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If you are curious about this topic you should bring it up with some architects from different countries. From my understanding there are indeed regressions in building quality in some countries but it's not entirely clear what causes it other than decisions that have been made at the time.

In particular the brick did not decrease in quality but the way they were built did. For instance for a while people paid less attention to protecting buildings from water damage to achieve more interesting designs.

A particular crazy architectural style that suffers a lot from this is British brutalist architecture.




It's international thing. One of the original breeds of modernist architecture was even named "international style". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Style_%28archite...

I have a theory why it's like this. In 1800's architects we're often painters first. Their day job was to paint portraits and signs and whatever was ordered. There was quite lot of painters around, only few of them made "art" and only the best got to draw buildings. The architect would then work the design together with mason. Civil engineers of the time we're busy building railroads.

Then at the end of the century, photography happened. In hindsight it's called "the crisis of art!". Suddenly architects could no longer apprentice by painting stuff for customers. You needed a school for architecture. The teachers would of course be old architects, who hang out with painters. So they sucked that "we can't sell portraits anymore, let's go crazy!" attitude.

In the 1940's you still had some old school guys. During this time some factory owners still thought that paying an architect was investment. You got a factory that would sell your product, keep your employers happy and make you proud. Here is factory building from that period. http://torshammer.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Kabelfabrike...

Now architecture has not been based on anything for century. Or maybe seeping fashion trends of modern art. Most big money people use architect just to "pretty up" the facade of a building as afterthought. If even that. Nobody trusts architect to make anything coherent or beautiful.

At the same time architects need to jump on any opportunity to get some international fame. Because that's the only way you can ever succeed with such career. This breeds eccentricity. Which makes the whole thing worse.

To justify not using and architect, you might word that as "saving money". To be consistent with that, you cut costs in labor and materials. To the point of making actually bad buildings.


Brutalism gets everywhere in modern british arcitecture. The idea that any archtiect should be designing a flat foor bulding in, say, Scotland is totally bonkers.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Peter's_Seminary,_Cardross

It's a beautiful ruin, but it seems never to have been a properly functioning building. Artistic success, total waste of resources for church that built it.


Oh yes that's quite the nasty bit of concrete.


I would love to know the mindset and thought process of Brutalist architects and admirers who see that and see beauty whilst the majority of the rest of the world sees a broken down leaking eye sore.

We are so far apart it is like trying to understand and alien.

I have seen a scant handful of Brutalist building that I consider fine works of craft but the gob smacking majority are pitiful piles of concrete and exposed trusses.


I don't think I've ever seen a Brutalist building that I consider good. Worse still, stupid architects get them heritage listed so we can't even replace them with actually useful buildings (i.e. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cameron_Offices,_Belconnen)




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