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Jonas Federal Courthouse Renovation

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An extreme example I realize, but to drive home my point is an example taught in every 1st year Architectural History class to architecture students.  St. Patricks Cathedral in Manhattan .  The question is asked, "would this building be as special and precious if it were surrounded by imitations built every few decades versus the buildings that do surround it; those that were designed within their zeitgeist and represent their time?"

ny2.jpg

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29 minutes ago, UrbanGossip said:

From the Secretary of Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties...  Item #10 on the list of 10, and in my opinion one of the most important : "Designs that were never executed historically will not be constructed."

This concept is for the most minute detail all the way up to high rise additions. It is to try and combat false historicism and confusion of what is actually historical and what is not.  It also seeks to increase the importance of actually historical buildings and details by encouraging contemporary design to complement the historical rather than imitate.  Think costume jewelry versus actual gold and opals.  One is a cheap imitation and the other is priceless.  One is worn by an impostor and the other is worn by a queen.

Not saying you have to agree with the concept, but I think that is where a lot of the objection is coming from.

Clean simple modern reinterpretations of classical architecture is not new.  In fact there were several periods in history where those attempts were made and lumped into architectural styles:  Postmodernist, and Facist.  

I embrace the concept of authenticity.  We are not in an age where Postmodern or Facist architecture is in style.  Even if we were this design would probably not be considered a good or notable example of either.

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On 8/15/2017 at 9:29 AM, UrbanGossip said:

An extreme example I realize, but to drive home my point is an example taught in every 1st year Architectural History class to architecture students.  St. Patricks Cathedral in Manhattan .  The question is asked, "would this building be as special and precious if it were surrounded by imitations built every few decades versus the buildings that do surround it; those that were designed within their zeitgeist and represent their time?"

ny2.jpg

It's an interesting question, but it doesn't justify modernism in architecture (which, IMO, ignores whatever the current zeitgeist is). I mean, is Notre Dame de Paris any less special because all of its surroundings are also old? The problem with modern architecture isn't that it's new or different, it's that it's not designed for people. It ignores context and creates inhumane, stale spaces. While it can theoretically be aesthetically pleasing in an artistic sense they often do a poor job in terms of how they function within the built environment. Even contemporary architecture that is not "modern" in style has merits, but again, it generally ignores local context in favor of national trends unless the local context is particularly strong. To that end, I would point to places with a stronger architectural heritage like Charleston or San Francisco. Most of the (non-highrise) contemporary architecture has a way of blending in and adding to the city's aesthetic in a way that looks and feels good while not being 'imitations' or fake.

 

On 8/15/2017 at 9:20 AM, UrbanGossip said:

From the Secretary of Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties...  Item #10 on the list of 10, and in my opinion one of the most important : "Designs that were never executed historically will not be constructed."

This concept is for the most minute detail all the way up to high rise additions. It is to try and combat false historicism and confusion of what is actually historical and what is not.  It also seeks to increase the importance of actually historical buildings and details by encouraging contemporary design to complement the historical rather than imitate.  Think costume jewelry versus actual gold and opals.  One is a cheap imitation and the other is priceless.  One is worn by an impostor and the other is worn by a queen.

Not saying you have to agree with the concept, but I think that is where a lot of the objection is coming from.

Can you explain your thought a little more? What's the objection to that statement?

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3 hours ago, Spartan said:

It's an interesting question, but it doesn't justify modernism in architecture (which, IMO, ignores whatever the current zeitgeist is). I mean, is Notre Dame de Paris any less special because all of its surroundings are also old? The problem with modern architecture isn't that it's new or different, it's that it's not designed for people. It ignores context and creates inhumane, stale spaces. While it can theoretically be aesthetically pleasing in an artistic sense they often do a poor job in terms of how they function within the built environment. Even contemporary architecture that is not "modern" in style has merits, but again, it generally ignores local context in favor of national trends unless the local context is particularly strong. To that end, I would point to places with a stronger architectural heritage like Charleston or San Francisco. Most of the (non-highrise) contemporary architecture has a way of blending in and adding to the city's aesthetic in a way that looks and feels good while not being 'imitations' or fake.

 

Can you explain your thought a little more? What's the objection to that statement?

I agree on failures of Modern (capital M) and contemporary design in some cases.  But it's a big stretch to say that across the board "modern architecture isn't designed for people".

Notre Dame is in fact surrounded by buildings that are also old, you are correct.  They are old and were designed within their time according to the aesthetic of their time.  They together tell the tale of the growth of Paris.  IF they were all designed in the Gothic style for the next 400 years rather than the subsequent Renaisance, Boroque, Rococo, Neoclassical, etc. then yes, I think it would be less special.

To explain my thought, perhaps some peoples objection to the tower addition is because it is designed in a way to look like it was always there, when it was not.  That is the concept that I referenced in the guidelines for historical properties.  What is historical should be preserved, what is new should be distinguishable as new.  If you subscribe to that concept (which I obviously do).

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