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Old August 27th, 2009, 02:15 PM   #1
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The future of Modernism in skyscraper design

In this thread I would like to have a discussion about the future of modernism in skyscraper design.

"By the late 1960s and early 1970s, many planners were coming to realize that the imposition of modernist clean lines and a lack of human scale also tended to sap vitality from the community. This was expressed in high crime and social problems within many of these planned neighbourhoods. " [1]

[1] Smith Morris et al. British Town Planning and Urban Design, 1997.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 06:56 PM   #2
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Quote:
"By the late 1960s and early 1970s, many planners were coming to realize that the imposition of modernist clean lines and a lack of human scale also tended to sap vitality from the community. This was expressed in high crime and social problems within many of these planned neighbourhoods. " [1]
Architecture doesn't turn people into criminals
In Eastern Block countries and many parts of Asia (including Japan) different forms of modernist multi housing were something very common (much more then in the USA or even WE) and there weren't any social problems.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 08:07 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iluminat View Post
Architecture doesn't turn people into criminals
In Eastern Block countries and many parts of Asia (including Japan) different forms of modernist multi housing were something very common (much more then in the USA or even WE) and there weren't any social problems.
I strongly agree with you. For example, there are very upscale modernist blocks in the most prestigious neighbourhoods in Hongkong, such as the Peak/Repulse Bay/Stanley. Today, we have the banner of Hongkong on SSC at the top of the page, the mountain on the left side has numerous modernist blocks which has apartment flats cost more than US $ 2,000,000 each. Living in those modernist blocks built between 1950 to 1990 is reported to besecure and comfortable, with all the upscale urban amenities highly available, and the crime rate is lower than average in the city.

However, Smith et al are correct about the social problems commonly found amongst modernist architecture in Western Europe/North America, and the lower/middle (excluding upper middle) income neighbourhoods in Asian cities.

What causes the difference between the Asian success on Modernist architecture and the social problems commonly found in modernist public housing in European/American societies before 1995?

There are some partially successful gentrification in modernist neighbourhoods in New York City since 1995, although not quite up to Asian standards.
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Last edited by ♣628.finst; August 27th, 2009 at 08:18 PM.
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Old August 28th, 2009, 06:52 AM   #4
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Some historical background of Modernist skyscraper design:

Architects who worked in the Modernist style wanted to break with architectural tradition and design simple, unornamented buildings. The most commonly used materials are glass for the facade, steel for exterior support, and concrete for the floors and interior supports; floor plans were functional and logical. The style became most evident in the design of skyscrapers. Perhaps its most famous manifestations include the United Nations headquarters (Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer, Sir Howard Robertson), the Seagram Building and the Toronto-Dominion Centre (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe), and Lever House (Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill). A prominent residential example is the Lovell House (Richard Neutra) in Los Angeles.

Detractors of the International style claim that its stark, uncompromisingly rectangular geometry is dehumanising. Le Corbusier once described buildings as "machines for living", "but people are not machines, they do not want to live in machines."
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Old August 30th, 2009, 01:23 AM   #5
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Modernist structures look extremely bad and were made for nothing but their function, without any design at all. Instead of being warm and pleasant places to live or work in they became boring and brutal structures.
This style is very common in Israel which is filled with these of houses:
image hosted on flickr

Which were built in the 50s and in the 60s in order to give houses to hundreds of thousands of refugees who lived in poor tent cities.
Today, they are just ugly structures and are populated mainly by poor populations due to their small apartments and density.
Another problem is that modernist structures were built instead of older designed structures which were mainly low-rise buildings and were demolished. A good example is Shalom tower in Tel-Aviv which was built in the 1960's instead of an older structure:
Old structure:

New structure:
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Old September 1st, 2009, 09:55 AM   #6
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Modernism is focused on the pursuit of an ideal perfection, harmony of form and function, while Postmodernism destructs the harmony of form and functions.

"Form follows Function" is one of the fundamental philosophy of modernism.

In skyscraper design, there are numerous examples of modernist skyscrapers in United States. An example is IBM Building in Chicago.



Sears Tower in Chicago.



Chicago Skyline with numerous modernist skyscrapers:

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Old September 1st, 2009, 10:10 AM   #7
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Modernist commercial skyscrapers are designed to create office spaces to meet the demand of clients.

The primary purpose of an office building is to provide a workplace and working environment primarily for administrative and managerial workers. These workers usually occupy set areas within the office building, and usually are provided with desks, PCs and other equipment they may need within these areas.

The workplace should be clean and orderly, thus modernist commercial skyscrapers often sought to create an orderly environment in order to fulfil the requirements of an office space. Usually, "Boxy" blocks are preferred due to their functional appearance as well as its actual capacity.
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