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  #21  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2007, 8:06 PM
DigitalUrbanity DigitalUrbanity is offline
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The examples above could be labeled successful examples of contemporary classicism for the sole fact they don't appear to be covered with dryvit.

The Nashville building (of the american examples) is the best executed in terms of scale of the elements to each other. I'd like to get a closer look at some of the details. The others are quite ungainly, the white plains building looks like stack of slices taken from completely different buildings, with the brick mid section pulled from some unremarkable 1900's apartment building. I'm a student of traditional architecture, but damnit it you can't even be bothered to look through any of the rich heritage of american pattern books and architecture treatises to get the basics right, don't bother. Classical architecture can be devoid of most ornament (see many institutional greek revival structures from the 1840's) and retain an austere beauty if the proportions are maintained, but if the building requirements mean using fibreglass columns lacking entasis, I'd much rather see a second rate modern or even entirely pomo building.

The dresden buildings are quite cool. The london ones (quinlan terry?) seem to suffer the fate of many revival style redevelopments with the facades looking pasted on. I'm sure time will tell if the current crop of classical buildings will age into something appearing like it has been around forever, or if aging alternate materials turn into a maintanence nightmare with poorly spec'd masonry ties or whatever.
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  #22  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2007, 9:26 PM
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again, let me reiterate:


from dictionary.com

pastiche -

1. an incongruous combination of materials, forms, motifs, etc., taken from different sources; hodgepodge.

ex. "In . . . a city of splendid Victorian architecture . . . there is a rather pointless pastiche of Dickensian London down on the waterfront" (Economist).
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  #23  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2007, 9:39 PM
Exodus Exodus is offline
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Originally Posted by hauntedheadnc View Post
Is the only architecture suitable for the modern American city those buildings that look like melted trailers?
Or what about giant rulers ?
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  #24  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2007, 9:41 PM
Exodus Exodus is offline
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Originally Posted by realm0854 View Post
again, let me reiterate:


from dictionary.com

pastiche -

1. an incongruous combination of materials, forms, motifs, etc., taken from different sources; hodgepodge.

ex. "In . . . a city of splendid Victorian architecture . . . there is a rather pointless pastiche of Dickensian London down on the waterfront" (Economist).
If it looks nice, then who really cares if the architecture of a particular building might be mixed with different influences.
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  #25  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2007, 9:57 PM
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Nowadays it doesn't look nice. It's a total bore.
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  #26  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2007, 10:20 PM
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Nowadays it doesn't look nice. It's a total bore.
That's subjective.
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  #27  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2007, 10:48 PM
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ancient rome does rock...in ancient rome....not in nashville.

ancient roman rocks....
say wasn't ancient roman architecture based on ancient greece?
so who's rockin' who here?
i bet a few ancient greeks visited ancient rome and said (quietly):

"so fuckin' derivitve. can't they do anything original. kitsch.
bah humbug...cheesy corinthian columns everywhere.
parthenon can't be beat.
find some new style, dirty rotten romans."

let nashville have its thingie in peace.
it's very nice.
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  #28  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2007, 3:17 AM
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Hey buddy, you brought up the idea of 'looking nice,' not me. I already stated the real reasons I object to decorative pastiche. Read my other posts.

But here, I'll restate :

It is inherently fake. Not just stylistically but constructionally. Ancient Greek temples were stone. The Romans used stones and load-bearing masonry. We, on the other hand (even in the Parthenon in Nashville) use steel and clad it with thin stone and try to pretend it's a real stone building. Your 'beautiful' facade is only a few millimeters thick, and requires expansion joints so that it doesnt crack and fall off. This is a major contradiction of Neo-Classicism, the laws of which were specifically created to suit the construction requirements of load-bearing trabeated and arcuated construction.

Furthermore, the Neo-Classicist temples of antiquity were built to hold very simple programs. Their programs are unsuitable for modern buildings. Modern programs are richly complex. A project for an opera house will include hundreds of service rooms, offices, electrical rooms, bathrooms, storage areas, meeting rooms, dressing rooms, loading docks, rehearsal spaces, etc. All of these 'back-of-house' activities require networking in an efficient manner. A good architect spends a bulk of his time trying to figure out how to organize them so they operate cohesively and smoothly. There are two approaches architects take to solve this problem. 1. You can create the envelope of the building first and cram everything into it or 2. You can design the building to suit the optimal program arrangement. These pseudo-Classicist buildings obviously take the first approach, which is absolutely a retrogressive way to make buildings. If you design a building this way your first concern is to make a facade, not to ensure that all rooms get the proper amount of light or that the adjacency of rooms is optimal. And it certainly means you dont concern yourself with the invention of new ideas about buildings and space or with increased variety in the role buildings play in our lives.
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  #29  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2007, 3:30 AM
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Neo-classicism to me represents a complete lack of creativity on the part of the architect. They barely deserve the title. It is the flimsiest of "ism"s. An embarrassing exercise that is neither environmentally responsible, or artistically valid.
Facadism is meant to appeal to the LCD, so I guess it has it's place. A shame that place is necessary.
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  #30  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2007, 5:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lawsond View Post
say wasn't ancient roman architecture based on ancient greece?
so who's rockin' who here?
i bet a few ancient greeks visited ancient rome and said (quietly):

"so fuckin' derivitve. can't they do anything original. kitsch.
bah humbug...cheesy corinthian columns everywhere.
parthenon can't be beat.
find some new style, dirty rotten romans."

let nashville have its thingie in peace.
it's very nice.
yes, roman architecture was a lineage of greek...the subtle differences reflected the unique conditions in roman cities and the advancement of construction techniques....just as modern architecture should reflect the 1500 years of technological evolution since, as well as reflecting the functional and geographic differences in the buildings themselves....nashville isnt ancient greece...and that building isnt a temple to a god, so why would the buildings look the same?

ancient buildings looked like that because they were made of solid stone...today that facade is 4" thick stone...its wall paper glued on to make it look like something that it isnt......which is why today it is kitsch and why it wasnt in 300AD when the romans borrowed the aesthetics from the greeks....
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  #31  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2007, 5:48 AM
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Well, I thought people were going to post examples of GOOD classicism here, so held back this offering. But when I saw that White Plains monstrosity, I figured what the heck. I give you San Francisco's New Main Library:



Here's the old Main (a Carnegie library)--it forms a pair of bookends with the new building on Civic Center Plaza:

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  #32  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2007, 7:26 AM
Exodus Exodus is offline
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Some people like it and some don't, just like everything in this world. whether it's a new idea or an old idea is really irrelevant as long as it works and it looks nice. I really don't see why it's should be a big deal either way. People have argued over this subject way too many times, and I still don't see why really, because it all comes down to subjective opinions. I like anything as long as it appeals to my eyes.
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  #33  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2007, 7:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exodus View Post
I like anything as long as it appeals to my eyes.
I realize it's likely you'll never try to understand all the things that go into a design but you could at least see that what we're talking about is a way to evaluate architecture more critically. If you want your opinion to count it has to have basis. That is true for anything else so why would it be any less true for architecture as well?
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  #34  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2007, 4:24 PM
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Originally Posted by trueviking View Post
ancient buildings looked like that because they were made of solid stone...today that facade is 4" thick stone...its wall paper glued on to make it look like something that it isnt......which is why today it is kitsch and why it wasnt in 300AD when the romans borrowed the aesthetics from the greeks....
There's that argument about how decoration on buildings today is fake, and yet SoHo and Louisville are home to enormous collections of historic buildings whose elegant stonwork is actually prefab cast iron. Likewise, historic 1920's bungalow neighborhoods across North America are filled with houses that the original owners picked out of the Sears catalog. And even on the authentic classical buildings, there are little tricks done with the stonework to trick the eye, especially with the columns. Does that mean that all these buildings and houses are kitsch? You seem to be saying that the only building suitable for an advanced society is one that demeans their humanity by denying them anything interesting to look at. That whole "machine for blah" notion, which I do not subscribe to.
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  #35  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2007, 4:38 PM
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Originally Posted by realm0854 View Post
I realize it's likely you'll never try to understand all the things that go into a design but you could at least see that what we're talking about is a way to evaluate architecture more critically. If you want your opinion to count it has to have basis. That is true for anything else so why would it be any less true for architecture as well?
I do understand what you are saying, but maybe some things are looked at too closely or criticized over stuff that really isn't that big of a deal. Just because an idea might be old doesn't make it bad, or just because someone mixes up architectural ideas doesn't make it automatically bad, or just because an old idea is implemented in a modern era or manufactured in a modern way doesn't make it bad. Step back, look at the big picture, and if the individual building looks nice and is functional, who should really care about anything else. So what really matters in the end is individual taste. Theres really nothing here to argue about.
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  #36  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2007, 6:25 PM
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Originally Posted by hauntedheadnc View Post
? You seem to be saying that the only building suitable for an advanced society is one that demeans their humanity by denying them anything interesting to look at. That whole "machine for blah" notion...

No, this isn't the point. The basic presumption is that we stay true to our time and try to respond to the era in which we live. Architecture must respond to the problems and situations of modern life, else it loses all validity and social meaning. Architecture is so much more than forms. It is actually a place-giver for daily life. It is the venue in which exchange, experience, and activity occur. Architecture has a great unseen impact on our lives and this is reflected by what types of experiences it renders possible. A thoroughly modern architecture will try its best to enhance life and make new types of living arrangements possible, and also increase interaction between groups of people and encourage greater openness in society.

Since you chose to bring up the bungalow I'll illustrate how it reflects exactly what I'm talking about.

Back in the day of the bungalows (1900-30) Modernism was just getting started in Europe. American practitioners of the style were technically being OVERTLY MODERN for their day. The bungalow, in fact, changed the American lifestyle in that it made things much more casual. Instead of having the ground floor be home to formal entertaining areas all the rooms were situated in close adjacency to one another on one level, promoting greater interaction of the public and private realms of the home. Instead of intricate Victorian detailing, simplified natural wood became the choice. This is at once both aesthetic and pragmatic. Since these homes were often, yes, mail-order, they were planed and cut in a huge factory. This actually eliminated the ability to replicate the complex detail work of the previous era. The individual master craftsman who could do fine plasterwork was no longer a quintessential part of the construction of the home. Furthermore, though the bungalow has many vague precedents in architectural history (its most recent and greatest influence being the English 19th century Arts and Crafts movement), it was a uniquely American building type that originated out of changes in lifestyle, technical production, and a need for abundant houses to suit the middle and worker classes. Though it may have 'borrowed from the past', it wasnt about mimicry and it didn't try to be anything more than what it was.

100 years later it's ludicrous to think we need to turn back to antiquity and cheaply and poorly try to identify our time with their architecture. It is an attitude that considers architecture to be only a facade and nothing more, when, instead, architecture really has no such more meaning that is often mistook.
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  #37  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2007, 7:31 PM
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No, this isn't the point. The basic presumption is that we stay true to our time and try to respond to the era in which we live.
I see. And because our time is a harsh and unpleasant one, our buildings must never offer an escape or distraction from that lest we forget. Gotcha.


Quote:
Architecture is so much more than forms.
Indeed. This is why form has been discarded completely in favor of function in high-concept modern architecture, and this is why the modern building says to the average person: This is the machine at which you work as a small and insignificant cog. This is the place where you are warehoused until you are needed at the machine again. I have no life or humanity and neither do you.

Quote:
It is the venue in which exchange, experience, and activity occur. Architecture has a great unseen impact on our lives and this is reflected by what types of experiences it renders possible.
Then why must the venue be so deadeningly boring? All it renders possible is malaise.

Quote:
A thoroughly modern architecture will try its best to enhance life and make new types of living arrangements possible, and also increase interaction between groups of people and encourage greater openness in society.
It will try, but all it ever ends up actually doing is cramming people in a series of boxes or alternately letting them loose to wander inside a hostile and confusing bloblike structure where nothing meets at any familiar angle. Shirley Jackon referenced something similar when she discussed why Hill House usually drove its occupants insane.

Quote:
...and it didn't try to be anything more than what it was.
And yet modern architecture is trying its damnedest to be something other than the bland box or formless pile that it is. The emperor has no clothes, or if you prefer, the emporer's palace has no facade.

We're not going to agree, so I'm going to leave it at that.
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  #38  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2007, 9:27 PM
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We're not going to agree, so I'm going to leave it at that.
Dude, just read a few books before you make up your mind. You have shut the door on the issue without realizing how stubborn you're being.

I have thought about architecture every day of my life for 14 years and I guarantee you that I consider it from far more angles than you. I realize for you it is a much more secondary interest but if you're going to be so adamant about it you just gotta back yourself up better. Otherwise you might try lightening up and realizing you don't know everything you think you do. Really, I wish you had more to throw out because then our conversation could at least get somewhere. Contrary to your idea about what architecture is really like, debates like this go on all the time. And when both parties have enlightened perspectives it can really be stimulating.
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  #39  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2007, 10:05 PM
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ancient buildings looked like that because they were made of solid stone...today that facade is 4" thick stone...its wall paper glued on to make it look like something that it isnt......which is why today it is kitsch and why it wasnt in 300AD when the romans borrowed the aesthetics from the greeks....
yes i'll give you that...form follows...functionality of building materials.
but there are many other styles romans could have chosen, egyptian, persian or just created themselves. but they didn't. they 'borrowed' the greek gods as well. lock, stock and bachus.
i just don't think rome is a good reference for the argument. rome had plenty of innovations...like that roman arch!
but classicism in building design wasn't one of them.
in fact rome derived a lot of its power from 'borrowing' much as america has or any other successful culture.
so i'll give you that they should use better materials if they wish to 'borrow' from rome which 'borrowed' from greece.
other than that, have at it nashville!
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  #40  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2007, 10:29 PM
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I think that it is important that architects continue to be original and innovative whenever possible, but I don't mind a well designed and executed revivalist building, given the situation is appropriate, ie Harold Washington Library in Chicago.
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