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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to discuss the possibility that mankind has infact gone backwards when it comes to architecture.

If we look at the buildings the Romans and the Arabs ect. built whilr they were in the height of thier power, todays ugly, bland, unimaginative box buildings look several hundered years behind.

In this country, we had the beautiful and detailed work of the Victorians and Georgians.

Lets have some Manchester now and then pix peeps. Heres one someone posted already of Market Street

now


then


Look at the difference. See how bland todays version to the beautifully crafted victorian version.

Anyone else got anymore comparisons or opinions?
 

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I entirely agree. The problem is that building using high quality materials to a good design costs a great deal of money and if you spend it on high quality design and contruction that leaves much less for the developer to cream off in profit. Solution? Build cheap and nasty, but sell at a high price and maximise profit.

Britain's Victorian cities left us with an outstanding architectural legacy created out of civic pride don't let's destroy that legacy in the pursuit of a fast buck.
 

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it all comes from the collapse of the church as the one thing glueing communities together.... with religion uncovered and a loss of faith people abandoned church... what doe church stand for (excluding religion)? It stands for collective goals and community support. Now the only 'legitimate' community in people's eyes today is the one where people come together in a hierarchical manner to seek profit alone...
 

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Its due to, as mentioned, a lessened fear of God (and therefore lesser need to impress the big mister), plus the fact that in them days, materials were locally sourced and big wigs wanted to show how much they were worth...

There would of likely been thousands of shitty little old buildings, we just don't see them cos they went years ago.. Its not like it would of been entirely picturesque..

In fact to be blunt, its all good and well saying we're devolving, but the fact that when them buildings were up, the people were crippled n wading through their own shit and corpses would lead me to conclude that no, we've certainly got a better streetscape going on.. We just still have to shake off the shackles of the post-war ghouls, it'll happen soon enough.
 

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Munch said:
what doe church stand for (excluding religion)?
Love that quote!
 

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ISAO OKANO
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Im not convinced- I think that modern apartment blocks are better than the average back to back. Some great buildings have been demolished but in general the better buildings form each era remain and its the rubbish that is demolished -possibly giving a false impression of how good the level of architecture used to be.
 

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Against ID Cards
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I think it's a case of two steps backwards, one step forwards.

Many of the victorian buildings and from that era are incredibly detailed and have obviously had alot of thought gone into them. These days it's all about maximising profit for developers and corners are cut and designs are rushed out without a great deal of thought. Of course there are some fantastic modern buildings that could easily compare with anything in the past, but also alot of new modern ugly buildings. I think the rapid reduction in the use of stone has also made things worse.

One thing that always strikes me about older buildings is that they generally made better use of spires and coming to a point which looks better on a skyline than the abrupt stop of a tower block which doesn't soar to a point.

However in general things on the whole have improved, there were some equally appaling buildings from the past, but as Rigadon says the worst from each era is destroyed (in most cases!) I also think that planning these days is better on the whole and street scenes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I go down Oxford Road on the bus every day to work, and what do I see? The pig ugly Manchester Business school, the dog ugly Northern Collage of music and all the other worthless box buildings surrounding it. I often wonder what priceless Victorian gems were demolished in order to create such monstrosities.
 

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What created the great Victorian cites, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds for example was enormous civic pride. The city fathers wanted to show how great their city was and they built magnificent public buildings to prove it. Manchester Town Hall, the Central library, Liverpool's St. Georges Hall and many more. These were the creation of hard nosed business men who had amassed great wealth from manufacturing and commerce - Manchester as far as I know had the only public building named after a political ideal - Free Trade.

Many of these men - like Andrew Carnegie - were also philanthropists building public libraries, endowing universities and hospitals. The buildings they created were not just functional they had to make a statement. And they did!

The magnificant Georgian terraces of Bath and Edinburgh were town houses for the wealthy and what wonderful buildings they are. Where are today's architectural masterpieces that will be admired for centuries to come?
 

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I didn't have space last time to mention the great commercial buildings erected in the 19thC and early 20thC particularly the great retail department stores elaborately decorated a statement of solidity and respectability.

This is not, of course, the story of the working masses crushed into tenement blocks and back to back terraces, which is the darker side of Victorian England. But that should not detract from the splendour of these buildings created, all to often it is true, from the toil and the misery of the poor.

The great Victorian cities have this wonderful legacy and we should protect it for future generations.

We should not desecrate our cities by allowing second rate buildings to be built simply in the name of profit 'though I fear that we are.
 

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You have to remember that in the Victorian times Britain was the world's richest most powerful country. The amount of wealth in the area was obscene and people demonstrated this in the buildings they constructed. Thats why we have so many stately homes such as Lyme Park.

All the stuff we put up between 1960 and 1989 was a time when the country was going through a real tough situation, and didn't have much money and this is reflected in the buildings. Brave new world and all that.

Nowadays we have a bit more money, and this is reflected in our new 'skyscrapers'.

Buildings always reflect the wealth of the area and the nation at time they were built and this is no different now then in 1700 or 1850 etc.
 

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the person to blame for this is a man called le corbusier. he was one of the main protagonists of the 'modern' movement which started in the victorian times and has carried on untill now.

le corbusier was fascinated by machines, he hated ornament and decoration and loved concrete. some of his buildings are masterpices (rancham chappel) but the concepts where copied by planners hoping to solve the post world war hosing chrisis quickly and cheaply and we've ended up with the hulme crescents and other abominations.

the problem with modern architecture is that developers are lazy and gready. they want as much floorspace /appartments for as little cost.
it has also become wrong to spend large ammounts of public money on public buildings. manchester town hall costed a huge amount of money as did the scotish parliement but the scotish parliaments main chriticism is that it costed too much!
i actualy think that it is a masterpiece on the same level as man town hall.
as is beetham, if beetham was built by bellway imagine how terrible it would look, sovriegn point anyone?
annother probelm in britain is conservative town planning and heritage nazis. lots of buildings are rejected for being 'too modern' or 'not being in keeping with the surroundings', i'm sorry but if the surroundings are 150 years old why do we need to emulate or respect them, its fine respecting massing ect but i think buildings should refelct the period they where built in, imaging in 100 years time, and architectual historians look back and say - in the late 1990's early 2000's they where too scared to think up new ideas so all the buldings from this period are made of red brick with victorian details?
 

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Accura said:
This is all very nice, but I think the real issue at the centre of this is what is more important... LCCC or Trafford Town Hall? :)
accy, go and do a drive by.

The town hall is on the other side of a 4 lane dual carraigeway from the cricket club!

I've had dinner at the LCC a few times and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. If they need a new stand, or even the whole ground redeveloping they can do the work during the winter months (about 10 every year) and on rainy days in teh summer (about 90% of them).

Theres loads of room to redevelop and loads of other possibilities... and Wigan is only a worst case scenario.

I wonder what the point is of pulling down the town hall. I just went up there to take some pics and it looks great! Its not run down, its in a nice bit of classical hard and soft landscaping, and above all its clean and servicable.

If Trafford dont want it then they can move. Fine. Longinthetooths idea of turning it into a hotel is not a bad one either. It would be a great addition for an area that really needs top class hotel accomodation... but that TH is too good to pull down. It is fully within the traditional northern town hall vernacular, with possibly a bit of slabby deco thrown in there. It looks much better in real life than in any photos. It would be a bloody crime to pull it down for a painfully dull and overhyped sport.
 

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Yes in lots of ways... you can see it all over the city.

Trams to Buses back to Trams...
Canals to derelict sludgepits to restored waterways...
Thriving city centre to desolate no go area to thriving city centre...
 

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In terms of the material, things have definetley gone forward, however people don't think as radically as they did before, and the thinking of people is very small scale. I think people have probably been scared by the huge post war redevelopments and the low quality of building then. The word impossible has come back, in this country at least (maybe not in Dubai for example).
 

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I am not suggesting that we shouldn't construct modern designs for offices and hotels but merely that they should be good designs and aesthetically pleasing.

There are examples of modern and interesting commercial buildings in London, in Paris, and in the US but a toothpaste tube stood on its end (Beetham) is NOT one of them.

Also, as far as I am concerned, the vast majority of new low rise (under 20 stories) flats being built in the city centre and close by are in the main boring, of no architectural merit, and certainly not pushing forward the boundaries of new innovative design, and are generally pretty tacky.

I think that when you have a sort of feeding frenzy of developers trying to get in on the action and make a fast buck this is exactly what you will get.

Yes, quality does cost money but that is not an excuse to sling up rubbish!
 

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We've moved on from the 70's/80's dubious property developer boom. We are refurbing that shit even now. Most developers today cant afford to throw up crap, and the ones that do wont get the returns...and they not surprisingly develop bad reputations. Admittedly, some smaller developments are badly put together, and its those that we should worry about. Having said all that I went round the Hacienda about 3 years ago and the internal fit was absolutely appalling, and same goes for that church on the roundabout at the end of Deansgate.... shockingly thin walls and stuck together with bloody cellotape I reckon. Wasn't it Stephenson Bell that did Hac? Just goes to show you....
 

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STUBBY said:
There are examples of modern and interesting commercial buildings in London, in Paris, and in the US but a toothpaste tube stood on its end (Beetham) is NOT one of them.

Also, as far as I am concerned, the vast majority of new low rise (under 20 stories) flats being built in the city centre and close by are in the main boring, of no architectural merit, and certainly not pushing forward the boundaries of new innovative design, and are generally pretty tacky.
how is beetham not pushing forward the boundries of architecture? it may not be to everyones taste but it is certenly pushing boundries! :bash:
 
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