings inspired by a fairytale like past. And they are the vast majority who populate the world. As an artist myself I agree with them, and I also like modern architecture, but in small doses and where appropriate. And I also don't see a problem with EVOLVING classical styles to modern materials and needs. This is the 21st century. We can't build with medieval technology and materials simply to stay true to a designs origins. That doesn't even make sense. So when it comes to this particular project I think it is fantastic, much better that the "modernist" monstrous monolith that was there before.
Not so much the style, but whether the space is pedestrian friendly. Good pedestrian based architecture is not dependent upon what covers a building, but, more in scale (less than perhaps 10 stories), more in a non-grid layout, more in a moderate sidewalk setback, and, more in variations from building to building.
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Old March 4th, 2014, 09:35 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cujas View Post
So, i'm parisian, passionate by architecture and urbanisme, but this kind of architecture is a dilemme for me.

I don't know if I should like it or find it ugly. Maybe the more important is that people who live here are happy. If that kind of project allow employment and social life rather than criminality, well, why not...
In the US this would be a gated community.
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Old May 14th, 2014, 03:45 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnOldBlackMarble View Post
That is because the essence of modernity is taking the "living soul" out of architecture. Life evolved in "nature" not geometry. In every culture, since the beginning of time, humans have used nature to decorate themselves and their environments. All societies have flower or animal motifs in their architecture. But in the early 20th century there was a philosophical movement against the romanticism of the 19th century. That led to abstract art, and also "modernist" architecture. Add to that advancements in technology, such as mass production which was perfect for "cubist" geometric modernist architecture. Also the new developments in medicine increased our life spans and decreased childhood death rates skyrocketing the human population all over the world. This required fast easy architecture to accommodate the increasing population and modernist architecture is perfect for that.

So modernist architecture creates a good "blank" cave for humans to survive in, but is is cold and devoid of of the "human soul". Without "frivolous" decoration modern architecture will NEVER be "homely and comfortable". Without organic shapes and the sense of earth and nature most human beings will never be happy. Yet ironically most architects don't understand this concept, because they are simply not wired to do so. Most architects are essentially natural born "artistic engineers". Logical people who are drawn to geometric logic and structure, thus most of you prefer modernist architecture. Very few "regular" people become architects because out of the regular population the artistic people, who are drawn to design, color, and organic shapes, tend to become interior designers, artists, etc. not architects.

So from my point of view part of the issue here is that to architects these types of buildings seem kitschy and pointless, but to the average persons they are beautiful modern buildings inspired by a fairytale like past. And they are the vast majority who populate the world. As an artist myself I agree with them, and I also like modern architecture, but in small doses and where appropriate. And I also don't see a problem with EVOLVING classical styles to modern materials and needs. This is the 21st century. We can't build with medieval technology and materials simply to stay true to a designs origins. That doesn't even make sense. So when it comes to this particular project I think it is fantastic, much better that the "modernist" monstrous monolith that was there before.
Good post. Unfortunately hacks like Le Corbusier, Robert Moses et al have done much damage to livable, human-friendly cities. Something we've been realising with increasing alarm over the last thirty odd years and urgently needing to repair. This development in Paris is a huge improvement from the de-humanising Le Corbusier paradigm. Bravo!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Neo-traditionalism is hideous, horrendous, fake and an abomination against the hundreds of years of science evolution.

The problem with the OP is the false dichotomy: just because you don't want equal-looking commieblocks, you don't need to evoke pre-Napoleonic outdated styles.
Your mentality is modernism for the sake of modernism which is all wrong. You don't have to change something when it works. i.e. traditional housing, but you do when it doesn't dehuman commie-blocks. New Urbanism which neo-traditional style architecture often falls into is the ideal way for human beings to live. We are NOT robots who must succumb to some 'android evolution', a misguided view of the benefits of science and technology
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Old May 14th, 2014, 05:37 AM   #18
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Functionalism is fake modernism and even LeCorbusier got tired of the word. He only used it to gain publicity. LeCorbusier never really intended to build his city plans, they were just his concept on how some could be built in the future. Anyone who bothers to actually do their research would know that Corbusier was trying to break free of the restrictions of neoclassicism and open up a whole new world of architecture. He wasn't a social engineer. And he loved Paris.

Real modernist architecture is minimalism, which empasizes beauty based on cleanliness, on straight lines, on patterns, use of space, overall form, and material. It uses light and shadow to create an effect. Mies Van Der Rohe understood this, using decorative i-beams to emphasize the smooth clean lines of the Seagram Building. Functionalism was only a good side effect that was used to market the designs.

Extreme classicists seem to paint humans as weak-minded who can't deal with anything minimalist or abstract and have to be connected with so-called 'natural detail' all the time. That's far from accurate. Heavy decoration may be good sometimes, but it's not mandatory to attract a human connection. Humans are not like other animals, many of us enjoy abstract concepts, cleanliness, order and space. Look at commericalism, all the 'luxury' brands have minimalist designs, and minimalist stores they sell it in. If they filled all the empty space with frou-frou tiny detail, it would end up overbearing, distracting, even tacky and no one would buy it. Modern houses have been in demand for over 75 years and they're only getting more popular. Helvetica is the most minimalist font and it is used by many designers.
You should also notice that no modernist building seems to be labelled 'kitsch', unlike many neoclassical buildings. Why do we even have that term if all we need to be happy is superficial detail? I'd say the buildings in this thread are kitsch as well.


Lack of maintenance on a modernist building also draws people away, since the clean forms are broken by cracks, exposed machinery, moss stains, or just plain rotting materials. People tend to forget that these buildings need to retain their clean look to look nice, as the architect intended.
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Old May 14th, 2014, 05:31 PM   #19
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I'm not claiming minimalism is bad per se, on the contrary. It is the spatial and conceptual paradigm of block towers that people find objectionable and de-humanising. Plus, too much minimalism or 'clean lines' as you put it can also be construed as sterile. A balance has to be reached. Kitsch is when detailing is done bad or let's say without thoughtful consideration too a holistic approach of the building.

You can achieve human-scale, 'congenial' architecture with a minimalist approach, it doesn't have to be heavy detailing, just look at Nordic classicism or even Bedermeir examples for that. However at the end of the day, the scale and spacial elements will always play a huge part in what humans find appealing and de-human and cold, sterile LeCorbusier inspired towers have proven to have failed society.
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Old May 15th, 2014, 03:18 AM   #20
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Block towers are almost always run down and crime-filled because they typically held poor people and criminals. I can guarantee if they were built with high-quality techniques, held more socially fit people, and a true minimalist design with no clutter, garbage or rotting materials, they would be seen in a far better light than they are. Unite D'Habitation was restored and now it is a valuable and sought after living space. Before the tower blocks the criminals lived in rotting Victorian townhouses (seen as hellholes back then), and those were the first ones to go when redevelopment came along.

Most social housing blocks are Plattenbau and not true modern architecture, anyway.

Good modern arhitecture will use material, form and space in a way that the minimalist design is the definitive feature (emphasis on linear beauty, purity of form, and pattern), and not sterile, just as a good classical architect will use proportion, detail and sculpture in a way that is not kitsch.
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