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View Diary: An architect dies. His greatest building lives... for now. (43 comments)

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  •  Well, that explains it. (4+ / 0-)

    The purpose of government is NOT to bring order out of chaos.  Nature is order, par excellence.  
    The Boston City Hall is an imposition, a bureaucratic assemblage which gives the appearance of being disfunctional.  I haven't read any reviews of how the building works for the people using it.  But, from a pedestrian's perspective, a parking garage, whose form follows function is more inviting.  Indeed, the Milk Street garage, which is underground, with a real park above it, is an absolute delight in comparison.

    Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage"

    People to Wall Street, "let our money go."

    by hannah on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 05:22:40 AM PDT

    •  Windows, windows, look (6+ / 0-)

      I know someone who worked in there and they loved how so many offices had windows!

      I hate  the wind tunnell effect in winter, but love the clear view of modern and old with fanuiel hall visible, the plaza keeps the view to the sea...

      •  I've never been inside it, and to be honest, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, hannah, NYFM

        when I lived there had NO desire to go in. Interesting about the windows and view.

        •  Inside it gives me the same feeling (6+ / 0-)

          it gives me outside: Ceacescu would have loved it.

          Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Mrs. Romney: Fraud on Horse.

          by commonmass on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 05:48:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  LOLOL - good one!! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            hannah, Dave in Northridge

            I favor architects like HHRichardson, FLWright's early and mid career, Green and Green, and Jefferson.  I'm not a huge fan of Johnson, van der Rohe, or Le Corbusier.  Maybe it has something to do with how I was introduced to architecture..... ;-) We lived in southeastern Italy for 3.5 years, coming back to the US just after my 10th birthday.  We traveled throughout Europe those 3.5 years.  So, my introduction was Oria Castle, Rome, Venice, Paris, Munich, etc and that stuck with me.

            •  Architecture is really interesting. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NYFM, nchristine, SadieSue

              It is monumental art that is put to use.

              Knowing the history and the "rules of the game" can be really helpful in informing a response to buildings and the space they occupy. For myself, knowing about something can help me appreciate it even if my gut reaction is "hate this!" In fact, the more strongly I dislike a work of art/architecture/music, the more I want to know about it. It is like complex flavors that might be unappealing first off, but the more you taste, the more you appreciate and enjoy.

              For me, it is easy to like Classical architecture. It is a lot less easy to like Philip Johnson or Corbu. But architectural history puts those things in a context that opens them up to me.

              An architect student friend of mine took me on a tour of Manhattan in 1983 - he showed me all the famous buildings and talked about them - historically and personally - and opened my eyes to appreciation of the glass sky scraper, as well as gave me the tools to evaluate the good ones from the bad ones from a design perspective.

              There isn't much romance in a Modernist structure. There isn't meant to be. However, I look back at Modernist architecture and feel a lot of nostalgia and romance about that time in design thinking. Some of those structures are absolutely beautiful, but the beauty is intellectual and detached.

              And I LOVE Ronchamp (Notre Dame du Haut). Have you been there? It is really special.

              •  No, never been there. The parents thought (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                badscience, NYFM

                Notre Dame and the Lourve in Paris were more important.

                I understand the history of 'modern' architecture and the reasonings behind the buildings.  My bachelor's degree is in Architecture, 1988.  I can appreciate many of the modern buildings in a design and historical context, but my heart doesn't connect there.

                •  You should go. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  nchristine, NYFM

                  It is unusually wonderful. :-)

                  I am a "connecter with the mind" rather than with the heart, so for me a connection with the Parthenon, a Baroque cathedral and a modernist office building is in the same brain-space. That is probably weird for most people to consider, since they are so different and affect people's emotions quite differently.

                  •  No, it's not weird. It's a different way of (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Prof Haley, badscience, NYFM

                    looking at things.  I almost see 'modern' vs 'old' as a metaphore of machine (modern - mass produced) and man (old - done by hand) and I know a lot of it is because of how I was introduced to art and architecture.  Metaphore may not be the right word though....

                    •  I kinda live in my head (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      which perplexes a lot of people. As an artist, it has certainly shaped the kind of art I do! Which is generally formal and heady. :-D

                      I am really interested in places where machine and hand come together (printmaking, photography, art and technology). Certainly architecture is the place where the hand and the machine came together early and profoundly! Couldn't have made any monumental architecture without machines, elemental as they were. Also, too, many many workers (serfs, slaves, etc).

          •  I know what you mean. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            hannah, NYFM, nchristine, SadieSue

            There are such buildings littering most cities in the US.

            These kinds of civic structures seem to be insensitive to their human occupants, but you can only really discern that as a user of the inside and outside of the structure; never having used it other than a thoroughfare, I can't comment on its usability, only its impact on me from without.

            Interestingly, Frank Lloyd Wright, generally beloved (although by all accounts a real jerk to work with), had great disdain for his human users and his designs are not know for their usability; quite the opposite. However, he generally understood human scale (on the shorter end since he used himself as the ideal human and he was not tall) and also emotion, so even his more modernist creations were never soulless.

            When I compare this structure to a lot of contemporary architecture it is clear that there is a very organized understanding of its purpose within the history of civic places (although it fails to achieve its goal), as well as formal considerations, where it succeeds as a piece of structural abstraction. The photographs, none of which are about people or use, but rather the presentation of a formal structure, make clear that successes.

            My father, a landscape architect with great sensitivity to architecture, really enjoyed the space on that Sunday as we walked around a largely empty Boston in search of a bakery. Which we eventually found, because that man also has an uncanny skill at finding baked goodies anywhere he might be placed. :-) But he enjoyed it as an abstraction and talked about it in formal, not "living," terms.

      •  Everyone that I have known (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        to have worked there hated it. Too hot, too cold, poor air handling, impossible to reconfigure or modify interior spaces.

        The building is an brutal edifice that discounts the very city and people it is supposed to serve. That it destroyed the West End makes it all the worse.

        The fact that once every couple of years a sports team gets to have a rally there is a small consolation.

    •  You're mixing the two arguments. (3+ / 0-)

      Government indeed brings order to society- I think we can all agree on that.  It's why the neanderthals in the tea party want to dismantle it.

      The argument you object to (and I don't disagree) is the Hellenic/Classical notion of man conquering nature- the white temple on the hill top.  In architecture this is the western philosophy.  In the East, most notably Japan, man is seen living in harmony with nature.  This is the concept Frank Lloyd Wright built his life and career on.

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