PlymSpotter
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Your View On Architecture?

Thu Oct 05, 2006 1:13 am

Currently one of the topics that I am covering on my university course is Modernism and the style architecture that it lead to, specifically I'm interested in people's opinions of Brutalist as well as Modernist architecture.







Is it time for these post war constructions to be demolished? Many such as the countless tower blocks to be found in cities around Britain and across Europe are associated with a decline in their resident's sense of community and a downwards spiral towards social deprivation. In many places they replaced the endless rows of terraced worker's houses, which were at the time regarded as slums; but do you think this was a good thing, or was it a waste of time as many of these towers are now just slums in the sky - and which of the two evils is worst?

On the contrary though, do we need to protect more of these buildings from destruction? Perhaps there will come a time in the future when we look back at the recent demolition binge and wonder why we tore down countless examples of this unique and perhaps even visionary style of architecture. Take for instance Trellick Tower by Erno Goldfinger in London which is one of the best examples of its kind and is protected by Grade 2 listed buildings status. Its also one of the success stories, although it has a troubled past, and I think that it is important that this building is protected so that future generations can experience its style for themselves, more importantly, it's a part of our history.


Trellick Tower

Perhaps to bring things into perspective, do you think that in 30 or 40 years time we will be saying the same thing about our current architectural styles? Will we look back upon such buildings as the Gherkin in London as a huge leap forwards in design and technical ability, or will we be asking ourselves what were the architects thinking when it was designed?

Personally I don't think that we will, the whole ideal of the Brutalist movement revolved around there being only one solution to a design problem; to simply wipe the slate clean in the given area and to start all over again. They openly disregarded history and refused to acknowledge that it had any bearing on the buildings that they were designing. For a start today there is far more consultation to make buildings user friendly and safe, another thing many modernist and Brutalist structures did not accomplish. Then there are the more stringent planning rules and conservation orders which protect the areas of a city that are historic and ensure that they are both conserved and that any future construction work is sympathetic in appearance to the historic architecture. In all I think that we have learned from our mistakes and that future constructions will be more long lasting.

I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on this, if you think that we should be preserving more of the buildings I have described, or should we be doing more to get rid of them quickly?

Many thanks,

Dan Smile
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wrighbrothers
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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Thu Oct 05, 2006 1:17 am

My view ?, I think we should leave them.

IT'S A BUILDING FOR GOODNESS SAKE, I'm not one for art and modernism myself, these buildings serve their purpose, why just change them becuase some guy says they aren't in line with the latest design ?

Wrightbrothers
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JGPH1A
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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Thu Oct 05, 2006 1:24 am

No - they're ugly, blow them up. There is no excuse for that kind of cheap, nasty, unimaginative architecture any more. Even in high-density housing, it is possible to use space imaginatively and create buildings where the form not only functions but pleases, and blends to some extent with the environment. All these Le Corbusier tombstones have no place any more, they are a failed social engineering experiment that is still exacting a social price, they must be replaced.

Modern architecture can be breathtakingly beautiful without making it much more expensive. It just takes a little imagination.
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Newark777
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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Thu Oct 05, 2006 1:37 am

You mean engineering light?  Wink

As for the buildings, they're ugly as hell, time to knock them down.

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GQfluffy
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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Thu Oct 05, 2006 2:56 am

They ARE uglier then hell, and some of them look like they're about ready to topple over as it is. As one of the many weeded-out (not as in POT) Montana State University Bozeman Architect students, I think alot of these styles that have been predominate over the last 40 years are uglier then hell. My prof @ MSU loved Frank Lloyd Wright. As for me; I hated the schmuck and his obsession with concrete...though I'll admit his Fallingwater House is rather swanky...
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aloges
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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:00 am

Quoting PlymSpotter (Thread starter):
Trellick Tower

God, that's awful. I do have a weak spot for Bauhaus architecture and minimalism, as well as most things including a lot of glass, steel and concrete, but I recognise a cheap, badly done building when I see one. Unfortunately, there has been that era when planners thought putting a high number of flats (resembling shoe boxes more than anything else) in the most menacing building possible was a good idea. The only reason to preserve these monstrosities is to show people how not to do it, even if they need a lot of space in a hurry.

I'm certainly no fan of the middle-class dream of slant roofs, picket fences and meticulously trimmed front lawns. But I'll choose that over most of the 1960's "modern" buildings at any time since those tend to be cramped, dimly lit, impersonal and as welcoming as a bulldog baring its teeth.

Now, if we start talking about these, I'll sing a different tune...  goodvibes 

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desertjets
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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:12 am

There are some examples of good modernist architecture out there. Just that for every well thought out and constructed one, there are a few dozen shoddily built structures (like those British housing projects) crumbling on their foundations. Part of the problem that modernist style has it that most buildings were built cheaply and fast... which is why many of them look like shit today. Ironically on my campus where I work the buildings on new campus (in late 60s/early 70s) concrete modern have systems and structures (roofs and such) in worse shape than buildings that are 10-40 years older on "old" campus.
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adh214
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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:34 am

While any building will look like shit if not properly maintained, modern building like particularly shitty when left to rot. I keep wondering if there is someway to significantly upgrade these building. For example, if multiple flats were combined (to lower density), window treatments standardized (to clean up the exterior facade), the whole thing scrubed down and perhaps some additional flare, you could have something that is quite attractive.

I live in Dallas, where we happily tear down buildings all of the time. Frequently, I keep thinking we really should consider how the existing build could be reused in more creative ways. For example, Texas Stadium is scheduled to be demolished in 2010. One of the ideas, is to save the iconic roof structure and then build a mixed use development around it. The area under the roof could serve as a park providing a needed relief from the summer sun.

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MKEdude
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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:49 am

I have never been a fan of the Bahaus/modernist school of architecture, too sterile. However I will admit that this building made a big impression on me when I went to a confrence there.

http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Crown_Hall.html

I would agree that we need to preserve some of the structures for posterity. Because, like it or not, to future generations that will be the defining style of the 20'th century. However here in the U.S. that style became associated with high-rise housing projects. Which were a great idea in theory; take poor people and put them in an apartment in the sky, with all the mod. cons. for practically nothing. In reality they became warehouses for people society couldn't find a place for, and in time came to symbolize everything that was wrong with urban centers in America. Thankfully they are coming down at a rapid rate, but not nearly fast enough.
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okees
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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:57 am

Im not a big fan of the concrete look. It looks dirty, and is just plain.. ugly! But the last building, Trellick Tower, has potential if properly renovated. It could be turned into an upscale appartment building... Overall.. if you have a good architect to fix em up.. i say keep them. The third building (small picture) is rundown. At least thats what it seems to be from the picture we have. If properly maintained.. it could actually be a good looking building.

Quoting GQfluffy (Reply 4):
I hated the schmuck and his obsession with concrete...though I'll admit his Fallingwater House is rather swanky...

I agree! As i said im not big on the concrete look.. but fallingwater is a different story.

In general.. if you cant salvage a building and turn it into something good.. blow it up!

okees

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PlymSpotter
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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Thu Oct 05, 2006 4:25 am

Quoting Aloges (Reply 5):
Now, if we start talking about these, I'll sing a different tune...

That first one reminds me of the Barcelona Pavilion which was also designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. They did a very good job of the reconstruction.

http://www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm/spain/barcelona/mies/rthalf2.jpg

Quoting Adh214 (Reply 7):
While any building will look like shit if not properly maintained, modern building like particularly shitty when left to rot. I keep wondering if there is someway to significantly upgrade these building. For example, if multiple flats were combined (to lower density), window treatments standardized (to clean up the exterior facade), the whole thing scrubed down and perhaps some additional flare, you could have something that is quite attractive.

Yes they have done that with several tower blocks in the UK, one way is to completely coat the outside in a plastic/ metal sheeting which entirely blocks the old concrete from view and makes the towers look very modern. Because the cladding can be a variety of colours its also made them look more vibrant and welcoming.

Thanks for the replies so far,

Dan Smile
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SmithAir747
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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Thu Oct 05, 2006 5:22 am

What is your opinion of Guy's Hospital Tower in London?

Guy's Hospital Tower in central London is a shining example of Brutalist concrete architecture. It is the tallest hospital building in the world.

I work and study in that building by the way! (I'm a student at King's College London, at the Guy's Hospital campus at London Bridge). I study and do research in the Tower. My research specialty is craniofacial deformities research, and the craniofacial research department is on floors 27 and 28 of the Tower. From there, I have the best views of London!

You can't miss Guy's Hospital Tower, it's this big, tall, stark tower of concrete jutting up from the London skyline along the south bank of the Thames. You can see this hunk from miles away.

It has the unique distinction of having a big lecture theatre cantilevered out from the 30th floor. The entire building is built from poured concrete and is clad in the stuff. So there is this grey "Jenga-like" tower with this blocky triangular lecture theatre jutting out from floor 30. I know of no other building that has a lecture theatre (or any big room) cantilevered out from its structure so high! Now they are putting these odd wavy metallic panels on the outside of the low-rise mechanical building that is close to the main entrance to the hospital.

Inside it is just as stark and utilitarian as the outside. In fact it looks just like the hospitals I so often experienced as a small child long ago--when hospitals in the 70s were stark inside, and before the typical American hospital began to look more like a 5-star hotel! It reminds me of the old James W. Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, back in the 70s, on the inside!

Ugly as this socialist-looking building is (and I admit it might not have looked out of place in Soviet Russia), there IS a place in my heart for it! Because that is where I'm studying for my future career in craniofacial research!

What do you think? Does it remind you of Soviet design? Or what?

SmithAir747
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AirPacific747
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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Thu Oct 05, 2006 6:02 am

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 2):
No - they're ugly, blow them up. There is no excuse for that kind of cheap, nasty, unimaginative architecture any more. Even in high-density housing, it is possible to use space imaginatively and create buildings where the form not only functions but pleases, and blends to some extent with the environment.

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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Thu Oct 05, 2006 6:07 am

Quoting Newark777 (Reply 3):
You mean engineering light?

 biggrin 

As for the above "buildings", they need to be blown up real good and recycled.
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PlymSpotter
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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Thu Oct 05, 2006 7:54 am

Quoting SmithAir747 (Reply 11):
What do you think? Does it remind you of Soviet design? Or what?

I must say I quite like it, unlike many buildings it seems to have been kept relatively clean on the outside, so I presume its well looked after. Its fairly similar to many of the soviet designs, a bit of Cyrillic text on the side of it would not be misplaced! What I'm not sure of (perhaps you might know) is how well it works as an actual hospital? Obviously there are going to be a lot of beds and patients on them who need moving around, so there will need to be a fair amount of lifts, and I presume that you also have dedicated lifts up to the floors that the university use - so what proportion of the floor space does this occupy?

Being in the centre of London its also a pretty logical choice to build up, literally creating space out of thin air meaning the footprint of the building is smaller than other construction methods. Its probably just because of the aforementioned reason, but there is a certain perhaps accidental symbolism that I like; the hospital is a tall landmark standing high above the surrounding community that it serves, protecting it and reminding you that its there when needed.

Guy's Tower is pretty soon going to be in the shadows itself, I'm fairly sure that London Bridge Tower is definitely going ahead now. Its a very refreshing design, weather it will suit London or not, well I'll hold judgment until its built.

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Dan Smile
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SmithAir747
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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Thu Oct 05, 2006 8:14 am

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 14):
What I'm not sure of (perhaps you might know) is how well it works as an actual hospital? Obviously there are going to be a lot of beds and patients on them who need moving around, so there will need to be a fair amount of lifts, and I presume that you also have dedicated lifts up to the floors that the university use - so what proportion of the floor space does this occupy?

I'm not sure of what the whole of Guy's Hospital Tower is used for, but on my long lift ride ("express" from ground and 2 up to 17 and 18, then stopping at every floor from then on), I notice that just about every floor from 18 up to 30 is used by the King's College London (GKT) Dental Institute and dental and medical school facilities. Craniofacial Development (my area  ) occupies floors 27 and 28 (they need all that laboratory and office space). Floor 29 is some luxury conference suite for the university bigwigs, and Floor 30 is the cantilevered lecture theatre, used solely by the dental school.

By the way, just below the cantilevered "turret" (the lecture theatre sticking out from the Tower), you can see my laboratory that I did my craniofacial research in this summer!

I don't know what's on floors 2-17, though, because the "express" lift I take up to Craniofacial Development does not stop at any of the floors between 2 and 17. I wonder what's on those floors?

Also, where are the inpatient beds in this huge hospital?

Who designed this building? Also, I heard from a KCL source that once the building was finished, they took a year to remove all the scaffolding around all 30 floors!

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 14):
I'm fairly sure that London Bridge Tower is definitely going ahead now.

I first heard about London Bridge Tower, or the "Shard" as it is commonly called, back in 2004! When is it going to be built? I heard it was going to start in 2006 with the demolition of the Southwark Towers now sitting on London Bridge station. But it's almost Christmas 2006, and those Towers still sit squarely on the station. When will London Bridge Tower finally get started?

SmithAir747

[Edited 2006-10-05 01:17:13]
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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Thu Oct 05, 2006 9:22 am

You know I'm not actually sure who built Guys Tower, and a quick troll around the internet hasn't brought back anything so I'll ask my tutor tomorrow in uni. I think floors 2-17 is where all of the inpatient beds are located, which if so would give the patients an amazing view over London.

Currently the shard project team should be taking over the site any day now and demolition is due to begin in the 4Q of the year, so very soon! The completion date is the 3Q of 2010, so it shall be a long build compared to the rate that some of the Brutalist structures went up, lol! London will then be able to claim the title of having Europe's tallest building, until somebody else goes and builds one even bigger!

Dan Smile
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Leezyjet
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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Thu Oct 05, 2006 9:56 am

Quoting PlymSpotter (Thread starter):
Take for instance Trellick Tower by Erno Goldfinger in London which is one of the best examples of its kind and is protected by Grade 2 listed buildings status.

I hate that building. I always look at it when I travel into London and think how awful it must be to live in such a place.

What is the big glass bit on the side for, and I'm guessing that is the lift shafts too ?.

I'm all for high-rise living, but not in these horrible dull concrete monstrosaties - demolish them I say. If people want to look at them, let them look at pictures !.

I love looking at buildings when I'm walking around a city. Too many people walk along looking at the ground and miss out on the wonderful things that you can see by looking up. I always like to stop and take a look around once in a while (didn't Ferris Bueller say that ?) at all the buildings when I am in a city. There is so much detail to see that it is easy to miss it.

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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Thu Oct 05, 2006 10:04 am

Quoting Leezyjet (Reply 17):
I hate that building. I always look at it when I travel into London and think how awful it must be to live in such a place

You might be surprised then that's its actually a very desirable place to live, it would cost you at least £200,000 for a dwelling in the tower, and there is a waiting list. Its residents love it now, although as I mentioned its past was terrible. The idea of it was to have a service block with all the lift shafts etc.. in the small tower, and then this was linked to the main tower that was the living space every few floors by walkways. The whole thing was renovated and has a secure entry system now, apparently its a very 'in' place to live for the new 'urban cool' of London.

Dan Smile
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Bobster2
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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Thu Oct 05, 2006 10:11 am

I grew up in Brooklyn, NY. My standards are very low.  Smile

I never criticize architecture. If the toilets work, the building is OK with me.
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bill142
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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Thu Oct 05, 2006 10:46 am

Drab looking buildings for drab people in drab surroundings. Why waste money trying to brighten things up when it will be lost on them. The cheap option would be to re-engineer with a coat of yellow paint.
 
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zippyjet
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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Thu Oct 05, 2006 11:24 am

The pictures you've posted are not to flattering. However, the shit they build today especially those tacky Mc Mansions with shutters are fuglier. I for one like the art decco styles and the Frank Lloyd Wright modern as well as 50s and 60s Googie architecture.


This dorm at my college alma matar is a combination of Fugly high rise housing project meets colonial architecture. I don't know of any high rise buildings from Colonial times do you?

http://z.about.com/d/architecture/1/0/T/K/mcmansion-010030.jpg

McMansians are garish and pukey looking.
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PlymSpotter
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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Sat Oct 07, 2006 5:16 am

Quoting Zippyjet (Reply 21):
The pictures you've posted are not to flattering.

Yes, that was done intentionally as I wanted to gauge people's opinions of these predominantly uncared for buildings that have suffered almost continuous neglect over their years.

Am I right in thinking that people might look more favourably upon Brutalist buildings such as the Royal National Theatre in London which is a shining example of the architectural style and has worked and continues to serve its purpose today?

http://img.search.com/8/81/300px-SouthBankCentre02.jpg

Dan Smile
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Pe@rson
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RE: Your View On Architecture?

Sat Oct 07, 2006 5:21 am

I am a fan of architecture, particularly old styles, e.g. in parts of London and in many towns in Eastern Europe. Some more modern stuff, with glass, etc., can be good, e.g. the gherkin in London, but I am not such a fan of that.
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