America's most popular buildings

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scowsa
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America's most popular buildings

Postby scowsa » Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:53 am

There have been several articles recently on the American Institute of Architects national poll that asked the public to name its favorite buildings in the United States.

Here's one, which includes a link to the full list
http://www.slate.com/id/2161695/

and here's another in today's LAT, provocatively titled "Where Modernism hit an Art Deco wall"

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-glazer24mar24,0,3933368.story?coll=la-opinion-center

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moderns-r-us
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Postby moderns-r-us » Sat Mar 24, 2007 2:39 pm

Here is the list!

http://www.aia150.org/afa150_default.html

Here is a photo group of the list!

http://www.flickr.com/groups/aia150/
"Better Living Through Modernism"

Josquin
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Times Opinion Piece

Postby Josquin » Wed Apr 04, 2007 3:28 pm

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la- ... ion-center

Another lame piece on the failure of modernism. Who's Robert Neutra?

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MD²
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Re: America's most popular buildings

Postby MD² » Wed Apr 04, 2007 7:19 pm

scowsa wrote:...and here's another in today's LAT, provocatively titled: Where Modernism hit an Art Deco wall
By Nathan Glazer
Sociologist NATHAN GLAZER is the author of "From a Cause to a Style: Modernist Architecture's Encounter with the American City"
to be published in April

...and here's what Mr. Glazer says: "...architects don't even think anymore, as they once did, of how to build a better city. Nor does anyone subscribe to the idea that a collection of buildings by superstar architects would do so. Rather, many of us flock to the European cities that escaped Modernist makeovers..."

That is one heck of a monster pile of IT!
I wonder where this guy studied sociology, or if he even attended class for that matter.

As a simple example, let me use Paris Rive Gauche: a completely new district in Paris (France), thought up by architects who worked on a singular idea: how to build a "better" contemporary city amidst an historic one. It is currently being built through competitions involving "superstar" architects.
I should know, I made an office building design for one of the entries. :wink: ...on which Christian de Portzamparc had pre-imposed the volumetry.

I do not know of a single European city that practices historic building in our era. If there is one thing that can be said about Europe is that they've always built "contemporary". They respect & preserve what they have & also build to last, but also demand to have something representative of their era. They build for today with todays visions & technical abilities, pushing everything as far as possible.
Go to Delft, Netherlands, for example. You will be able to snap pictures of seemingly untouched historical rows of buildings, but amidst them you will find, completely integrated, ultra contemporary buildings.

Nathan Glazer needs to take his blindfold off.
Build to last, build contemporary (only fools do otherwise), preserve, understand the backbone, the structure of your own (built) culture.
If you go to Europe only to visit monuments, as Mr. Glazer seems to do, then you are blinding yourself from the obvious.

But as Josquin points out, Mr. Glazer proclaims that "...Some residential Modernist masterpieces emerged, and a few by Wright, Robert Neutra and other leading Modernists survive in Los Angeles..."
:clap: :clap: :clap:
I rest my case!

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Postby SDR » Fri Apr 06, 2007 10:07 am

Thank you, MD. This is a point that should have been made (to American "traditionalists" and others) decades ago -- and hasn't been, to my knowledge. Anyone with access to a well-stocked library will find the international architectural press and its endless examples of the phenomenon you describe.

Unfortunately, most Americans are familiar only with Architectural Disgust (oops, that's Digest) -- which shouldn't even have the A-word in its title, if you ask me !

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Re: America's most popular buildings

Postby Connie » Tue Apr 17, 2007 9:52 am

MD² wrote:I do not know of a single European city that practices historic building in our era.

Unfortunately, there is at least one city that does: Berlin. A mixed group of people wants to rebuild the "Stadtschloss Berlin". http://www.stadtschloss-berlin.de/bildergalerie.html
It's a highly controversal thing, as you may guess. Architects are opposing it while "ordinary people" love the idea. At least the reproduction is not based on the city's initiative.

MD² wrote:Go to Delft, Netherlands, for example. You will be able to snap pictures of seemingly untouched historical rows of buildings, but amidst them you will find, completely integrated, ultra contemporary buildings.

I just came across this photo - that's why I remembered your post, MD: http://www.stern.de/wirtschaft/immobili ... html?cp=14
It's in Stavanger, Norway. The Scandinavian countries have, just like the Netherlands, a stunning talent to integrate modern homes into historic neighborhoods.

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Postby SDR » Tue Apr 17, 2007 6:08 pm

Thanks, Connie. Maybe it's time to bring our German up to speed; the word "Schloss" means. . .? Which of the images represents the original, and the proposed reconstruction ? This should be an interesting case study.

When in school, my classmates had the problem to add to a late-eighteenth century public building in historic Providence, Rhode island. It was a brick structure with prominent round-headed tall windows, as I recall it. I was outnumbered (among early-sixties architecture students) in proposing an exact duplication of the original materials, forms and details -- or perhaps a close but simplified version of them. Today, we see that this is an unnecessary empathy, and probably less honorable than a clean and clear demarcation between old and new.

How would you assess Dresden, or any other European post-WWII recreation/restoration that you may have seen ? I understand that some of these were as faithful to the original as possible -- in some cases using much of the original material ?

(I like the Stavenger example; I think I'd like it even more -- despite my constructivist sympathies for the present effect -- if the ground floor had been treated to continuous bands of wood, as the attic is. This might have suggested even more directly a sort of ghost or translucent masonry coursing, not inappropriate to the "basement" of a structure ? In any event, it's a cool house. . .)

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Postby Connie » Wed Apr 18, 2007 1:07 am

Sorry I didn't translate a little bit ... :oops: "Schloss" means castle.

The images are - from left to right: past, present, future. The original "Stadtschloss" was built from the 15th to 17th century and destroyed by bombs in 1945. It could have been rebuilt but the leaders of the German Democratic Republic saw it as a symbol of the Prussian Militarism and they decided to demolish it completely. On its site they built the "Palast der Republik" which is presently being torn down. Mostly because after the fall of the Berlin Wall there is no more use for it, plus it is full of asbestos. And ugly, too.

As for Dresden (or Potsdam and hundreds others throughout Europe) I personally have negative feelings towards opulent historic buildings, whether they are original or rebuilt. First, I don't like their ornamentation and pomposity. Second, I've learned how the original buildings were financed (by the then really extremely poor people) and built (under slave-like circumstances). Third, after having finished their work, many of the artists involved were blinded (don't know if there is a correct term for this, my English also has to be brought up to speed) to prevent them from working on any other projects and make the finished one unique. All this really makes it impossible for me to feel anything but disgust. Although I per se acknowledge the brilliant performance of the artists included, I don't like the results.

My parents showed us all (really all!) historically significant buildings in Western Germany when we were kids. When I was about 10 years old we visited http://www.herren-chiemsee.de/englisch/ ... /index.htm and, among all the other visitors who were aaaahing and ooohing, I almost had to barf *pardon me*.

Seems as if I was born modern. :wink:

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Postby SDR » Wed Apr 18, 2007 7:24 pm

Thanks, Connie -- that helps. (Yes, blinded is quite correct.) What a horror ! I really had no idea. I guess arrogance of power is nothing new. . .

I too am a modernist born and bred, it seems. However, while attending design school in an historic old East Coast city, I gained the rudiments of an appreciation of the building of the past. And, more recently, a book by architectural historian Vincent Scully has meant something to me in this regard; the critical descriptions of eighteenth-century French landscape architecture (for aristocratic or royal patrons, of course) by Le Vau and Le Notre, and of a WW I memorial in France by English architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, are enough to kindle an interest in the builders of past.

The book is "Architecture: the Natural and the Manmade" (St Martin's Press, 1991). Highly recommended; Scully deals with sites in North and Central America, Egypt, Greece, Italy, and France, over a span of several thousand years.

SDR
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Peter van Vliet
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Postby Peter van Vliet » Tue May 01, 2007 1:02 pm

I'm new to Lotta Livin'. Well not exactly 'cause I've been snoopin' around for a few years but only recently decided to register.

Anyway, I just decided to put in my two cents worth after reading MD2's posting and his mention of Delft. I actually am from the Netherlands (probably the only one on Lotta Livin) and live nearby Delft. While there are indeed a few examples of good modern architecture, there's also lotsa dross plumped between the 17th century town houses.

And actually, historic building is pretty popular here nowadays. People don't want a modern glass box, they want a house that dates back to the 19th century. And they don't care if it's original or new....

So, the situation here isn't all that much better then in the US....

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I just happened onto this discussion

Postby modfan » Tue May 01, 2007 7:17 pm

And I remember reading a wiki(?) about Paris France.
Interesting that most of what most everyone considers 'traditional' or 'historic' was in it's day the redeveloping (dare I say modern) for it's time,
I don't remember the specifics of who the architect was etc. but it was something about having grand boulevards for carriages and wide sidewalks for strolling and trees and such and to also update the infrastructure (I e the sewers) etc. and providing a more sanitary environment to reduce the disease threat. Interesting that they seemed to be almost the same issues that are confronted in the present day.
Perhaps someone could provide the link.

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Postby SDR » Tue May 01, 2007 7:19 pm

Welcome to the board, Peter. It is interesting to hear of what goes on in a modern "ancient city" -- we don't have those here, expecially on the
West Coast.

I suppose the whole First World may be undergoing a desperate (?) wish to escape to a "simpler time" ? Or is that an oversimplification ?

SDR
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