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Old October 2nd, 2010, 01:04 AM   #221
Leo_C
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London - East End Restoration






http://www.bdonline.co.uk/news/uk/ha...006404.article
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 01:15 AM   #222
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^100 buildings are to be restored for the marathon route through the East End - even despite now that the marathon has been diverted into a loop through the West End (the East End was deemed too embarrassing).
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 03:55 AM   #223
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Amazing. It just goes to show that because a building looks shabby on the outside an overhaul can reveal something really beautiful underneath. The row was fortunate not to have been demolished earlier.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 03:36 PM   #224
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Oh, I wouln't be so sure. Acctually modernism had many faces, and one of the main reasons of the modernist idea was to exactly do what you say - think about a human being. But with its developement and developement of the technology, it led to some serious overuse, which I can agree that surely, it happened. But compare for exapmple Bruno Taut with Le Corbusier. The first one designed new apartments in a healthy environment in contrast with overcrowded Berin tenements for workers, and he always thouth about the human being and his various needs. Completely diffetent to Le Corbusier, who made up his own proposal of an ideal human, and he used his "Modulator" to design his amazing in artistic way, but not really human-friendly as it occured with time buildings. I love the first phase of modernism which is more or less placed in between the two world wars. After war, when the concrete allowed architects to build some humangus structures, resembling factories for sleepeing, working, resting, it was not really good for the towns.
Many different styles get lumped into one, but the Modernism Im talking about is the horrid Le Corbusier style modernism, which completely embraced year zero philosophy and forgot the past. This is precisely why it found itself so in demand in Communist states which themselves tried to 'start again' from 'year zero'. It most definitely too, did not understand human nature. It said no to decoration, it said no to street line, it said no to human scale and so on. This is why it failed.

The rightful heirs to 19th century architecture was Art-Deco and Streamline Moderne and architectural evolution should have been allowed to carry on from there. Buildings still resembled buildings, buildings still followed street line and buildings still had decoration and attention to detail that people so love. These styles were different from, lets say Art Nouveau, but you could easily pick and recognise its and many 'classical' styles' that came before influence and elements. It was different but only in a way Classicism is different to Neo-Gothic. Evolution.

Modernists, out of sheer arrogance, went against it all, they forgot history, centuries old rules and patterns and decided to start from scratch. Now, I cant stress this enough, but this is exactly what caused Modernisms downfall. Out of sheer arrogance too they wrongly assumed people living in inner cities needed saving and inner cities themselves were not fit for human habitation. Yet, people lived like this for thousands of years and indeed when you read writings of people (ie London East Enders) they quite explicitly say they never in their entire lifes felt disadvantaged, infact they loved neighbourhoods they lived in, because these neighbourhoods had community spirit. Modernists destroyed that.

Today these 'filthy' tenements are very much in high demand, the 'slums' are trendy places to live in, while the tower blocks and concrete offices are being demolished at an ever increasing rate. Modernism has been exposed to be an utter failure. A sad experiment. This is why you see a painfully slow but sure movement towards older styles of architecture. Yet, there are still people who insist that modernism is good and want to engage in another round of destruction and these same people will accuse you of living in the past if you disagree with them, but it is them that follow century old and failed ideas. It is them that live in the past.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 03:58 PM   #225
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 08:06 PM   #226
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Modernism, especially the concept of New Towns aim to dictate the way people live, and not the way it should be. Life dictates the way a building should be built, a town should be planned.

Modernism forces people to live a way dictated by the architect, and not design the building in accordance to human's metaphysical needs. Sure, all the facilities are there, authorities try to provide the neccessary facilities in New Towns, but the spirit of living is missing. A sense of community, a sense of personal space, a sense of belonging. The feeling of a House being a Home not as strong as before. A House is merely 4 walls and a ceiling. Everyone's house is the same. Modernism tend to be very cold.

In the post-war eras, with destruction in its wake, the priority goes into mass housing the people made homeless. And hence Modernism seems to be able to solve this problem. Efficiently housing lots of people, very fast, in a "cleaner" environment. In the 1950s-60s came the post-war baby boom and several newly independent countries and new governments embarked on mass housing projects to house these new families. Govts embarked on instant urbanisation of previously suburban and rural areas and rehoused people in inner-city "slums". Some might be true slums, but some are in fact heritage buildings that had been destroyed in the process. Modernism becomes a vehicle in politics.

I believe that, indeed, modernism is needed in the post-war era to solve emergency problems. But building endless homogeneous blocks of public housing while ignoring the cityscape, and creating very bland, stagnant living conditions is not the way to go.

Some architects thus envisioned the city-in-a-building. A massive building with office / resi / commercial / recreation all in one. And thus the architect tries to dictate the way we live, create a new lifestyle and force the occupants to abide to it. This would create either unhappy occupants or lots of misused / underused spaces. The places become more oppressive, some turn from utopian dreams to dystopian nightmares.

When I see a mass building occupied. I ask myself to the occupants have a choice or are they forced to, because they have no other alternative? Then it appears that the fact that there is a self-generated constant demand for the businesses' services that the customers keep coming. The place thus becomes self-sustaining. A new world is created, which at the same time coincides with the advent of consumerism and increased commercialisation. This is difficult without constant upkeep. Had some cases of failed malls. The building must be sensibly designed, with human's metaphysical needs in mind. A comfortable place to live in. H

umans are random creatures, life is random. And I believe that only when we are able to live, work, play, build freely could we be happy and live comfortably. Modernism might create a good physical environment to live, but the occupants sacrifice for metaphysical aspects (freedom of life)... Organic cityscapes have more freedom, but sacrificed for are the physical living conditions if poverty befalls a city.

But is a organic (naturally evolved) cityscape necessarily better than a planned cityscape?

Last edited by redstone; October 2nd, 2010 at 08:31 PM.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 08:11 PM   #227
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Well, a "natural" cityscape will likely be chaotic and not a good place to live. High-level planning is needed to weed out incompatible uses, then let the rest evolve naturally.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 08:36 PM   #228
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Control, but don't control too much...

The planning of a building / town needs to be very sensibly done.
Modernism is the necessary evil to solve problems in poverty and chaos.

Last edited by redstone; October 2nd, 2010 at 08:47 PM.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 08:52 PM   #229
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Modernism cannot solve poverty, infact architecture cant do it at all, this job should be done by governments - jobs, equality etc. It is much better to renew the old buildings and areas that fallen on hard times than to raze them to the ground, not just for purely aesthetic reasons, but because life is a big cycle, some day these areas will come back from the dead, perfect example of this would be Spitalfields or Bermondsey in London. Indeed both were extremely poor areas in 19th century (Charles Booth in his poverty maps described local inhabitants as 'Vicious/Semi-Criminal'), both areas too were target for modernist experiments. Look at them now, the places which had been touched by modernists (tower blocks, council estates) are to this very day poor, while the old buildings have been restored and modernised and turned into flats, offices and galleries.
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Last edited by El_Greco; October 2nd, 2010 at 09:01 PM.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 10:47 PM   #230
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Mass demolition is a huge mistake
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 05:06 AM   #231
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Quote:
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Modernism cannot solve poverty, infact architecture cant do it at all, this job should be done by governments - jobs, equality etc. It is much better to renew the old buildings and areas that fallen on hard times than to raze them to the ground, not just for purely aesthetic reasons, but because life is a big cycle, some day these areas will come back from the dead, perfect example of this would be Spitalfields or Bermondsey in London. Indeed both were extremely poor areas in 19th century (Charles Booth in his poverty maps described local inhabitants as 'Vicious/Semi-Criminal'), both areas too were target for modernist experiments. Look at them now, the places which had been touched by modernists (tower blocks, council estates) are to this very day poor, while the old buildings have been restored and modernised and turned into flats, offices and galleries.
I tend to think for Spitalfields, the poor people just got pushed out further away, and the poverty problem was never solved. Didn't think urban planners solved the social problem.
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Old October 6th, 2010, 12:30 AM   #232
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I tend to think for Spitalfields, the poor people just got pushed out further away, and the poverty problem was never solved. Didn't think urban planners solved the social problem.
Exactly. Deprived areas in the city centres just became deprived areas in the suburbs. Having an indoor toilet doesn't mean people suddenly start living prosperous lives.
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Old October 6th, 2010, 12:31 AM   #233
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Mass demolition is a huge mistake
It depends what's being demolished...
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Old October 7th, 2010, 03:28 PM   #234
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It depends what's being demolished...
Demolising hundred year old parts of the city is not the way to go
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Old October 8th, 2010, 02:31 AM   #235
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Demolising hundred year old parts of the city is not the way to go
If it's a modernist eyesore then the more that tumble to the ground the better.

I was watching a documentary over here recently about the modernisation of Kings Cross station in London. The architects involved were whining like crazy because every single alteration had to be approved by English Heritage. I thought it was most amusing because in the 50s, 60s and 70s so-called 'architects', town planners and councils had pretty much a free-hand to do whatever the hell they liked to our cities. Now they've been hoist upon their own petard and don't even have the good manners not to snivel about it.
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Old October 8th, 2010, 02:35 AM   #236
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Take, for example, those photos posted by LeoC in message #222. As recently as ten or twenty years ago that entire row of buildings would've been bulldozed away and a concrete block would've gone up in their place. It happened to tens of thousands of buildings in the UK throughout the 20th century. And look at what a wonderfully varied townscape they provide now, fully restored and renovated.
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Old October 8th, 2010, 02:37 AM   #237
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Well, a "natural" cityscape will likely be chaotic and not a good place to live.
I disagree. I think a 'natural' cityscape is one that has evolved over many hundreds of years, with a wide variety of architectural styles. It's what gives a city character and individuality. The few cities in the UK that have still got some historic architecture are often rated as the nicest ones in which to live. No-one ever wants to live in, or visit, cities that are nothing but concrete. Modernism doesn't 'do' character or individuality.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 01:41 PM   #238
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Those are renovations/restaurations not reconstructions...

Warsaw's old city centre is, or Frauenkirche in Dresden, or the city hall of Paris.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 03:04 PM   #239
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Part of Vilnius Jewish quarter. Rebuilt from scratch. Part of it was returned to Jewish community by investors.







There are plans to rebuild other parts of it as the demand for real estate rise. There are plans to rebuild th Great synagogue of Vilnius. Although I doubt that it will be done anytime soon.



The quarter spawned at big part of Vilnius old town before WWII. It was bombed and later razed down by the soviets. They built bunch of ugly buildings later but many space was left as parking lots.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 03:30 PM   #240
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Seeing as tower blocks and concrete offices are being torn down, streets are being turned into streets again and anti-car laws introduced, I think it is safe to say that modernism has failed. It failed because it does not understand human nature. Decoration is important, following street line is important, human scale is important. Modernism said no to all of these and it failed. Unfortunately it did so much damage that our cities perhaps will never fully recover.
I agree absoluetely! Modernism has failed ideologically. It HAS created some beautiful structures, but their beauty is not because of their adherence to the modernist dogma, but because they have managed to create their own aesthetics.

You may find this book interesting (I have actually written the introduction here), but it's not entirely visible through Google books. Other books by Salingaros are also revolving around the same subject

http://books.google.gr/books?id=i2Kr...ngaros&f=false
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