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Old December 10th, 2015, 06:39 AM   #1
JMGA196
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Did something go wrong with architecture? Is there any way to make architecture beautiful again?

Back in the 1800s and the first three or four decades of the 1900s, architecture and buildings themselves were supposed to be beautiful. In those days, the purpose of art was to be beautiful. Between the first decades of the first half of the 20th century, new waves and styles came out, revealing new trends and purposes. Art was not supposed to be beautiful anymore. We saw how painting and sculpture had changed with artists such as Van Gogh, Monet or Dali. The same happened with architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius changed architecture forever. The main purpose now was to be different, to be useful and practical instead of beautiful. Squared designs and simple claddings were more common now, probably because it was simpler and cheaper to build a 60 floored modernist crystal tower than a 30 floored classical building.

Now, I'm not saying modern architecture is ugly or bad at all. I've always thought that we can find beauty in almost anything. Brutalism, modernism, constructivism... every different modern style has beautiful and ugly examples. But they just can't be at the same level as a 1890s classical residential building or a 1930s art deco tower, can't they?

Let's see... A theater then:



and a theater now:



Back then, everything was supposed to be elegant, have class, be a sign of a certain status, not just another fish in the shoal. Most buildings were supposed to be stunning because of their materials, their quality, their elegance, their details... Now, simplicity = better. Big straight crystal panels substituted a classical brick or stone frame for a window. Classical columns, statues, gargoyles, vaults and atriums where substituted by... nothingness.

This:



became better than this:



And the same with interiors and their furniture...

Then:



Now:



Same happened with cities:



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Old December 10th, 2015, 06:40 AM   #2
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Now, here's the real question behind the first post:

Is there any way to make architecture beautiful again?

No, I don't mean making a revival of art deco,art nouveau or the belle epoque. I mean: is there any way to make modern architecture beautiful because of it's materials, details and elegance rather than it's simplicity or plain claddings?

Can there be a combination of the modernity, complex and organic shapes of modern days, and the elegance, class and quality of the old days?
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Old December 10th, 2015, 06:42 AM   #3
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This:



combined with this?

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Old December 10th, 2015, 06:46 AM   #4
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Back then, every country had a unique style. You could easily see the difference between french buildings, american buildings, asian buildings or german buildings. Now, some of us can still know when a building is in Europe, Asia, America or the Middle East for example, but architecture is now more global and lacks identity. Some people call it "boring glass boxes"... Can this stop happening?

Can't we make these:






Look a bit more like these:



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Old December 10th, 2015, 03:10 PM   #5
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" Art was not supposed to be beautiful anymore" is a great generalization, and it's even more wrong considering those you've mentioned... the paintings of Van Gogh aren't beautiful?
And also about those architects, Frank Lloyd Wrigh had a completely different approach compared to the other rationalists you've mentioned.
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Old December 10th, 2015, 05:18 PM   #6
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Yeah, you could combine them...
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Old December 12th, 2015, 05:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mapece View Post
" Art was not supposed to be beautiful anymore" is a great generalization, and it's even more wrong considering those you've mentioned... the paintings of Van Gogh aren't beautiful?
And also about those architects, Frank Lloyd Wrigh had a completely different approach compared to the other rationalists you've mentioned.
Obviously you didn't read what I said. I never said modern isn't beautiful, I said it is, but not at the same level.

As much as I love Dali, for example, you just can't say his work is better or equal to Bernini's or Michelangelo's.
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Old December 12th, 2015, 05:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatOneGuy View Post
Yeah, you could combine them...
Nah I don't mean like that It's so difficult to express what I mean... I want to see if anyone knows how to make architecture beautiful in a classical way, the way it was before Bauhaus, without making it just a common modern revival.
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Old December 12th, 2015, 05:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMGA196 View Post


It seems that much less effort is needed to make this than what they needed to design a building in 1905 for example. It is beautiful, of course. But how could you describe it? Just a rectangular-triangular base with big crystal panels and upper floors with an organic shape and a cladding composed of a few plain crystal windows and several white lines? Then how would you describe one of the older examples I showed?

Why can't modern architecture integrate several ornamental components like columns (nice columns, not just plain concrete cylinders), statues, vaults and other good and small details?
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Old December 12th, 2015, 08:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMGA196 View Post
Obviously you didn't read what I said. I never said modern isn't beautiful, I said it is, but not at the same level.

As much as I love Dali, for example, you just can't say his work is better or equal to Bernini's or Michelangelo's.
I'm not a great fan of Dalý (anyway I really like some of his works), but there are a lot of other modern painters that I love.
About architecture, personally I consider Frank Lloyd Wright the greatest architect of all times and a lot of my favorite architecture has been built in the last century, so I guess we have simply different tastes.
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Old December 12th, 2015, 08:28 PM   #11
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Styles have to change; we cannot continue to build only in styles of one or two centuries ago. For one thing there are not the stone masons around now to do this, and for another building materials have had to change to meet mass production and vastly increased labour/material costs. On top of that, towers now reach as high as 100 storeys; it would be nigh on impossible and probably awful looking to make them decorative all the way up; that is why the Bauhaus Movement promoted cleaner, simpler and more honest lines. It isn't 1815 anymore, and the world has moved on; so have architectural styles!
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Old December 12th, 2015, 09:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taller, Better View Post
Styles have to change; we cannot continue to build only in styles of one or two centuries ago. For one thing there are not the stone masons around now to do this, and for another building materials have had to change to meet mass production and vastly increased labour/material costs. On top of that, towers now reach as high as 100 storeys; it would be nigh on impossible and probably awful looking to make them decorative all the way up; that is why the Bauhaus Movement promoted cleaner, simpler and more honest lines. It isn't 1815 anymore, and the world has moved on; so have architectural styles!
Your thoughts is totally outdated. Yeah, now isn't 1815 anymore, but nor 1919 neither 1950's. Bauhaus movement is a history no less then baroque or art nouveau. Come on, these ideas of "clearer and simpler designs" are 100 years old already, wasn't the world fed enough with "clean and honest" boxes everywhere?
And yes, with new technology like 3d printers and robotics is POSSIBLE to build 100 storey tower decorated all the way to the top. It could look awful or great depends only of skill of the architect, but at least it will be something new in architecture.
I wonder how modernists still call "contemporary architecture" something based on ideas of Adolf Loos proclaimed in 1910...
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Old December 12th, 2015, 09:41 PM   #13
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Well, each to their own and definitely beauty is in the eye of the beholder!I love ancient architecture, but do not share that love for plastic/fibreglass/composite material replicas of it. 3D printers are a wonderful invention and could be very handy for repairing old architecture. There could be some limited use for it in small projects but as a widespread new style I think it would look fake and kitschy.

Quote:
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modernists still call "contemporary architecture" something based on ideas of Adolf Loos proclaimed in 1910...
The ones who know what they are talking about do not. They call it "Modernist" architecture, because that is a style. "Contemporary" architecture refers to that being built today. There is a difference.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimer View Post
And yes, with new technology like 3d printers and robotics is POSSIBLE to build 100 storey tower decorated all the way to the top..
It is theoretically possible, but in my opinion it would look awful. There is a proposal in the works for such a tower in NYC, but to me it looks like a dog's breakfast. But, as I said,
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder!
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Old December 13th, 2015, 12:01 AM   #14
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I think beauty is objective. Something can be beutiful wether you like it or not. For example, I recognize some buildings designed by Zaha Hadid are beautiful, but I just don't like them, because it's not my taste. At the same time, I know some brutalist buildings are not beautiful (because they're dirty, they're dark, asymmetrical, etc...) but I love them

Same with other kinds of art. Nobody can deny Mozart's greatness, but some people that know about classical music just don't like him.

100 years ago, an architect was supposed to make a bank look clean and elegant so the clients would trust the bank. A factory was supposed to look professional, imposing... A residential building would make you feel like you were having your own victorian manor in the middle of NYC. A church or mosque was made to celebrate the beauty and faith of X religion, a government building was made to be shown to other countries and to send a good message from that country.

Now, all buildings are just supposed modern and "different", they all want to be different.
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Old December 13th, 2015, 08:30 AM   #15
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I'm not saying old architecture is not beautiful; I love old architecture. Photographing it is my hobby. But I am just saying trying to adopt classical styles to 100 storey buildings would look ridiculous, that's all. Styles designed for three storey buildings do not adapt to 100 storey buildings. For skyscrapers I would much prefer clean honest lines than doodads and tchotchkes glued on all the way to the top.
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Old December 19th, 2015, 03:44 AM   #16
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It is very easy.

You start by going out and exploring the world. Then you start talking to people. Not just the architects, but the people who use and pay for the building. You read up on the architects vision, you understand what a building represents. You look at what other buildings were around at that time, and what was being built at the time.

It is wrong to say a building is beautiful or not beautiful. Beauty is an extremely subjective value. Just as you find the old buildings full of elegance, class, and quality, others saw those very same buildings as gaudy, snobby, and cheap plaster facades. Neither side is or was right. They just had different perceptions.

You have very definite style preferences. Instead of trying to build conflict over the old and new, I am going to suggest instead that you identify exactly what is beautiful to you. Then finds that which is similar, and designers who are similar. This is a very, very big planet, and there is room for many, many styles. Focus on finding the ones you like instead of blocking out the ones you do not.
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Old December 20th, 2015, 10:06 PM   #17
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The first one, "cinema monumental", was demolished in 1984. Today
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