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View Diary: When Architecture Kills (90 comments)

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  •  Vitruvius is still the best guide... (4.00)
    The relentless inhumanity of Modernism, its associate movements, and their adherents are what drove me out of architecture altogether.

    I have always stuck by the writings of Vitruvius, the first to codify the practice of architecture, as a guide to what constitutes 'good' architecture.

    Using Vitruvius as a guide, we are shown that good architecture considers and complements its surroundings. These structures are sited in healthy environs and built to last many years. They are also designed to please the mind, body, and spirit of its inhabitants.

    It is ironic how these basic precepts are ignored by many architects practicing today. This is likely due to the state of architectural education - no other field exhibits the 'ivory tower academic' stereotype so strongly.

    Ironically, Vitruvius tells us that the architect MUST have broad, practical knowledge of the world and the people around him. Speaking from first hand experience, this type of knowledge is sorely lacking in many architects.

    •  So, the Chrysler Building is worthless? The (4.00)
      Awanee Hotel in Yosemite is dust? Machu Piccu is not worth seeing? The Robie house is not one of the most famous in the world?
      •  I suspect the diarist (none)
        is motly referring to International Style Modernisn, rather than  the Moderne or Wright's stuff.

        "You'd like that shit...it's all political and morose."

        by Miss Devore on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 06:16:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Indeed (none)
          Yes, but I've also come to see a bit of a deeper problem with modernist architecture when applied on a larger scale.

          An inferior knock-off of traditional architecture more often than not yields a ho-hum building. An inferior copy of modernist architecture tends to be really inferior, as in gnaw your own leg off bad ;)

          •  What would (none)
            Virtuvius say about this Gothic confection?

            •  I love that one (none)
              The lobby is mindblowing.

              We used to live in a house in St. Paul that was designed by Cass Gilbert in his early years.

              Perhaps some mighty victory is growing in you now. - Mike Finley

              by hrh on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 07:58:30 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Then you know the four sculptures (none)
                at the ceiling, one of which is F.W. himself. Rumor has it that there is a nickel and dime in the hand of hte sculpture.

                It may no longer be possilbe, but you sould get out onto the +/- 40th floor setback through a window in one of the stair wells. A friend and I happened upon it, and was very cool to be outside at such a height in downtown. Cass Gilbert also designed the Boston and Detroit Public Libraries.

                •  cool! (none)
                  Another building with a spectacular lobby that I adore is the Fred French Building on 45th and 5th - the neighborhood where I grew up.

                  I admire the multicolored terracotta friezes that decorate the facade, too.  Nobody does stuff like that anymore.

                  Perhaps some mighty victory is growing in you now. - Mike Finley

                  by hrh on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 08:19:07 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Lobby? You MUST climb thru a window... (none)
                    to reach the setback roof. Don't get too close to the edge if you are scared of heights!
                    •  that would be a great tour (none)
                      "Climbing Through Windows of NYC Landmarks".

                      I have always wanted to explore the top of 230 Park Avenue  What's up there?  Do you know?  Besides pigeon shit, of course.

                      Perhaps some mighty victory is growing in you now. - Mike Finley

                      by hrh on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 08:33:58 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Not sure that I would have the quijones (none)
                        to try the metal roof, but that lantern looks large enough to host a small party.

                        It would be a lot of fun to hang with some maintenance folks and see things not normally seen.

                      •  I should add that (none)
                        when I was a stoner highschool kid, we loved to visit job sites at night. It began on a small scale, houses and condo projects. It evolved to us walking a plank to get to the tower crane (during a snow storm of course). I love job sites. I love talking to the workmen and women, and watching how things come together, and learning how not to make the same mistake again.

                        Bet you can't guess one of my favorite books!

                        •  what's the book? do tell! (none)
                          I enjoy job sites too.  I love seeing things get built.  When I was at the WTC, my job had to do with office construction and space planning for my firm - working with the architects, engineers and construction contractors.  We built office space for 300 people including a couple of trading floors.  Then just when we were almost done with that, the company changed its mind, so we moved out of the WTC and into a different building across Broadway, and all of that had to be built out to our specs.  It was a cool job.

                          In NY, did you ever meet any of the Native American construction guys?  They're mostly from upper NY State and come down to work in the trades, primarily steel construction (their traditional specialty) but not exclusively.  They're very interesting people.  I got to know one who was called "Chief" - fullblooded Mohawk with black hair down to his waist.  He looked like he came out of a movie.  Quite a guy.

                          Perhaps some mighty victory is growing in you now. - Mike Finley

                          by hrh on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 08:17:27 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

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