Is it possible?

Page 1 of 2  
It seems to me that there's a disconnect between architecture that architects prefer and architecture that non-architects prefer, GENERALLY. For instance, large corporations tend to hire big-name architects to design new headquarters done up in the avant-garde mode of design, then the big wigs at that corporation notoriously go home to Colonial Revival homes. Has anyone heard a good reason for this?
Is there a good reason why architects expect avant-garde designs to resonate with the rest of the public?
Is there a reason that the architectural industry, as a whole, has turned its back on traditional design, which is widely recognized, accepted, and more culturally rooted in our society that avant-garde alternatives?
I don't mean to be on a soap box here (or maybe I do), but I haven't gotten more than "We're smart, they're stupid" and "It's reactionary" from even my smartest colleagues and ex-professors.
Don't architects have a responsibility to the public to create a recognizable, understandable (familiar), and beautiful built public envirinment through which to navigate and safely live their lives?
FYI, I have no qualms with avant-garde architecture for personal use when it's removed from public context.
I hope to learn a thing or two from this large group of practitioners, teachers, and afficianados.
Best regards,
GFS GrandTradition.net webmaster
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Economics.
Because it does.

Electric Power.

Then your colleagues are not very smart...as for professors, what did you expect.

No.
I have no problem with traditional architecture, when it's old.

Given your post, I doubt you will.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You'll find (if you look) that Joe Public doesn't "get" avant- gardism. Peolpe know what a church is supposed to look like to read as a church; the same goes for courthouses and libraries, houses, office buildings- the typology list is quite long.
If there's no responsibilty to the Public, especially with regard to public buildings, who's willing to leave a legacy of screwing up the civic domain because someone paid you to? Think- if I gave you a million dollars, would you screw up your favorite place with a design I dominated (as a client)?
No one has spoken to the cultural traditions of a place and how they are abandoned by non-traditional architecture. See? No one really seems to give a sh*t!
GFS
On Feb 25, 12:54 am, snipped-for-privacy@tampabay.rr.com wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
GrandTradition wrote:

Write a pointed letter to your congressman. That should fix things.
R
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

"Oh, Watson, the needle! "
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

My first architectural job was with TAC in Cambridge MA, then (1960) considered very avant-guard. When I complained about the design of a developer's project, one partner told me "All architecture is 90% crap, here we are lucky and only have to produce 50% crap." Another standard to remember is that 50% of all Architects (as well as all other professionals) are below average, unfortunately the below average ones don't know it. EDS
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I really appreciate everyone's candor and patience with my ranting. I look forward to the rest of my career being fulfilling for me and rewarding for my clients. I've been blessed with my mentors and employers, and the future looks bright through my eyes- especially considering the current American Renaissance getting started as I enter the meaty part of my career.
Please accept my apology if I've stepped on your toes with my posts. I'm sure you all are perfectly thrilled with the work you've done, and we've all made the world what it is today- which, in the end, is pretty great!
I realize that this 180d change in my perspective must come as a shock, given my earlier posts. I re-read them and realized how negative they were and how my frustration must have been contagious. I'm sure everything will work out fine in the end. I'll do what I can to make the world a better place, as I'm sure you all will do as much as you feel you need to.
Thanks for the conversation so far, and I hope to truly learn something from this group of clearly experienced architects, designers, and afficianados.
Sincerely,
GFS GrandTradition.net webmaster

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Have you got a 'professional degree? The reason I ask is that the question you 've asked has been covered from various points of view in a number of books. If you had the professional degree, you'd have bumped into these by now, depending I guess on where you went to school.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Do you mean "Do you have a BArch?"
No, not yet. I have a BA in Architecture. I chose to forego the fifth year at my undergrad alma mater, which I suspect will work in my favor in the long run (allow me to get my BArch or MArch from a more prestigious school). I worked as a framer and landscape installer during college summers, which were really good experiences.
GFS

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
GrandTradition wrote:

"Prestigious" school don't mean crap. NOBODY ever asks where I went to school before I get a job. Maybe later it comes up...and I went to a "prestigious" ranked architecture school. They were a bunch of idiots, too...sure there were a professor or two who I respected, but for the most part... Man, were they happy to see me graduate.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Hehe In the first year, mid-term "sinking or swimming" evaluation, they told me to go to an "American school" because I might "do well" there. Once I saw the tuitions on the east coast, I came back and hacked a swath through the BS for people who had their own ideas. Lots of staff never worked there again after I was done.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I meant a degree that leads to certification, wherever it is that you are, as opposed to a technology program. There tends to be some 'discourse' on the more philosophical/political aspects of architecture at the first sort of institutions.
Four years in one must have been plenty of time for someone seriously interested in the issue, whether the local pedagogy wanted it or not, to have come across numerous books on the subject that would have been published between 1978 and about 1990. (I don't follow what the chattering classes are saying about architecture since I went into practice. Every once in a while the media publish something and I am reassured that it is 95% BS.)
I was going to school between 81 and 87 and even in my school, where it was vigorously discouraged, there was a contingent of people who advocated for a traditional approach to design at a considerable cost to their grade point averages.
I've always advocated for the freedom to design any way you want to and for clients to be able to choose whatever type of design they want. In the real world of politics and marketing, especially when it come so large public commissions, this is never really accomplished. The 'discourse' is tirelessly managed by elites, and people who spend public money are constantly having dreams where they are naked in front of that public. For the foreseeable future I expect large public commissions to be non-orthogonal, with a fair portion displaying what passes for "wit".
The last big advocate for traditionalism that I noticed was R.M. Stern.
--


MichaelB
www.michaelbulatovich.ca
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Thanks for the ray of sunshine, EDS. Your point comes back to the 'good architecture needs good clients/patrons" theme.
--


MichaelB
www.michaelbulatovich.ca
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Michael Bulatovich wrote:

I wrote my rant before I read any of yours (took a bit for my reader to refresh)...and said the same thing. You wanna complain, get better clients.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
GrandTradition wrote:

Hearsay.
I'm an architect and don't like 90% of what I see in the trade rags. I also like modern architecture.
I worked with a guy who really dug A.M. Stern. Go figure.

They want a building that "says" something. Most of the time it says "crap", but, like the fashion runways, it's the fashionable thing to do at the time. Unlike the fashion runways, clothes can be closeted. As Frank Lloyd Wright said "A doctor can always bury his mistakes. An architect can only advise his clients to go and plant vines."
Plus what Pat said... it's hard to scale "traditional" at today's building prices. Correctly done "traditional" will cost way more than "correctly" done modernism, even if its big budget crap.

I don't. In fact, I'm not sure what you're talking about. It's the client that lets it happen. If the client didn't demand that Libeskind didn't make crap then he would be out of work. How about asking the client if they care if their building "resonates" with the rest of the public. It's their money and their building. If you don't like it, stay way.

You're making some pretty darn broad assumptions. The *whole* architectural industry (whatever that means)? "Widely recognized, accepted?" "Culturally rooted?"
Who's the industry? All architects...except me, so the idea that the whole industry is involved is shot.
And what "traditional" design is widely accepted? Colonial revivial? Tudor? Victorian? Neo-Classical? Classical? Post-modern Classical? Vernacular northern mid-west? Lest you also forget that much of "traditional" was "avant-garde" at some point in history.
And "culturally rooted" in what? I have considerable ties to Finland. They, as a people, are "culturally rooted", yet have embraced a modern style. They have great "traditional" buildings, but also have even better "modern" ones. So don't give me this crap that "traditional" design is "culturally rooted."

Well... my experience says that most architectural professors are stupid...they haven't designed anything that ever got built so they really don't know what they're talking about.
But you must understand that "we" (that is us, the culture) has caused this to happen. In order to get famous you have to get noticed. And, just as in the art world nobody gets famous for being good at it anymore, they only get famous for being outrageous. Elephant Dung is "art" and makes the news. A great landscape is also art, but sold for $5 at the county fair. Architects aren't too different. You want to be noticed, so you design and build a giant ball of tinfoil and call it a building. Gets you noticed. You get famous. Now everyone wants your brand of tinfoil.
Answer why Brittany Spears ever made it big and you'll have the answer to your question.

Sure...I think the law says something about accessible and safe. The rest is up to the client. Besides, there are many who call FOG's tinfoil buildings "recognizable, understandable and beautiful." I don't know that I agree, but he get's 'em built.
Tell you what, you get licensed as an architect and then you go about getting clients and insist to each client that you will only work for them if you can design "recognizable, understandable and beautiful built public environments (spelling corrected) through which to navigate safely and live their lives." If the client can accept those conditions, you're set.

So...you're the final arbiter of taste? Who made you the God of good Architectural taste? Again, it's the client's building. If it's a tax-payer financed building, should we each have a vote on it? What if something you don't like gets voted in? You're whole theory kind of gets blown apart, doesn't it? And don't get me started on the whole tax-payer funded buildings...I'm already annoyed enough because of the inability to reason found in the OP.

You will...assuming you're willing to 1) reason, 2) cast away emotional feelings and 3) not get offended when somebody is straight with you.
Good luck...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Got that right. All they can do is talk until few understand what they're talking about, and the rest don't care.
I had a guy who used to say a piece of architecture had to have "3 ideas". Not 2, not 4, 3. I once did one of those quickie loosening-up exercises once in his urban design studio, where I made an "unfinished city" on Ellis Island (their site), which was always in flux, never completed. A densely packed grid of skyscrapers, many of them under construction, some under demolition.
At the crit he says, "You have made a ruin.". I said, "No. A ruin was completed, and then partly destroyed. This idea is "unfinished"." He said, "You can't do that." I said, "I just did. It's a metaphor for the ephemerality of architecture in the modern city." He said, "There are no precedents for an 'unfinished city'. It must be a ruin." I said, "No, it's *unfinished*. See the cranes atop many of the buildings?" He said, "You can't do that........" etc.
It was rumored that he suffered a near nervous collapse at the existential challenge of designing a 15 foot storefront.....
This guy later became head of Urban Design in TO, but has now thankfully left town for someplace else that might take everything he says like it's divine fiat.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Great discussion, I miss this stuff in here, but I have no reason to complain as I have added very little to the conversation in here lately. As much as the stuff in school was full of itself, I did enjoy it, but then again, I enjoyed philosophy very much. There has to be room for those pushing the boundaries of tradition and good taste as there is for those that would like as little change as possible to take place. Everyone in the middle (which is most of us) can learn from both (and learn as in what to do and not to do).
--
Edgar



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

[snip]

Maybe what's needed is the Architectural versionof the Pantone color guide - i.e., "what does this color (or in this case, design) communicate?"
That's not something that people think about consciously, and many people don't seem to think about at all. Which is why "fashion" is popular - if you wear what this or that magazine *tells* you (the ubiquitous, not th epersonal, you) to wear, then you don't have to strain your brain with developing any sense of personal style (i.e. self expression - hard when there is nto much oindividuality there to begin with...) or any sort of color sense.
It's sort of like only cooking by strictly following receipes - no matter how bad they taste. Easier than learning the scents and flavors of the many spices, and how they compliment one-another when used with various different foods.
Similarly, if a client reads in some self-proclaimed "style-setting" rag that such-an-such a building style is "hot" (jeez I hate that term), then said client can just run on autopilot and tell the architect "do something like this".
So the architect gets to figure out how to adapt a predermined given to a certain situation, as opposed to starting from scratch to create a piece of working art. Which I'd think would be frustrating to architects but that's only my guess...

Yup. Everything had to be thought up for the firt time at *some* point - and I'm sure that some people grumbeled at some point about the idea of the igloo, or the idea of using a disassemblable and portable wooden floor in a yurt, just as I'm sure that some people, upon first visiting Notre Dame or the Sistine Chapel (not to be confused with teh cysteine chapel ;) ), though, "good grief, look at this newfangled piece of nonsense", or somethink of similar sentiment.
After all, Santa Clause is now considered some sort of immutable Tradition, when actualyl, he was pretty much invented by, *IIRC*, Thomas Nast in the late 1800's.
The Saltbox "style" started out as a way to cut the heat loss due to prevaling cold northeast winds, but now, is merely a "traditional style".

Yup. Mostly,"traditional" merely means "DAR-vintage White Anglo Saxon Protestant roots". My traditions were from Eastern Poland, and Slovakia. Thus, irrelevant, or tacky, or inferior, or laughable, and so on. Slavic wooden architecture (the most obvious example being the buildings at Kizhi Island, but there are many beautiful examples I've found online).
OTOH, this remains one of my all-time favorites: http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Kaufmann_Desert_House.html
In terms of nationality, "Colonial" is "officially" my "tradition", but I have an intense dislike for modern examples of so-called Colonial - all too often, it's just another word for "cheapo cheesey construction", because it doesn't take much to do it well enough to pass most people's acceptance level.
In terms of actual histpry of this continent, things likethe Iriquois long house, the plain's indoans' teepees, and the SouthWest's Pueblos are more "traditional".
In the end, it's unfortunately true that "one man's tradition is another man's trash", and who is it who ends up defining which is tradition, and which is trash...
IOW, as you (the personal you, as in 3D Peruna) IMO make an excellent point.

IM, they oughtn't be called "Arch Profs" - maybe "Arch Theory Profs", or "Arch Philosophy Profs", but actual "Arch Profs" ought to be folks who've actually *done* architecture.
But that's just ol' layman me...

Exactly. It's not a matter of talent, but of marketing.

Or 'elephant dung" ;) IOW, design something patterned after it. Woo-hoo!

Been trying to figure that one out myself. She isn't attractive and doesn't have much of a voice. MArketing I guess. "Girls just wanna have fun", and promoters just wanna get rich...

There too, who defines "beauty"? As has been asked through the ages: why should someone else (such as our "traditionalist") have to right to have his definition applauded and adopted, but mine boo'ed and rejected?

"beautifully" - it's an adjective (yeah, it *is* just me being anal ;) )

THe silly thing is that, in a way, the foundation of beauty is - I almost hate to say it! - how the form foloows the function. OK, that argument can get "way out there" so to speak, but IMO the essence or the intent is pretty fundamental. A building is (or can be) Art, but first, it is a building, IOW, it's raison d'etre is to fulfull a human function or set of functions, as opposed to sculpture, whose function is basically to look interesting.
If the building functions poorly, then, well, not to put too fine a point on it, basically crap. A Chambered Nautilus shell is a classic and ages- old example of beauty, but its function is an inextricable part of that beauty. That is true of all natural forms. If a building doesn't function, it's really difficult (if even really possible) for it to be beautiful, *redgardless* of what style decor is used. The style is like the flesh - muscles and overlying skin - and the functional form is the skeleton. A shark is beautiful, an arctic tern is beautiful, a horse is beautiful, because they are perfect expressions of function, especially, of the perfect integration/interaction of environment and creature.
One problem with buildings, IMO, is when people try *so* hardto be "stylish", that they forget about the skeleton. Or, as the saying in the house-flipping market goes, "Just put some lipstick on that pig, and somebody will buy it".
Consider the bust of Nefertiti - definitely *not* a case of a "pig with lipstick". Now consider many of the "fashion plates" that the media screams at us are beautiful - yuck. Same is true in architecture. Beauty starts from the very first mundane brick, the first quart of concrete that gets poured. It's got nothing to do with whether teh skin is "traditional" or "art deco" or whatever.
At least, that's my take on it.

Plus, let's not forget that, if his notion of "traditional" is Colonial, then technically, by comparison, even Victorian is "Avant Garde". Or is Vict. OK, but Art Deco "avant garde"?
Is this "too avant garde", even tho' it's 60 years old, if the info is correct? http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Kaufmann_Desert_House.html ((Still one of my personal favorites, BTW.))

Good points.

Jeez but you're demanding ;)

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
GrandTradition wrote:

Large corporations hire "big name" architects because they have the staff to pull off large projects.
Colonial revival homes have larger resale values. Corporations do not intend to sell their properties, they intend it as advertising.

It is called making a statement and advertising

$$$$$$
It has everything to do with $$$$$$

No, they have a responsibility to the client to deliver a product that fits the client's needs and budget

And your point is?

Yeah......sure
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

"A corporate headquarters is not the same thing as a home."
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.