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Old March 26th, 2017, 07:21 AM   #1
Buffaboy
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Modern architecture compared to classic

I was listening to the podcast of a political show, and the topic of art came up.

Art is "a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author's imaginative or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power."

It seems to me that modern architecture (not the genre, but just of the modern era) strives to be low effort and low cost. There's not as much beauty or emotional power in today's widespread architecture, at least here in the US.

Look at the Sistine Chapel, or the layout of Washington, D.C., or monuments like the Statue of Liberty or Buffalo City Hall. Look at the Eiffel Tower, "Big Ben" the Egyptian pyramids. All of these objects have had lasting impacts on people. What buildings do that today?
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Old March 26th, 2017, 03:51 PM   #2
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This has been talked to death here.

BTW just one thing, the greatness of the Sistine Chapel has nothing to do with architecture, it's the painting there that makes it what it is. (Same for Raphael's Stanze, also there).
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Old March 26th, 2017, 05:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexandru.mircea View Post
This has been talked to death here.

BTW just one thing, the greatness of the Sistine Chapel has nothing to do with architecture, it's the painting there that makes it what it is. (Same for Raphael's Stanze, also there).
I don't browse the sub forum regularly, but I could see that being the case.

With the chapel, I should've specified that I was talking about the painting.
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Old March 26th, 2017, 06:04 PM   #4
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It's because everything has gotten much more expensive. The beautiful natural materials and craftsmanship of intricate detailing would destroy most project budgets.

It's also very obtuse to suggest there are no buildings from today that can inspire awe.
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Old March 26th, 2017, 06:18 PM   #5
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I suggested that at least in the US, there isn't as much, but I am sure there are great works that have gone up in recent history.
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Old April 5th, 2017, 12:53 AM   #6
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Architecture reflects the values of the society they were built in. Today we only value monetary returns on investments and modern architecture are far superior to their older brethrens in that regard.
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Old April 6th, 2017, 12:54 AM   #7
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there's probably more variety in the western architecture of the twentieth century than all the previous centuries combined, so to me it's hard to generalize. That variety means also that there are a lot of horrible buildings, and there are also a lot of incredible masterpieces (while I don't think that the Tour Eiffel, is a work particularly beautiful... actually it's been considered very ugly by many persons). And it's the same for the Statue of liberty. The sistine chapel is memorable because of the paintings of Michelangelo, more than the architecture of the building.
About this:
Quote:
It seems to me that modern architecture (not the genre, but just of the modern era) strives to be low effort and low cost
it's certainly true that a lot of modern architecture (with modern I'm thinking to the period that goes back to the late nineteen century) has tried to be more affordable, and it's a noble intention (but than you have also architects like Calatrava and their extremely expensive projects) . Architecture should not be only for kings and rich people.
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Old April 6th, 2017, 01:14 AM   #8
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The frescoes of the Sistine Chapel is a part of the architecture of the building.
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Old April 6th, 2017, 09:19 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Galro View Post
The frescoes of the Sistine Chapel is a part of the architecture of the building.
So every painting on a wall should be considered an architectural element?
To me that is closer to interior decoration than architecture (structure, planning of spaces and volumes, materials)
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Old April 6th, 2017, 09:21 AM   #10
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The sistine chapel is memorable because of the paintings of Michelangelo, more than the architecture of the building.
That's a very limited point of view in my opinion. Its popularity as a tourist attraction doesn't determine its architectural quality. To the average person's eyes, the interesting characteristics are the obvious: the frescos by Michelangelo and the history of the building itself as the place were cardinals chose the new Pope.

But you can also see that the building is a perfect example of early Renaissance architecture.

Here are a couple of drawings showing how it looked before Michelangelo's intervention and before the surroundings became crowded with other buildings:





And today:



Disregarding the architecture of the building would be like calling Palazzo Vecchio in Firenze, which has a similar fortress-like architecture, irrelevant, which it is not.

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Old April 6th, 2017, 12:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mapece View Post
So every painting on a wall should be considered an architectural element?
Yes, they are to a certain degree. Just like a every piece of stone or wood on the walls are too.
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To me that is closer to interior decoration than architecture (structure, planning of spaces and volumes, materials)
Architectural is simply about the structural soundness and the appearance of buildings. The frescoes are a integrated part of the appearance Sistine chapel and they control how the room the is experienced thus it is architecture. Interior decoration is not mutually exclusive to architecture.
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Old April 6th, 2017, 05:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMGA196 View Post
That's a very limited point of view in my opinion. Its popularity as a tourist attraction doesn't determine its architectural quality. To the average person's eyes, the interesting characteristics are the obvious: the frescos by Michelangelo and the history of the building itself as the place were cardinals chose the new Pope.

But you can also see that the building is a perfect example of early Renaissance architecture.

Here are a couple of drawings showing how it looked before Michelangelo's intervention and before the surroundings became crowded with other buildings:





And today:



Disregarding the architecture of the building would be like calling Palazzo Vecchio in Firenze, which has a similar fortress-like architecture, irrelevant, which it is not.

Palazzo Vecchio is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of italian architecture, with a tower considered daring for the time because of its position (and Arnolfo di Cambio one of the greatest italian architects... I don't particularly love it but that's another story). About the sistine chapel... yes it's a nice building but my point is exactly what you're saying, if a building is famous is not necessarily because of its architectural quality. And in fact it's much more easy to find pictures of the frescoes than f the exterior of the building.
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Old April 6th, 2017, 07:34 PM   #13
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It seems to me that modern architecture (not the genre, but just of the modern era) strives to be low effort and low cost. There's not as much beauty or emotional power in today's widespread architecture, at least here in the US.
If you think that in classical times all of Rome and Athens looked as beautiful as their temples, then you need to widen your horizons and your point of views.
As for contemporary architecture and how great it can be, please check some of the starchitect's work post 2000.
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Old April 6th, 2017, 11:21 PM   #14
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The decoration can be an integral part of a building, which doesn't actually mean that it is part of its architecture. A building is a creation for whose accomplishement architecture, painting, sculpture, and various decorative arts (tapestry, mosaic, ceramic, marquetry etc) concur. The architect does have to master the harmonious deploying of all these arts that aren't architecture - in this, he is very similar to the film director, who oversees the work of the writer and scriptwriter, of the storyboardist, of the "photographer" / camera operator, of the set designers (which includes the entire array of plastic and decorative art disciplines), of the music composer, and of the performers (actors), without having to be a master of all these arts himself.

In this particular case the architecture of the Sistine Chapel can be better seen in the images kindly posted by JMGA196: I'd say it's decent but nothing special by the standards of the High Renaissance. The fact that its vaults and then one of the vertical walls were later used as support for what turned out to be one of humanity's supreme expressions is rather incidental, and Michelangelo paintings are not even really integral to the building. Finally, Michelangelo's achievements there do not "score points" for the Sistine Chapel architect or his creation; but they do all match-up into a great artistic landmark to which the greatest contribution is by far that of the painter.

A case where architecture and painting as decoration are much more entangled of an intrinsic fashion and where the discussion has to be much more nuanced is that of the Byzantine church. By the time of its maturity, the Byzatine style of architecture has the explicit purpose of enabling the experience of transcendence and of supporting the visual showing of the key dogmas and stories.


Sfantul Nicolae Domnesc [Curtea de Arges]
by fusion-of-horizons, on Flickr


Untitled
by fusion-of-horizons, on Flickr


Untitled
by fusion-of-horizons, on Flickr


Biserica Sfantul Nicolae Domnesc - Curtea de Arges
by fusion-of-horizons, on Flickr


.
by fusion-of-horizons, on Flickr

(Saint Nicholas of Curtea-de-Arges, Wallachia)

This is not a standalone building with the walls later painted, but a unified creation achieved by a holistic approach where the architecture is fine tuned to host this painting that in turn was developed based on the more basic early Byzantine spatial archetypes.
In the times of the original Saint Sophia in Constantinople there were much less murals, and the more the need grew to show more stuff on the walls and vaults, the more the interious space of the churches was developed further from the architecturally perfect model of the likes of Saint Sophia, which also means that IMO at least Byzantine churches throughout history maintained a tremendous level of architectural harmony and overall accomplishment, which can be noticed in the cases of Byzantine churches lacking for some reason or another the painted decoration. They still are awe-inspiring and IMO perfect architecture. One such example is the Panagia Chalkeon of Thessaloniki, which is, at the inside, a painting-less version of the Wallachian church above, and is still amazing.
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Old April 7th, 2017, 12:06 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexandru.mircea View Post
The decoration can be an integral part of a building, which doesn't actually mean that it is part of its architecture. A building is a creation for whose accomplishement architecture, painting, sculpture, and various decorative arts (tapestry, mosaic, ceramic, marquetry etc) concur. The architect does have to master the harmonious deploying of all these arts that aren't architecture - in this, he is very similar to the film director, who oversees the work of the writer and scriptwriter, of the storyboardist, of the "photographer" / camera operator, of the set designers (which includes the entire array of plastic and decorative art disciplines), of the music composer, and of the performers (actors), without having to be a master of all these arts himself.
But a building does not have to built to by an architect to become architecture. In fact the majority of buildings ever built have probably not built by architects. While architect is in modern sense used to describe a specific profession, then architecture in itself is an broad description used of the appearance and underlining structure of all buildings. Sculptures, ceramic etc. can also become part of an architectural whole.
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Old April 7th, 2017, 12:59 AM   #16
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I like modern architecture but I do have an issue with it, especially when it comes to commercial modern. Residential tends to be pretty good, but commercial is mostly ridiculous mainly because it focuses solely on geometry and rejects art outright. Most architects and architecture critics scoff at any art or decorations on modern buildings. They ridicule it, call it kitsch, and only praise buildings that are absolutely devoid of any art, but have the most extreme geometry and awkward angles. I honestly don't think that it's money that is the issue. Just look at Bjarke Ingels 2WTC. It was praised as brilliant by all architects, when we all know its a piece of shit. The fault lies with architects. They simply reject art. For them geometry is art, which is absurd. Art is art and geometry is geometry. An apple is not an orange.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Just look how elegant even a modern skyscraper can be with a touch of art.

Steinway Tower



Flatbush Tower


The Fitzroy




Yet the vast majority of modern architecture is like this...

Just stupid geometry tricks.
American Copper Building

7 Bryant Park

2WTC


There's nothing wrong with playing with geometry, but most of these purely geometric buildings are just ugly. They're odd and strange the first time you see them. Even impressive but they get "old" very soon. After a while they become menacing, overbearing, and dull. They lack life, spirit, and most important positive esthetic. There is something very cold and negative about them, even cruel. America is full of these neighborhoods and when you are there for a while, you just feel tired. You can't wait to get out. On the other hand buildings that are embellished with art, draw you in. They make you feel comfortable, at peace, and they are never tiresome. In fact I think a lot of the cause for so much depression in the modern world is the fact that we isolate ourselves into cold austere cells that make social interaction difficult. I challenge anyone to have a fun spirited block party in the cold austere alleys of a modern financial district. Now try the same block party in an old village, or on a boulevard with beautiful classic buildings. Just saying this makes the "different feel" evident.

I really hope this cold, austere, architectural movement is at an end. All Corbusier structures still standing today are hated by anyone who has to live in them. They are usually slums, and everywhere in the world they are being torn down. I hope The Steinway, Flatbush, and The Fitzroy are the way of the future. Modern architecture definitely needs a hell of a lot more art.
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Old April 7th, 2017, 01:34 AM   #17
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There's nothing wrong with playing with geometry, but most of these purely geometric buildings are just ugly. They're odd and strange the first time you see them. Even impressive but they get "old" very soon. After a while they become menacing, overbearing, and dull. They lack life, spirit, and most important positive esthetic. There is something very cold and negative about them, even cruel.
Yeah, and your argument was? Because I can't spot a constructive argument over your post. In fact, I've never read anything more subjective and contradictory in the same time. Also this type of threads appear rather tiring, the same old people discussing the same old stuff. I just can't wait for @erbse to come and stick around, trying to convince us that modern architecture is awfully scary, and that it actually has political backgrounds and politicians with their world orders and aliens and sparks and such creative stuff. It is said that Classical architecture with faux limestone is the only way to save ourselves from such frightening world dominations and orders. PVC windows could help us too, and Stern is The New Savior.
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Old April 7th, 2017, 11:23 AM   #18
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But a building does not have to built to by an architect to become architecture. In fact the majority of buildings ever built have probably not built by architects.
Indeed, I was not talking about architects and architecture in the modern sense with the standardized and regulated formation and professional practice. If you build a mud hut in your backyard you're the architect of that structure (even if there may not be much architecture to talk about).

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For them geometry is art, which is absurd. Art is art and geometry is geometry.
WTF

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All Corbusier structures still standing today are hated by anyone who has to live in them. They are usually slums, and everywhere in the world they are being torn down.
Huh? All the Le Corbusier buildings are protected monuments. His collective housing is beautiful, well planned, very much loved by its inhabitans and extremely sought after: https://www.theguardian.com/money/20...n.theobserver4

Also, tower districts can be soulless because they're monofunctional business districts. If you implement solutions to have constant flows of people, the same tower districts will become normal neighbourhoods. Just yesterday I went to La Défense, where people also live, go to school, have their market, shop and eat, and it's really fun. People were eating lying down on the pavement under the spring sun, they were playing football or other games, and it was overall very joyous. Conversely, beautiful historical districts can have their life sucked out of them regardless of the artistry of the buildings, the forces the pull people out of certain places are very tough to fight against. For example, you just try to start a "block party" in Paris in, say, the area around Musée d'Orsay, Musée Rodin and Invalides.
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Old April 8th, 2017, 03:58 AM   #19
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modern architecture is awfully scary, and that it actually has political backgrounds and politicians with their world orders and aliens and sparks and such creative stuff. It is said that Classical architecture with faux limestone is the only way to save ourselves from such frightening world dominations and orders. PVC windows could help us too, and Stern is The New Savior.

We also need to protect our architectural heritage (unless it's mid-century, then feel free to tear down whatever you want)
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Old April 8th, 2017, 11:30 AM   #20
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Precisely! I would actually love to see us all living in the 30's you know, when Art Deco emerged (just in the first decade of the 20th century), it succeeded Art Nouveau (which itself at the time of its emerging wasn't really accepted). In such situation I'd love to see our precious @erbse (just start typing already!) reacting to the new and unlike anything ever seen before - Art Deco. It was a style that was heavily inspired from Cubism and the industry, hence all the electricity and all the steel. I actually think that the people who I mentioned before would've been mostly hysteric about the change, probably scared from the new and then even cruel Art Deco.

Those same people seem to be mostly against the 21st century neo-futurism too, trying to use the word 'starchitects' in bad and egocentric contexts. It's their loss at the end of the day really, since they'll miss every possibility to have at least one remarkable building in their cities designed from the so called starchitects. And also they'll probably stay locked in history, living in places made of plaster surrounded with dusty golden-like statues also made from gypsum. That's what they get for having zero appreciation for everything new.

Who knows how evil, or cruel do I look when they read my stuff, especially since I am a huge lover of the starchitect's work. Well, I can live with such bad reputation.

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