daily menu » rate the banner | guess the city | one on oneforums map | privacy policy | DMCA | news magazine

Go Back   SkyscraperCity > European Forums > UK & Ireland Architecture Forums > Projects and Construction > Scottish Architecture Forum > Glasgow Metro Area

Glasgow Metro Area Architecture, Design and Urban Issues in Glasgow



Reply

 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old May 7th, 2006, 09:46 PM   #1
wolfie
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 95
Likes (Received): 0

Is a building 100% art? Discuss...

Here is a brand spanky new thread, where we can continue the debate on whether a building is 100% art (or not). For the sake of picking up our polemic where it left off on another thread, a recap-

Pro-
It is art, if the architecture can transcend its role as just a facilitator of function- such as with some of Robert Matthew's hydropower stations in Perthshire, or the Distillers Building in Edinburgh, or indeed the Hunterian in Glasgow, or distilleries like Auchroisk or Glenallachie. Their language is symbolic, figurative, abstracted. Functionalism fell from favour about 40 years ago, and Louis Sullivan realised long before that it wasn't so easy as "Form follows function".


Anti-
Mies van der Rohe put forward “Form is function”, “Less is more” and “The true task of architecture is to let the structure articulate the space; it is not the building that is the work of art but space." Buildings which set out to be artful, like Villa Savoye, are sometimes failures, because they drift too far from function and end up creating art for art’s sake. Furthermore, sometimes "art" gets in the way of practicality, as in the paving of Buchanan Street.


Is that a fair summary, Mr Wilforbes?

So, to continue, a really well-resolved building should be capable of dealing with thermal performance, aesthetics, security, acoustics, accessibility, economics, weathertightness and integrating them seamlessly into a "whole"- unless of course the designer decides to express the structure for a reason, as in the council chamber at Aalto's Saynatsalo town hall, for example. Then one factor is given pre-eminence with an intention in mind. The result can be seen as "art", in the broadest sense of the word- three-dimensional artistry which comes from inside someone's head, rather than from pure dogma.

Architecture isn't purely self-expression (which is one of the grounds people criticise modern art practice for- tracy Emin's bed), rather a pragmatic balance between all the competing and often conflicting factors. The art lies in the synthesis of everything above- and I mean everything, as well as all the thousands of Tech Standards clauses, Euronorms, BRE Papers, Planning PAN's that underlie the design; plus all the cultural influences like our hundreds of architect forebears, and the context which we have to fit into- baronial, gothic, classical, modernist, new urbanist, romantic pragmatist... all the isms.

I mention dogma, because dogma often leads to poor quality end results. Vitra Fire Station, with pointy balustrades which skewer Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrue, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub as they rush to their big shiny red engine. Then there's Crown Hall, which I went on about on the other thread. And wait for it- Cardross, which I've bored lots of people about, at length. Suffice to say, I'm with you, Wilforbes, when the pursuit of ART for ART's sake, or rather, the pursuit of CORB for CORB's sake, leads to a great building.

Damn, have I just undermined my argument??

You see, I would say that Cardross fails as great art, simply because it doesnae have the firmitas, the longevity, that it needs. Nae stamina, those Bobby Gillespie, Billy the Kid & Coia Carp types.

Last edited by wolfie; May 7th, 2006 at 09:47 PM. Reason: ...
wolfie no está en línea   Reply With Quote

Sponsored Links
 
Old May 7th, 2006, 10:17 PM   #2
Momus
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 410
Likes (Received): 0

To illustrate your point...



Is a building 100% art? On a unilateral basis, I would argue definitely not. Some undoubtedly are, but I am afraid the vast majority of buildings whether tin sheds, PPP schools or white render flatted developments fail the commodity, firmness and delight test. A rather simplistic response I know, but to be honest I don't think it is possible to argue that all buildings are art!

Since this is predominantly a Glasgow Forum, which buildings locally would you consider are 100% art?

Last edited by Momus; May 7th, 2006 at 10:26 PM.
Momus no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 7th, 2006, 11:16 PM   #3
wolfie
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 95
Likes (Received): 0

No, I agree that not all buildings are art, not even the majority- just a small minority, literally just the exceptions, the most-resolved pieces of architecture. The best-considered and most sweated-over designs, I guess. That's as it should be, 'cos by definition everything can't be "superlative" or "better".

In Glasgow, I'd say the obvious ones are the School of Art; Scotland Street School; one of the railway stations (maybe St Enoch as was, rather than Queen St?); the water towers you see from the M8 (in their floodlit state); St Vincent St kirk; Kibble Palace. The less obvious one, perhaps, is the Hunterian- but it is an unusual, if not unique modern Scots building, which picks up both military language (towers, glacis, cullises), and has a literal artistic contribution, Paolozzi's wonderful aluminium doors. And, personally, I've found that the quality of light in the Mackintosh interior at the Hunterian is just breathtaking- he understood our diffuse light better than anyone else.

I'll need to put on my modern architecture hat to see if there are any other post-war buildings (he said, reaching for the Prospect Top 100 list...)
wolfie no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 7th, 2006, 11:16 PM   #4
outofchaosaworld
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 456
Likes (Received): 0

There are no buildings anywhere that are 100% art let alone any in Glasgow. Actually there are certain follies that one might make a case for, with that sort of thing and the kind of stuff that Caro does the line becomes very blurred. One might even make a case for something like the Medici Chapel, but again the line is blurred through sculpture. The presence of art doesnt make a building art but its probably the closest it gets. Take a medieval cathedral where the building is largely a vehicle for symbolic and narrative art. The architecture there is largely about the delivery of that story so perhaps then it is art....hmmmmm, i think i just changed my mind, a little....
outofchaosaworld no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 7th, 2006, 11:35 PM   #5
Momus
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 410
Likes (Received): 0

The only one which I initially considered which fitted the description was Ronchamp by Corbusier which was absolutely breathtaking the day I visited it. Need to have a think if there are any more which I consider are appropriate.

Another thread that's bound to cause disagreements! Such a personal thing, like music, which can lift your soul.
Momus no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 7th, 2006, 11:40 PM   #6
outofchaosaworld
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 456
Likes (Received): 0

Ronchamp has as good a case as any. Interestingly i think its probably the case that religious buildings are those that probably come closest. Its there that symbolism and meaning take precedence over function. The combine a straightforward programme with a need to express ideals outwith those of architecture.
outofchaosaworld no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 8th, 2006, 03:19 AM   #7
Wilforbes
Prove it!
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: GLASGOW
Posts: 97
Likes (Received): 0

Firstly; well done Wolfie for starting this thread and for setting the foundation with a fair interpretation of our debate.

For me, if you accept the interpretation or understanding of art as being the application or self-expression of a creative skill then a building, certainly in the modern age, cannot be considered 100% art. The collaborative approach to modern construction combined with the strictures of controls such as planning, economics and, these days, the need to recognise neighbours and surroundings puts paid to the building being an art form. No architect in this modern era is truly expressing him/herself by using their creative skills to design and construct a building. Wolfie suggests that this is where the art is, i.e. in the synthesis of everything, but again this has to be a skill rather than art with the difference being the absolute liberty to express these skills.

The architect may have at one time the freedom to express his/her creative skills, but certainly not now.

Buildings are largely derived from function. Granted some buildings are artistic, i.e. they can reveal a creative skill; but artistic is not art. Outof makes a valid suggestion in drawing attention to religious buildings. I suggest the following, to cover the timechange of buildings as a piece of art to buildings designed from function:
St Paul’s Cathedral, London. Perhaps the nearest to a building being a piece of art (using my interpretation). Wren even deceived his clients, the Church Commissioners, by keeping his final designs secret and literally under wraps until he was ready to unveil his masterpiece.
Sagrada Família, Barcelona. Is it art, or is it the subject of Dan Brown’s next novel? It appears (certainly to me) that this collaboration attributed to Gaudi falls between all stools. The original purpose has long since been lost, the original plans and models lost and Barcelona’s number one tourist attraction is being finished with very much that in mind – a kinda Disney experience. More artistic than art. It is perhaps the continuing construction and the hope that one day it will be finished that fascinates so. Methinks that when that day arrives it may appear somewhat kitsch.
St. Brides, East Kilbride. My example of external influences taking away the self expression and influencing the “artist”. In the context of the new town, a new building was needed and the post war Catholic Church needed a modernist outlook. Result – a striking but nevertheless heavily influenced structure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Momus
I once had architecture defined as:

One third Art
One third Science
One third Business

Some practices may not treat them as equal thirds.
I could go along with this if “Art” was changed to “Artistic” with only Corbusier undermining this stance, but that is for another day. I’m tired and away to my bed.
__________________
www.glasgowraillink.co.uk
Wilforbes no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 8th, 2006, 10:04 AM   #8
wolfie
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 95
Likes (Received): 0

One thing that does spring to mind is the notion of "Gesumtkunstwerke", or total work of art- which Otto Wagner and Mackintosh subscribed to. At the turn of the century, that was a powerful driver of Arts & Crafts architecture, and several buildings were conceived down to their cutlery, and the client's slippers (Hill House).

And I guess you can subordinate all the other things, like industrial building processes and drainage sub-contractors, if you have a really strong concept or intention in mind. For example, the Wejcherts' coal museum that's in this month's AT, which uses Kingspan panels to create a form which represents the prismatic arrangement of coal seams. Not saying it's great art, but it's more than the sum of its parts. It transcends the merely functional, to become symbolic or metaphorical- and I guess that's another facet of art.

The team of people creating a building are subject to the same argument which Damien Hirst or David Mach (or indeed Warhol's Factory...) make when they come up with an idea, but get a team of helpers to carry it out. It's the controlling hand of the artist that's important, the integrating idea that only the architect has. (Unless of course the contractor runs amok, and f*cks up yr detailing!)

Last edited by wolfie; May 8th, 2006 at 10:10 AM. Reason: spelling!
wolfie no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 8th, 2006, 01:24 PM   #9
tommy_boy
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 55
Likes (Received): 0

What a shit discussion, its rediculous to even to suggest that a building is 100% art. That is what makes architecture interesting - its reality.

FIN
tommy_boy no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 8th, 2006, 01:57 PM   #10
wolfie
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 95
Likes (Received): 0

Re: What a shit discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by tommy_boy
What a shit discussion
Well, we're not the first folk to debate it: there are lots of misguided architects who considered architecture an art... Frank Lloyd Wright (who he, I hear you cry, Tommyboy) called it the Mother of the Arts.

I reckon it's valid to talk about it, if even to dismiss it as irrelevant today. Which I don't think it is. After all, some buildings are conceived as works of art for art collectors- like the Smithsons' Hexenhaus in Germany.

BTW, do you think that using the adjective "shit" makes you appear more erudite, or just more down-to-earth, no-nonsense? Cos it doesn't.
wolfie no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 8th, 2006, 02:29 PM   #11
tommy_boy
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 55
Likes (Received): 0

I’m so sorry Mr Wolf. I will try to be much more eloquent in my next posting. After all we can only strive to realise your criterion of silver – tongued, smoothly spoken articulation.

We shall all bow down to your unsurpassed vocabulary and knowledge of architects.
tommy_boy no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 8th, 2006, 03:28 PM   #12
tommy_boy
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 55
Likes (Received): 0

Oh, can I call you Wolfgang?
tommy_boy no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 8th, 2006, 04:23 PM   #13
space_invader
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: glasgow
Posts: 585
Likes (Received): 0

tommy-boy - I've asked to have your posts removed because, despite there being a slight chance that you are not a prick, you've come across that way on skyscraper.

you tosser. (and prick)

wolfie - thanks for bringing more than a crane-count to the forum. your erudition is most welcome.

--------------

problem for me wolfie, is that the question you ask is mudddied by personal interpretation of what art actually is.

Art, in some quarters, is all human expression. In others, it's a classical ideal that might exclude certain buildings that some would consider to be art by their own measures.

so it's impossible - for me - to answer with anything more than whimsy. so here goes:

Cardross, despite your excellent firmatis comment, is art in my opinion, it's the art of entropy writ large n' architectural innit.

Just as a flower droops, sags and withers (much in the same way tommy-boy's genitalia will one day, who knows maybe it has already), buildings do too. Cardross is reminding us of that process. The entropic cycle of buildings is usually lost in the fury of city development - we don't notice so much that buildings, like humans (and tommy_boy) are born and then they die.

down by the clyde, tho, in a dark celtic wood, a building lies there rotting, like a moss covered log, hollow on the inside.

the public should be charged to watch it's slow journey back to mud.

you know, that stuff we came from too.

ahhhh cardross . . . .

Last edited by space_invader; May 9th, 2006 at 11:18 AM.
space_invader no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 8th, 2006, 06:04 PM   #14
tommy_boy
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 55
Likes (Received): 0

Absolutly textbook.

Why remove an opinion from an open forum.

Sorry, is this some communist architectural cleek - here was me thinking it was a positive place to discuss architecture. I seriously believed that wolfie question was misinformed and irrelevant.

i used the word shit so i have been berated.

Why? When so many of you, in my humble opinion, have so little architectural knowledge think that big skyscrapers would be the best thing since sliced bread in Glasgow.

Just remember Ye cannae fling pieces oot a twenty-storey flat - Because no one lives in a giant skyscraper in the town and all the office space is empty.

People want a 2up 2down with a small garden, not flats in the city. No one will trust towers in Glasgow for years.

RANT OVER.
tommy_boy no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 8th, 2006, 06:29 PM   #15
space_invader
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: glasgow
Posts: 585
Likes (Received): 0

awww, poor tommy da martyr.

I have no power to remove your post.

really, tho, you entered a discussion, proceeded to embarrass yourself with your shit-stained outburt and then began insulting the thread starter (naughty threadstarter)

anyone who reads the whole thread will see how dumb you've been, like a spoilt child or something.

anyway . . .
space_invader no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 8th, 2006, 06:31 PM   #16
M_Riaz
MORI
 
M_Riaz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Glasgow
Posts: 8,646
Likes (Received): 242

ohhhh lovely precious stuff only on the Glesga forum.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tommy boy
Just remember Ye cannae fling pieces oot a twenty-storey flat
Aye ye can tam... my mother used to fling them oot the windae from 23, not much left of the piece mind you..but it was edible and went doon quicker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Space Invader
you tosser. (and prick)
offensive and no need for that sir.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Space Invader
Just as a flower droops, sags and withers (much in the same way tommy-boy's genitalia will one day, who knows maybe it has already), buildings do too.
PMSL: only on the Glesga forum will you get a comment like that, think yourself lucky tommy boy as spacey rips you right apart if you come accross a bit on the wide side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tommy boy
People want a 2up 2down with a small garden
Not all want the domestic wee hoose with 2.3 wanes tommy, there ones out there who would go skys the limit if they had the chance to speed by the 20's plenty sign. Mo

Live and be well.
M_Riaz no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 8th, 2006, 06:52 PM   #17
tommy_boy
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 55
Likes (Received): 0

Again spacey i will put future sarcastic comments in bold or italics. so you can tell.
tommy_boy no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 8th, 2006, 07:18 PM   #18
wolfie
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 95
Likes (Received): 0

i am the threadstarter, twisted threadstarter...

Quote:
Originally Posted by tommy_boy
we can only strive to realise your criterion of silver – tongued, smoothly spoken articulation.
Ooh, you flatterer. You multi-storey flatterer. I'll let the rest of it pass without comment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by space_invader
the question you ask is muddied by personal interpretation of what art actually is
Yup, that's why it's an interesting one to pose. Light blue touchpaper and step back...

Art, so they say, is anything which the artist calls "art". Sticking to the gist of where this thread started, and without entering a minefield of semantics, I guess what I mean is a building which transcends function/ functionalism. it doesn't have to be a skyscraper, either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by space_invader
it's a classical ideal that might exclude certain buildings that some would consider to be art by their own measures.
As to who chooses whether it's art, well, if we can't trust the artist/ architect to say so, then maybe the architecture critic has a dispassionate view of it? Or maybe we just need a new word to signify "well-resolved piece of architecture which, it's generally agreed, is less shit than those around it, and thus generates a discussion which is... less shit than those around it"

Perhaps it's all relative. Maybe it's all in the eye of the beholder. It may even be misguided, as Tommy boy suggests, to think and talk about buildings in those terms. OK, so how do you connote design quality? Because surely that's important, whether or not you agree that architecture is an art at all?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tommy_boy
Sorry, is this some communist architectural
CLIQUE!
Yes, you're right, this is a communist clique.
Damn' pinko lefties. It's a conspiracy of Trot's, I tell ye! Down with them! Where's Joe McCarthy? He'd sort out them g'damn' ivans... (repeat to fade)

But I really should stop picking fights about Cardross...
wolfie no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 9th, 2006, 12:57 AM   #19
Wilforbes
Prove it!
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: GLASGOW
Posts: 97
Likes (Received): 0

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfie
One thing that does spring to mind is the notion of "Gesumtkunstwerke", or total work of art-
This is not point scoring just a correction. You do mean Gesamtkunstwerke and ignoring the suggested connotations with Wagner’s anti-Semitic leanings this did suggest some kind of control or totalitarian mindset which even told you what slippers to wear. Is that art or is I Number Six?

I knew this would be a good thread!

I side with Tommy Boy on this one. I don’t know if he is indulging in my preferred sport of architect baiting but he does make a couple of pretty compelling (if somewhat over exuberant) points. His views on the Glasgow market are validated by the Council no less which is slowly realising that there is a certain absence of family homes in a city which seeks to grow its population and have its schools occupied. Also, I think Tommy is right that no one will trust towers in Glasgow for years. This is like a re-run of a bad movie; we don’t seem to have learned from the past, Basil Spence et al.

However we do drift off the thread.

Spacey brings a certain focus and does it with a unique, almost poetic art.
Quote:
Originally Posted by space_invader
Just as a flower droops, sags and withers .....(CENSORED), buildings do too.
(Bravo!) What is art, he asks? Ignoring all the isms and periods, there are certainly two main theatres – classic and modern. I think Wolfie is concentrating on the modern. But even here, he cannot have his cake and eat it. If the modern approach to building is collaborative, then we cannot have the suggestion of art (and the architect) being self expressive and that damns the idea of his works being art. In support of this argument, I turn (frontwards) to the Boy David's pal, Oscar Wilde:
“A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament. Its beauty comes from the fact that the author is what he is. It has nothing to do with the fact that other people want what they want. Indeed, the moment that an artist takes notice of what other people want, and tries to supply the demand, he ceases to be an artist, and becomes a dull or an amusing craftsman, an honest or dishonest tradesman. He has no further claim to be considered as an artist.”
If we allow that old fashioned thinking to be brought up to date and look at the modern team approach to building as suggested by Wolfie:
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfie
The team of people creating a building are subject to the same argument….. which Damien Hirst or David Mach (or indeed Warhol's Factory...) make when they come up with an idea, but get a team of helpers to carry it out. It's the controlling hand of the artist that's important, the integrating idea that only the architect has.
.... in such circumstances surely the developer is the artist, and the architect is one of the team of helpers?

If you take this further
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfie
(Unless of course the contractor runs amok, and f*cks up yr detailing!)
…then maybe the contractor is the artist!

However, this still does not answer the Cardross question. Is it art?
Spacey’s thinking is the closest I would come to accepting; but he is talking about the change (through decay) of the structure rather than the structure itself being the art form. I fear that like the Sagrada Família we are more intrigued by the monodrama of what is happening to the building now rather than whether it is a structure of particular note. If Coia had embalmed it, or submersed it formaldehyde it may have become to be considered art – but possibly only to the artist.

Cardross failed.

Possibly the biggest condemnation of any structured form is failure. It beholds no one to hold up failure as a piece of art – it has been done too often.
__________________
www.glasgowraillink.co.uk
Wilforbes no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old May 9th, 2006, 01:15 AM   #20
outofchaosaworld
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 456
Likes (Received): 0

Interesting point about the client or the contractor there. If art is about anything its about expressing a view of the world. Modern art tends to be slightly different and is an exploration, a questioning of the world as it stands. While architecture can do both it has to do so either with the complicity of the client or in conflict with them. Its ultimately yhe client that asks the initial question whether that question be as simple as "how can i find shelter in this place". That is the first act of architecture and its first meaning. That act of providing shelter is a very primal thing and its no coincidence that much of the meaning of architecture through the ages has come from that. The act of building however self-referential is the very stuff of architecture, putting one thing on top of another to make a structure that defines a space. From the classical through the gothic to high-tech the method of construction has taken on a symbolic level.

Art in a wider sense has nothing like that. Art serves no purpose and has no inherent meaning that is built upon or added to. Art means whatever the artist decides it means. Architecture can mean many things but means shelter in the first instance and most of its meaning is either derived from that or refers to it.
outofchaosaworld no está en línea   Reply With Quote


Reply

Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT +2. The time now is 11:19 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Feedback Buttons provided by Advanced Post Thanks / Like v3.2.5 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

SkyscraperCity ☆ In Urbanity We trust ☆ about us | privacy policy | DMCA policy

Hosted by Blacksun, dedicated to this site too!
Forum server management by DaiTengu