Voysey...was Re: Success

HVS wrote: <snip church stuff>

Was that because he wasn't 'intrinsically classical' or wasn't a 'pioneer'?
I love that guy's work. A British friend who graduated in England, but never certified, worked for a time in an office that was an industrial building of Voysey's...
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On 10 Mar 2008, Michael Bulatovich wrote

Both, really. He kept writing to the Architects' Journal in the 1930s when "the history of the modern movement" was being written by people like Henry Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson, and who were casting him as a direct forerunner. (They had to find a way to co-opt him into their grand theory that Internatinal Modernism was the culmination of all sound architectural theory, as his stuff was too good -- and too recent -- to simply ignore.)
Voysey's objection was that he had nothing at all in common with what (IIRC) he termed the "super modernistic" style with flat roofs, and explained that he was a Goth who designed buildings around spaces, rather than one who used formal principles to establish the exterior form.
He died in 1941, and reading the commentators you could almost hear the sigh of relief that he wasn't around any more to mess up their "pioneer" theory. (The obituary in the Architectural Review went something like "Although he said he had little in common with the Modern Movement, little did he realise that it fully reflected his principles....")
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Cheers, Harvey
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HVS wrote:

After Pugin?

That's pretty safe when he isn't around to differ, eh? The spatially figurative approach is my default as well. All the way through school in the 80's they kept trying to paint me as a 'post-modernist' or an 'anti-modernist'since I wasn't a modernist, but I kept explaining that I was a 'pre-modernist' at heart. There was none of the irony of PoMo in me, nor the anachronism of Mod-haters. Now, of course I work in all manners....
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On 10 Mar 2008, Michael Bulatovich wrote

Yeah, pretty well. I'd say that Pugin's a good example of another one they co-opted into the "history that led to International Style". The only thing they arguably shared was a real and/or professed belief in honesty of form and materials -- but the differences far outweigh that commonality.
20th century modernism -- regardless of what its early proponents maintained -- belongs more closely to the line of Beaux Arts classicism than it does to neo-Gothic and arts and crafts.
(IMNSHO, of course.)

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HVS wrote:

That's an interesting proposition.... You have to the rigid top-down training, right down to presentational techniques, you have a codified compositional techniques, you have the zealous pursuit of pedagogical hegemony...lots of similarities once you stop looking at the designs visually. Have you or anyone else published along those lines?

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On 10 Mar 2008, Michael Bulatovich wrote

Not that I'm aware, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't a fairly common observation.
I recall discussing the viewpoint some years ago when asked to provide preliminary context/angles for a competitive entry for the V&A's retrospective on Pugin. (The company that brought me in didn't win the commission, but I don't think my input was remotely decisive.) ISTR they found it reasonable and interesting rather than ridiculous -- at least, as you say, the proposition doesn't collapse when you start thinking about it.
I'm pretty convinced that the reason the International Modernists co-opted the Pugin/Ruskin/Arts-and-Crafts tradition into their narrative is that (a) they *had* to: it was self-evidently excellent (and recent) work; and (b) they were fighting an internecine war which ruled out any acknowledgement that they and the detested Beaux Arts designers were cut from the same formalist cloth.
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HVS wrote:

It's the first time I've heard it. <blushes>

Another point of congruence was they both argued the 'morality' of their positions. That rhetoric was somewhat interchangeable, add the attitudes about 'craft/process' and the 'nature of materials' vis a vis form , which seem mainly technical issues in Neo-Classicism (as opposed to approaching the status of ideals), and you've got yourself a few grappling points to pull Vosey into the boat with you. Plus, there's the old saw about your enemy's enemy...
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I worked at TAC ( The Architects Collaborative) during the early and late 60's, and worked as a drafter with Gropius. Grope always included H.H.Richardson and Louis Sullivan when talking about "modern" architecture. (Seldom FLLW as they mutually disliked each other) His rational, as I recall, was the open floor plans. There was (and is) a magnificent Richardson house in Cambridge a couple blocks down the street that he referred to. I was a beginner, the master was speaking, I swallowed the line. I believe that Harvey's point is well taken. Grope was a teacher more than an architect, who gathered the believers around him to develop and spread the anointed word, and teachers are often dis-inclined to closely examine their own theories. EDS
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Michael Bulatovich wrote:

The problem iwth labels like PoMo is that they are reductive attempts to populaize small palettes of elements - What I found particularly irritating in PoMo, come to that, was its seeming insistence on bathroom tile colors of the 50s and coopted Deco decorative elements recast into a characature of buildings

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++ wrote:

IOW, the irony.
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Odd, there don't seem to be many images of his work online...
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