For the same reasons that you need to go to an artisinal bakery to get handmade bread today, you cannot get anything with significant ornament in it without paying enormously. Industrial bakeries are far more efficient so only a select few can afford to pay for good bread, and so there are far fewer individual bakers, and they're more expensive because there's less demand - they can't make it up on volume. It's the same with artisans.
My father was a plasterer in his 20s, and worked with old men who did the ceiling decorations in the British Embassy in Dublin. But they were the last of their kind, because nobody wanted that any more. And now they're all dead.
Richly decorated edifices could be risen today, but they're far more expensive, and thus we can't afford to roll the dice and end up with a bunch of good buildings by process of survival. Instead, everything is mediocre and designed to amortise to zero value within a few decades, to be torn down and built again, not better, merely different.
[Footnote on Wright] If you happen to be taller than 5'8 when visiting a Wright building (like myself), bend your knees until you are at that eye-level to appreciate the full experience. https://wrightchat.savewright.org/viewtopic.php?t=8915
I usually find that extremely ugly. It is simple to do, and there are heaps of examples around, but it is usually done into a flat rectilinear surface so doesn’t add much beauty. Forms are often repetitive, but even when the pattern varies over the complete surface it usually lacks any real style IMHO.
Which is about when ornamentation started to become undesirable. The arts and craft movement was itself a kick-back against mass production of ornamentation as it cheapened buildings. Not everyone could afford hand crafted buildings. They sought to create a distinction between 'rich' handcrafted building and 'poor' mass produced.
Notice that word.. cheapened. Even the very words we have themselves underlie the reasons why we find these things desirable. Once everyone could have ornamentation, it was no longer valued.. just like potatoes.
Other things that cemented the shift away from the ornamentation and spacial characteristics of pre-arts and craft architecture were, in some order (and lets ignore cathedrals and such because a. they are still handmade, and at about the same rate as in previous eras b. they are not typical of any building in any sense and they never have been c. we only love the ones that we never knocked down):
1. plumbing (you can greatly increase the size of buildings if it take less than ten minutes to find a tap or a toilet, and you can stop them buring down easier)
2. artifical lighting and heating (most buildings were configured entirely to capture and distribute light and heat)
3. the spanish flu (the dramatic and sudden push for modernist buildings came directly out of the tail end of the flu, and after a few decades of other rampant illnesses related to buildings.. typhoid, tuberculosis, etc and as the wealthy were exposed to modern hospitals - devoid of fireplaces, dust catching ornament, and with clean white ceramic finishes - and their brethren mountain spa wellness retreats)
4. cost (turns out that non-ornamental mass production is even cheaper than ornamental mass production)
5. speed of deisgn and construction (it doesn't matter how lovely your handcrafted building is, if I can build twenty others in the same time frame)
Now that with modern fabrication we can produce effortless modernist buildings, they are no longer valued. So people inevitably push back against devaluation, and that which cannot be devalued is taht which cannot be remade. Like the hipsters of the same era, they look to the past with its stories and promises of cultural supremacy. And they forget all the small steps that led us to this point. Preferring instead to dream of an era that never existed, but in its historical survival.
Everyone hates Eisenman's buildings. But we only know this because they existed.
The problem is not that there is some magical loss of essence when something is made by a machine, it is that mass market products in the West prioritize looks over function: strawberries that are the size of eggs and taste like cardboard, bread that is white and puffy but mostly air and mush, milk that is pure white and tastes like chalk water.
And in our industry, UI that look amazing on video and images but reduce your productivity to that of a brain damaged chimp.
The problem isn't that things are machine made, it is that we are making the wrong things because the wrong things look better in ads.
Classical music went through a similar phase, but now the repertory is conservative as ever. Why? In part because atonal music on traditional instruments is just as labor intensive!!
You can produce simple forms with moldings, but worse, you produce generic forms.
But to me, none of this matters. Kentuck Knob is just such a lovely building, and Fallingwater... Fallingwater is a breathtaking masterpiece, there are no words to describe this feeling. During my first visit, I turned around to give it one last look and literally wept.
Wright achieved great mastery in terms of his structural engineering - two great examples are his Johnson Wax building with the "mushroom" columns that were radically stronger than any were willing to believe (a destruction test was used to prove it at the time - concrete construction being very new (post Romans that is)  and his Falling Water house where he used the mass of the house to provide a counter balance to the great cantilevering terraces and novel new reinforced construction techniques. The contractor for Falling water had no real experience with this new reinforced concrete construction, and apparently did not build according to the detailed plan as they assumed it would simply fall down once forms were removed. Wright had to personally go to the site and knock down the last supporting column of the great cantilevered terrace as no one was willing to be the one to destroy the house. Although it did not collapse, it did sag over the decades because of the construction flaws, and has been recently repaired to have full intended strength 
In the context of this discussion on ornamentation and philosophy in architecture, that Wright's execution was lacking is somewhat irrelevant.
His schools have had issues, because the schools were meant to be sandboxes for the students to get real world experience, and try things which may or may not work. The fact that the schools have become landmarks after his death has nothing to do with Wright's design philosophies.
If you look at Wright's own house, it incorporates lots of clever ideas in terms of engineering more rugged forms which will hold up over time (like molding profiles that are designed to be coped from multiple directions to keep joints in place, and stained glass patterns that lend themselves to 'hiding' extra reinforcement on one side where the structure will be invisible to the beholder, for example).
Here are my pics of his house when I went through it last time I was in Chicago. I tried to get as many such above examples as possible...
First, 'Industrialisation' also implies a fairly capitalist attitude towards everything and ornamentation may be costly in that context.
Second, labour used to be 'cheap and plentiful', or rather, power was so concentrated, that the people who built such buildings could 'afford' the ornamentation (or maybe compel their serf-like workers to do it). And they cared about it because 'class' was a different thing altogether way back when.
Third, ornamentation in many areas is still very expensive. To ornament, a building of any size would require designers, workers, and a lot of time and many. 'Some' products could be ornamentalized, but others, far less so. Suppose you built an office building with nice domed interior, and you wanted to have it 'ornamented' like a Cathedral. I wager it would be expensive.
The masons that utilized these ornamental techniques no longer seem to exist in even moderate quantities.
As the article shows, lots of architectural ugliness isn't cost-saving at all. It costs extra and makes the buildings less usable
Sometimes it costs a lot extra and is much less usable. https://thetech.com/2010/03/19/statasuit-v130-n14
Ironically, look at Rosslyn Chapel--it was basically falling apart until The DaVinci Code caused enough tourism that they had enough revenue to repair it.
Especially in the 'new world' it'd be hard for a culturally aware 'rich man' to even know what to build because often the context doesn't exist.
If you want to build something traditional in downtown Stockholm, you have a few choices.
If design is a 'language' - many areas literally don't have a language other than the functional. So the creative aspects end up being ... 'whatever'.
I'm pretty sure that, for example, most places in Switzerland has some pretty strict rules for what you can build.
or maybe it is just my bias, working in consumer apps...
I don't think this is entirely true. A lot of the most hideous (in my opinion) modern buildings look like they actually spent money looking horrible. They have contorted structures that seem to be screaming out "I could fall over at any moment" which must rely heavily on load-bearing frames. Their "brutally honest" concrete often looks like it does nothing more than providing an ugly facade, and creating more work for a hidden steel skeleton.
I think there's two separate complaints - first that cheap modern buildings are cheap, functional (as long as they hold up), and ugly. Think Stalinist city blocks. Second, the modern showpieces are even worse, actively going out of their way to look horrible, like some Stalinist government buildings.
It's not the fault of architects if private companies want to build cheap square feet for cubicles or cheap apartments. Maybe the public could regulate against it, but that's only going to happen if they trust architects to do a better job with more money.
But when architects do have a bit of money to waste on making a building look good, I think they're often pressured to make something original. Previous designs had evolved over maybe thousands of years, of course they are much better, just try drawing a totally original concept for a car that other people won't think is cringey. There's also more time pressure - presumably older designers had far more time for planning (a king can wait a little before a new cathedral is built, a mayor can't wait till the next election). And while new materials and techniques can make new things possible, those things are not always attractive to people who spent their early childhood stacking bricks (so anything relying too heavily on tension just instinctively feels like a disaster waiting to happen).
The 'bread' you get in the Anglosphere is a crime against humanity. Not because it is machine made, but because it comes with a philosophy: looks matter more than taste.
Meanwhile Eastern Europe still uses the old soviet factory bread and the thing tastes like manna when you get it fresh.
It's not as if these issues aren't discussed in architecture. And there are definitely weird pathologies and pomposities in architecture (as in any field), which manifest themselves in a variety of unpleasant ways. But this doesn't mean all we have is ugly buildings; we also have new, playful, and enjoyable buildings as well.
Another HN comment this morning (on a different post) brought up Postel's law and how it is usually both misunderstood and overused. The same applies to "a house is a machine for living" or "form follows function": they can be taken as an excuse to ignore the person, or as a call for: make sure the person's needs are at the centre of the design.
A case of both skill and pathology: One of my homes was designed by an architect and one simply built by a developer. The developer house is adequate. The architect-designed house was a lot more expensive but is also a lot more pleasant to live in. But speaking to those pathologies: it needed a lot of interaction with the architect to make sure it didn't get our of control on design (I'm sure we've all seen this in software too). I think this is why so many corporate buildings end up so sucky: many cooks, complex constraints, and in the end the architect has too much control.
A house is a machine for living, not merely existing.
Form follows function, and that function is to get out of the way of the occupants and allow them to be happy and productive in the places they live and work.
Ultimately, it is a failure of education. Architects will give each other awards and design contracts according to what they were taught, and they are taught crap. It is self perpetuating, as they teach the next class the kind of crap they were inculcated in.
Probably your architect was obliged to make snide remarks over drinks about what he had to put up with doing your house (which I haven't seen, only heard described). I liked the barn.
Post WWI we see architecture completely incapable of producing stuff ordinary people like. In fact it would appear the opposite, architects secretly revel in designing stuff ordinary people hate.
Yet there was an explosion of high quality popular music. Probably the most productive 100 years in history.
These are two sides of the same coin! Both are the result of radical reinvention caused by new and strange circumstances.
Brutalist architects did not set out to make things people would hate. They set out to make habitable spaces that put people first - that residents would love - that prioritised the resident over the casual viewer. They sought novel and sometimes dramatic ways to achieve this in a context of rapidly improving technology but limited funding.
They failed a lot of the time, but I think it's quite unfair to say that they revelled in designing stuff people would hate - they were trying to do an honest job of hard things, the importance of which hadn't always been widely acknowledged before.
In my interpretation of this history, the architect is definitely on the same side as your musician.
The curious part is why the public took against the architect, but (eventually at least - it took much of a generation) accepted the musician. Obviously the architectural idea failed, at least to some extent. I don't know whether it failed in practice (producing buildings that were no use) or in communication (producing buildings that were an improvement, but that other people found unusual and offputting to look at). Perhaps both, but from what I've heard the 60s Brutalist flat is generally no worse to live in than its 1980s postmodernist or 1860s Peabody counterparts.
Popular architecture is about land and status, not sculpted living space, and the populist solution is to give people an experience of land ownership - even if it's vicarious. The Garden City movement attempted this with some success, but the political problem is that land is an expensive commodity, and there was no way that kind of low density housing was ever going to be available on a mass scale.
And consider that before modernism, most housing was appalling. No one loves the flats built in the UK during the 60s, but they replaced slums which were cold, damp, smoky, and very cheaply built, and often lacked even the most basic plumbing.
There's a lot to hate about modernism (and its descendants) - not least that bare concrete looks absolutely fucking awful in a rainy and cloudy climate. But it makes no sense to compare hyper-expensive hand-crafted Victorian homes of rich elites and high-status civic projects with modern worker housing or utilitarian office spaces.
The fact that high-status civic projects - libraries, transport hubs, town halls - are (mostly) not being built any more, but trophy skyscrapers are, is a political issue, not an architectural one.
There is a fashion for unpleasant music in certain quarters, but people's access to music has never been as "gatekept" as are decisions about public architecture.
One other thought. I think for a long time buildings were built to order by the people and business that used them. Now most stuff is built to rent out. Or as public works.
Just remember friend who works for a wealthy person who had a new office built. It's rather nice. But he went through three architects and had to fight with the last one over a bunch of stuff. My friend thinks the architect intentionally made the alcove that holds his file cabinets slightly too small to retaliate against him.
If you want to see utilitarian built by the dweller, visit locations where there is no oversight for building: favelas. Purely utilitarian built with tight budgets.
Even the relatively good stuff stands alone and is, at best, aggressively indifferent towards its surroundings.
Kunstler wrote a good book on it:
(and several less-good follow up books)
This is a common feature of notable critics, probably because it is far easier to criticize than to solve problems. It's far easier to point out why the suburbs suck than to design and advocate effectively for alternatives that address the same needs that the suburbs try to address.
BTW I think your critique is actually deeper than Kunstler's in that it gets to the totalitarian underpinnings of this type of high modernism. People seem to mistakenly associate high modernism with the enlightenment when it's more of a return to pre-enlightenment authoritarianism.
High modernism is a secular materialist version of divine right of kings, with baroque religious theories replaced with opulent displays of indifferent wealth and with sterility replacing aesthetic grandeur as a display of power. The latter may be because aesthetic indifference serves today as a more effective display of power than baroque over-done aesthetics with gold leaf and curlicues.
I recall him in 2012 saying that the aviation industry would be history by 2018... that clearly didnt pan out. The theory was reasonable but the time frame was wildly out of whack.
“ It should be obvious to anyone that skyscrapers should be abolished. After all, they embody nearly every bad tendency in contemporary architecture: they are not part of nature, they are monolithic, they are boring, they have no intricacy, and they have no democracy. Besides, there is plenty of space left on earth to spread out horizontally; the only reasons to spread vertically are phallic and Freudian.”
Freudian is bad. Somehow, phallic is also bad, despite a good portion of the populace toting one around and a non-trivial portion of the rest enjoying the company of one every so often. And of course there is space to spread out horizontally, which we call urban sprawl; people complain about that as well. I ... do not understand how buildings may or may not be democratic, or of a republic, or anything else.
And I go backward through the paragraph just wondering what it is I am missing.
One of these cities is ideal for the automobile. It is spread out, to avoid creating traffic bottlenecks. This sprawl is further exaggerated to make room for parking. Unfortunately, personal cars are exclusionary because of cost and necessary license restrictions.
What's worse, sprawled, car-friendly cities are unfriendly to pedestrians and public transit. You get bus stops that are simultaneously too few and too many (a bunch of stops with only one passenger). A city full of skyscrapers is terrible for cars, because your roads clog up whenever the drivers try to enter or leave (welcome to LA!) but it's great to pedestrians, because you get so much available in a short walking distance.
A particularly egregious example of overhorizontalization would be Robert Moses’ drive to have people commute into NYC by car from Long Island. While, yes, there tends to be more greenery out there, I would contend this clashes with the author’s “harmony with nature” principle by driving an extreme increase in the reliance on fossil fuels, as well as the “make people happy” principle by lengthening commutes as compared to the higher population density permitted with vertical building.
There are beautiful and ugly new buildings. In 1000 years time only the beautiful buildings from this era will have survived and we'll be talking about why the buildings of today are nowhere near as nice.
Consider this view as a thought experiment: say every Norman cathedral was beautiful. Maybe some were inspired and some were pedestrian, some were less beautiful because of the locally-available stone, some had long delays in construction and ended up with a mishmash of styles. Or whatever. You could filter them by appeal, or randomly, or any other method, and still end up with a bunch of beautiful buildings. Whereas it's not clear that any brutalist concrete cube will withstand the test of time. GIGO.
Its perhaps too large of a building for my liking, and it feels a little bit "minecraft" with seemingly unsupported cubic shapes, but it also has a nice focus on human scale details that make it actually interesting to be in and around.
Some brutalist buildings must be left standing as a warning for future generations.
What is here was dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger.
The danger is in a particular location... it increases towards a center... the center of danger is here... of a particular size and shape, and below us.
The danger is still present, in your time, as it was in ours.
The article points to several casual ideologies in architecture which contribute to this.
Perhaps you meant that inferior or cheaper schools of architecture co-existed with the prestigious architecture of their time. That is less controversial (and is also true today, mercifully.)
The soviet bunker that is Dunelm House itself though. Bring on the day of its demolition. Please let me push the plunger and set off the explosives.
For starters, the nice modernist building is not a hospital anymore. And partly due to the reason of architecture. While nice to look at, it was not terribly practical. Staircases between different wings meant that they had to transfer sometimes people with ambulance within the hospital. And sometimes even seconds matter.
I love my house and all those stories came true.
But: My architect considers herself to be in Le Corbusier's school of thought. She understands that sleek lines and honest materials can serve human stories.
It used to be relatively cheap to build extremely beautiful buildings because labour was cheap.
Also,some cities have some sort of planning panel,where people can and do try to steer architecture certain way,so there wouldn't be pink windowless office buildings in an old town built 400 years ago and etc.But that's not in every city.
And the last bit is we just need to admit that the king is naked sometimes: there are shit architects and shit designers who, by some magic stroke of luck, ended up in positions that allowed them to create those awful things no questions asked.They wouldn't be allowed anywhere near anything creative related in an alternative world.
There are also practical needs, functions that follow the form, that are no less important than minimizing walking, like the convenience and cost reduction of putting a lot of travellers in the same huge terminal and if possible in the same huge hall, with one subway station, one customs funnel, and so on.
I find it really hard to believe people dislike modern architecture; the problem with building something with fine adornments today is they end up looking extremely cheap and fake, we are capable of building clean crisp forms in ways not possible before and providing spaces that function much better at their purposes today than we were in the past. The article is sentimental about the old buildings and we can be inspired by them, but modern architecture like Taipei 101 or the Burj Khalifa just blows me away as spectacles of what science and engineering have accomplished.
Creating something that looks like the Taj Mahal today would just look hokey and seem extremely dysfunctional for its intended use. Each to their own but I’m a big fan.
(In particular I'm surprised that the article picks on Alexandra Road estate in London - it's lovely in real life, and it answers a difficult problem as well, namely how to use a road just behind a railway track. Also, while the old Penn Station which the article praises looks kind of amazing in the pics, it's not exactly human scale is it? It'd surely have been just as shivery and daunting in real life as any Soviet edifice)
I had been hoping that the answer to "Why you hate contemporary architecture" would be something about your age. Brutalism has become popular with many people of my age (I'm almost 50) but I don't think it was a widely popular style when it was new. The test for me is going to be postmodernism. I don't really like it, because it's about frivolous decoration, but it's going to be venerated by a younger generation just as Brutalism is by mine. Will I be able to understand that?
A brutalist skyscraper would look oppressive and imposing, towering above you like a Vogon ship about to demolish your planet to build a hyperspace lane. A brutalist house, however - while maybe not the most inviting place ever - looks simple and easy to maintain, a space you don't have to look after so that you can spend more time looking after yourself.
I agree with the article where it says that some brutalist buildings would be entirely livable if there was some greenery, however. A place that allows you to look after yourself means nothing it it doesn't also provide the tools to help you achieve that goal, and access to nature has time and time again proven to benefit mental health for worldweary citydwellers, and as someone who suffers with clinical depression, I can very much vouch for the benefits of getting out of the four walls.
This is kind of my point though - Nature is like that. A daunting slab of concrete has a lot in common with a cliff face. An empty, open expanse of concrete is like the rocky hillside. Both are more like "the world" than a regular repetition of patterns in brick rising to two storeys high set off with a tiled roof.
(Perhaps that's why they're offputting to people - too much like the unfiltered natural world, not enough comfortable regularisation.)
There's no equivalent of the forest (the default natural covering for most of the world) in any of these forms of architecture, but it's not like it's any worse in the Brutalist model.
I'd like to reiterate that I like brutalism, I'm just trying to convey that I think its very easy to overdo when you only consider the macro scale of a project.
But thats the part of it that makes so freaking cool! I love it, the cold, the quietness of it, makes me feel like I can breathe
Some of the buildings in that article were revolting. That big white one with chunks for windows looks so childish and uninspiring.
> Brutalism has become popular with many people of my age.
Has it really? Have you lived in any of the places you mentioned and consider nice? That has always been a better test than going by people's expressed opinions.
In Brazil it is quite easy to find people that praise Oscar Niemeyer's work, but none of them actually live in Brasilia - and I am yet to see a catholic that has any good thing to say about Rio de Janeiro's Cathedral.
> Has it really? Have you lived in any of the places you mentioned and consider nice?
I can't afford to. I do know people who live in the Barbican estate, at least, and who love it.
But it's a good question and I think quite right. My remark does sort of exhibit the same mistake that Brutalism was supposed to avoid - using public appreciation of aesthetic quality as a proxy for lived quality. And I also see that I'm praising the expensive, ambitious, now-unaffordable projects, not the ones that were "problematic" and then blown up, like Red Roads (in Glasgow) or Heygate (in London).
2. Crap buildings get torn down before beautiful buildings.
This article brings up many examples of modern crap, but ignores the fact that most of that crap will not be painstakingly conserved for centuries to come, as many of the good examples shown have been. There do exist examples of beautiful modern architecture.
The article also makes some valid points, such as how modern architects seem to be highly reluctant to use ornate details. The reason may be simple economics. The modern international bidding process heavily favours architects who can deliver a beautiful building for less money. Ornate details may please the eye, but they are undeniably expensive.
Some cities have started mandating a certain percentage of any public project be spent on art, but that art is often an afterthought. They'll build a utilitarian overpass and then regulations will force them to put up a hideous and overpriced sculpture in the middle of a pedestrians nightmare. The only people who will ever see it are whizzing past at 80 kph.
We have the will to make the places we live in more beautiful, but how can we better quantify beauty and find ways to fit it into city budgets? I feel that a system flexible enough to say, "Yes, scrap the sculpture and do the funky masonry." is a system in which ornateness could return.
Take Le Corbusier, the "Cité Radieuse" in Marseille is actively maintained and considered with an almost sacred status by the partisans of this kind of design.
This is a fucking ugly building that should have been destroyed decades ago, in my opinion, but I have a very strong bias against anything related to this style of design.
I wish gargoyles would return.
I was in Munich some years back, and noticed a stone dragon climbing up the side of a building. Now that was cool!
The article did bring up some good points about how the sentiments of people using the buildings should be taken into account during the design process.
I really enjoyed their take on how democracy should be treated in architecture. It feels profound beyond the scope of architecture itself, and something that society has been playing with in recent decades - e.g. panchayat government in India  and decentralized governance and decision making as embodied by various blockchains.
I'm not sure they were actually so revulsed as much as whipping up indignation to sell an article. I don't think aesthetics was really what it was about at all.
Also if you want large amounts of detail, expect to pay for that either directly in lots of money, or in considerable unjust exploitation of a craftsman underclass.
(I also detest articles that say what YOU want or what YOU feel).
Not now but they were. Now they would cost a lot more than than, so ...
> The stone decorations of mediaeval cathedrals were very expensive. Modern architecture avoids decoration partly to avoid expense.
... was exactly my point. It costs money.
Brutalist architecture. The word actually has little to do with adjective "brutal". It's derived from French "brut", meaning "raw", as in "raw concrete".
Personally, I like details, but I don't like clutter. If it's complexity I have to maintain myself, I don't want it.
Not sure if it's practical and I definitely did not see anyone implementing it. But that would definitely reflect my personality in some way.
A grey box is ugly, and even disfunctional if the function of housing humans is any different from the function of storing items.
But a grey box may also be a canvas, which ends up being the very opposite of ugly and dead and inhumane.
One of the great appeals of the loft/industrial thing is the space is reconfigurable at will. You can have very inventive and artistic weird beds hanginging from chains at novel elevations and producing interesting spaces underneath, curtains for divisions that move around and can be opened to make a big open space one day and cozy spaces the next.
There is no single form that is really the one true best form. The ability to change is more soul-filling than anything.
It's not practical and most people can't afford to have 3 homes where one is all cozy spaces that feel like a claustrophobic rat warren after a while, and another that is all clean sterile Ikea which is a refreshing break from the rat warren for a while and then feels sterile and un-fulfilling after a while... one perfectly valid approach is an empty space, but empty for the sake of it's configurability, not for the sake of the emptiness itself.
No clutter, simple, minimal. Time-tested and completely unlike contemporary architecture.
To me, the message of that building is vividly clear: all the concrete enclosed windows are perfect places to put machine guns to mow down protestors in the plaza when america finally goes dictator.
The result still looks like shit, but the engineering is amazing.
Do you know what would be really depressing? If that spaceship never left the ground.
I live on Earth, please don't build spaceships for me to live and work in while I'm down here.
In defense of the Montparnasse building, it has a good view from the top, because you see everything except for the Montparnasse building.
Furthermore, something that the author does not address is the movement in contemporary architecture to carefully consider the practical effect of building design on the people within it. For example, how the flow of people is directed by the building, how the layout can help its occupants interact with each other, how interior walls can support privacy or erode it, and how to cater the response to these concerns to the function of the building. This is the opposite of the approach in Eisenman's house design mentioned in the article.
I prefer this older aesthetic, but I think I couldn't afford it. My one idea is to build with CLT and keep wood exposed both in and outside (with proper thermal insulation in the middle). That way it's cheap, but with this warm feeling of wood.
Should we design buildings, that people use and see everyday, only for an elite to appreciate it ? I don't have the answer.
> Our goal is to help everyone make our neighborhoods places of belonging, places of health and well-being, and places where people will want to live and work. This has become possible through the use of Generative Codes, Christopher Alexander's latest work in the effort to make possible conception and construction of living, beautiful communities that have real guts -- not the sugary sweetness of pseudo-traditional architecture.
> The tools offered are intended for the use of ordinary people, families, communities, developers, planners, architects, designers and builders; public officials, local representatives, and neighbors; business owners and people who have commercial interests. The processes here are expressed in the belief that the common-sense, plain truth about laying out a neighborhood, or repairing one, is equally valid for all comers, amateurs and professionals. They help people build or rebuild neighborhoods in ways that contribute something to their lives. Many of the tools have their origin in 30 years of work published in Alexander's The Nature of Order.
His whole idea was that people should design and build their own buildings and towns. He kind of repudiates the whole process of modern architecture and construction.
I know it's not "cool", but I'll take Toronto's glass over New York's filthy gargoyles, any day. I don't even understand how people can have such opposite taste.
The same goes for cars: Bangle-butt was not the response to jellybeaned cars we were looking for.
"No. That's how you know it's a roof!"
The arrogance on display is profoundly human.
We've added 1.8 billion humans to the world in the last 20 years. That statistic is too large for our tiny brains to grapple but it cannot be ignored. We need buildings for those people to live and work in. Continuing to maintain cities a density appropriate to the 1800s/1900s is irresponsible.
No city is a zoo to preserve what life looked like 100 years ago. They are places for people to live today.
City densities were higher in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Paris itself has lost about 700,000 people since its 1921 population peak.
If housing people is your goal, you should build lots of low- to mid-rise buildings, say between 5 and 10 floors. This size of building is able to achieve the highest densities per cost using current construction techniques.
Build lower and you over-allocate and waste land. Build higher and the marginal cost of another floor rises quickly. There's a reason commercial buildings are the tallest: workers need less space working than they do living at home. High-rise residences are not economical unless people have very small apartments, which brings along its own problems.
And why did we stop building new cities? It's cheaper than destroying and rebuilding old cities.
That said, once you've read it, you will forever find the flaming garbage dump that is contemporary architecture severely wanting. These days, and architect could almost be summarized as someone who designs buildings and hates people.
You are at least more limited in the ways a traditional stone/brick/wood construction can be bad.
Prophecy: 3D printing rescues architecture, allowing a Renaissance of aesthetically pleasing buildings to retire the swath of overgrown Legos besetting us.
Only very few people hate modernism, and they can have all the warts they want. Even C++ or perl.
Might as well advocate for soviet's Stalinkas, just plaster some ornaments and plants on them!
The whole point of contemporary culture is that we finally have the technological, creative and cultural freedom to experiment and create new things.
I'm sure for X amount of people that dislike this there are same amount of people who love it.