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.RC.
07-14-2011, 08:21 PM
Upon reading that thread about modern attitudes and old buildings it made me think about architecture in the 70's and 80's and the god awful fascination they had with sharp corners and squares/rectangles..

Why was it we went from smooth curves all the way through history until the 70's and 80's then all of a sudden these boxes started appearing.... And they appeared everywhere... Buildings, cars, even machine tools went from looking aesthetically pleasing to awful..

Was it because back in those days computer design was taking over and the computers of the day could not handle curves due to modest computing power? Or did squares seem modern?

sasquatch
07-14-2011, 08:24 PM
I believe it was just a simple matter of change.

Everything in the developed world i think seems to run in fads, so change is inevitable to keep people buying.

Toolguy
07-14-2011, 08:45 PM
I agree about the fad thing. Remember Cubism in art back in the early 1900's ?
There are only a few basic geometric shapes to choose from. They just go in circles from one to another.

Black_Moons
07-14-2011, 08:46 PM
I believe it was just a simple matter of change.

Everything in the developed world i think seems to run in fads, so change is inevitable to keep people buying.

Bingo! you buy what your told to buy, by the rich famious people who get paid to tell you what to buy, By the people who get paid by you buying.

Fads, Fasond, etc, are huge scams to sell lots of ulgy stuff before everyone realises it really is ulgy, then they just say the 'fasond/fad/tread' is over and its time for the latest ulgy POS!

When I was growing up, It was a pertty simple decision. I could have 4 pair of decent made shoes, new enough that they fit my growing feet and where not worn out at all because I had 4 pairs to pick from, And when I went to buy them I had a selection of hundreds to pick from, of all diffrent styles, colors, etc.

Or I could have 1 pair of shoes with Nike/ writen on em in stupid looking letters, Out of a selection of about 20 outta the hundred in the store, That would soon get worn out because id have no other shoes to wear, Be constantly dirty since I could'nt be without them most days to wash em. etc.

Same price! I tryed the expensive ones once or twice... I seem to recall the pump toung thingy was cool, but broke in a few months. Overall I much more enjoyed having 4 pairs of $50 shoes then 1 pair of $200 shoes.

.RC.
07-14-2011, 08:53 PM
Yes but squares are ugly in architecture... All through history squares were shunned except for a very short period...

Evan
07-14-2011, 09:21 PM
That particular architectural style has an appropriate name. It's called Brutalism or the Brutalist style.

dfw5914
07-14-2011, 09:53 PM
The Borg???

sasquatch
07-14-2011, 09:58 PM
Had a girlfriend years ago that when she threw a fit went into "The Brutilist Style".

(She didn,t have any Square corners that i found anyway!!):rolleyes: :D

Evan
07-14-2011, 10:37 PM
The Borg is also appropriate. The funny thing is that I was just paging through a book I have about architecture a few days ago so the name of the style came to mind immediately.


This is an excellent example of brutalism.

http://ixian.ca/pics9/brutalist.jpg

J Tiers
07-14-2011, 10:51 PM
It's of varying possible names.....

The style, I believe, arose from the views of the buildings as architectural models. Viewed at a distance, from an angle that often nobody on foot will see them, they can be kinda cool. (I thought of going into acrchitecture back then, my cousin and uncle are actually architects)

However, as buildings, they intentionally have nothing in "people scale". This was an argument I had with design professors....

THEY thought what I came up with was "busy"..... and they preferred large bold features with NO smaller details. But when you are next to the building, you see none of that, all you can see is a huge featureless wall, even if from 500 ft up and a quarter mile out it looks really good.

The picture Evan posted just above is an example..... from this distance it looks "textured", possibly ugly, possibly so ugly it is interesting.....

Up close it will just be featureless concrete.

The older styles, which had to be changed since "we" were all bored by them, had either hypostyle halls, or colonnades, etc, with features more people sized when up close, even if they were sometimes cubes at a distance. Those features make the building "people-friendly', something the styles you mention often are the exact reverse of.

x39
07-14-2011, 10:58 PM
In my view, it was a matter of cost cutting methods being marketed as cutting edge design.

Davo J
07-14-2011, 10:59 PM
I don't know if it's just me, but I like the squarer looking machines. There are a few of the older machines like Monarch lathes etc that are an exception.

As for cars I am glad they moved on back to curves, the ford XD onwards shape (for us Aussies) where very boring looking compared to the before and after models.

Dave

.RC.
07-14-2011, 11:15 PM
This is an excellent example of brutalism.



I look at that and I immediately think of socialism..

darryl
07-14-2011, 11:18 PM
I think it was a matter of cost cutting mostly, coupled with a lack of regard for the purchasers sense of pleasing architecture. Build 'em a box, someone will buy it, who cares, we get paid-

kbertoson
07-14-2011, 11:50 PM
When is Harvest Gold, Avocado Green and the other wonderful colors of that time period coming back? Also shag carpet.

gwilson
07-14-2011, 11:56 PM
In machines,I guess any fool can make square patterns. Takes too much art education and patternmaking training to make a Monarch 10-EE,or an HLVH Hardinge. They didn't even do a good job copying the South Bend 10". Screwed up tailstock,messed up looking apron. Just not the same,not as nice as the old ones.

Cheeseking
07-15-2011, 01:21 AM
Lots of low end, subdivision type housing a.k.a. vinyl-box-farms has that look.

Peter S
07-15-2011, 04:08 AM
Here is good example of a machine tool hit by the 'stylist'.

Rounded: Graziano SAG 12, I am not sure when they were developed, but I think in the 1960's. Mine is dated around 1974.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/1003/PeterS/graziano_sag12-a-1.jpg

Square: Graziano SAG 12S, they took the same lathe and squared the corners and 'modernised' the handles, wheels etc. I think this is from around 1979. Personally I prefer the earlier model.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/1003/PeterS/sag12s.jpg

To be fair they did change the transmission from electro-magnetic to Reeves drive, but the rest of the lathe seems to be the same.

aboard_epsilon
07-15-2011, 06:05 AM
I BLAME LEGO ..

the designers draughtsmen, architects all grew up playing with lego

that's to blame :)

all the best.markj

DATo
07-15-2011, 06:36 AM
Personally I think it was because back in the old days they took that blueprint directive too seriously.

Break all sharp corners

Somehow that worked its way onto architectural drawings and the next thing you know you had a bunch of masonry workers filing off the corners of buildings. *Shrugs*

Black Forest
07-15-2011, 07:57 AM
It was Ann Rand's fault. The book Fountainhead caused all the Square corners.

vpt
07-15-2011, 10:56 AM
I thought it had something to do with cost. Cheaper to make things square then to finish them off and put actual work into making them rounded.

Vehicles got to be real crappy and cheap in the late 70's and 80's besides being square.

Maybe it had something to do with all the drugs in the late 60's early 70's, no brain cells left by the time the 70's and 80's came.

DATo
07-15-2011, 11:24 AM
It was Ann Rand's fault. The book Fountainhead caused all the Square corners.


I swear to 'What's His Name' I was going to say that !!! *LOL* Somehow I could never see Gary Cooper as an Ayn Rand character.

x39
07-15-2011, 12:51 PM
Maybe it had something to do with all the drugs in the late 60's early 70's, no brain cells left by the time the 70's and 80's came.

If you're talking about the consumer, maybe so. But the guys writing the checks and making the final decisions on design in that time period were of a different generation than those doing drugs in the sixties.

gellfex
07-15-2011, 01:08 PM
There's a great little book by Tom Wolfe: From Bauhaus to Our House, that gets into how the Bauhaus idea of cheap worker housing using industrial materials got hijacked by Le Corbusier and others into being a universal aesthetic.

Brutalism was just one part of a campaign to destroy everything people actually like, such as neighborhoods and comfortably scaled living. We're still living with these ideas, I live a near a huge hi-rise development (Newport, Jersey City) that was built with nearly no ground floor retail and no parks.

Zahnrad Kopf
07-15-2011, 01:09 PM
It was Ann Rand's fault. The book Fountainhead caused all the Square corners.

That's f'ing HILARIOUS~!

lazlo
07-15-2011, 01:26 PM
Yes but squares are ugly in architecture... All through history squares were shunned except for a very short period...

The Sears tower was architected and built in the 70's, and personally I think it's gorgeous. Spartan, simplistic, elegant.

lazlo
07-15-2011, 01:34 PM
It was Ann Rand's fault. The book Fountainhead caused all the Square corners.

Wow, very witty BF! :D

Although the protagonist, Howard Roark, was modeled after Frank Llyod Wright, who used a lot of square corners :)

http://www.wright-house.com/frank-lloyd-wright/fallingwater-pictures/fallingwater-2.jpg

gellfex
07-15-2011, 01:39 PM
Wow, very witty BF! :D

Although the protagonist, Howard Roark, was modeled after Frank Llyod Wright, who used a lot of square corners :)

http://www.wright-house.com/frank-lloyd-wright/fallingwater-pictures/fallingwater-2.jpg

Have you read about all the extremely expensive structural problems Fallingwater has?

lazlo
07-15-2011, 01:42 PM
Have you read about all the extremely expensive structural problems Fallingwater has?

Sure, but it's an architectural masterpiece. In art, form rules over function.

x39
07-15-2011, 01:44 PM
Have you read about all the extremely expensive structural problems Fallingwater has?
That seems to be a common problem with some of Wright's buildings, particulary the the more cutting edge ones. The root cause being cut corners while hurrying to complete the projects.

Thruthefence
07-15-2011, 02:24 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauhaus

Some examples:

http://tinyurl.com/6xhmkgo

Paul Alciatore
07-15-2011, 02:44 PM
Are we talking about architecture or machine tool design or design in general or what? I was here for the 70s and 80s and did not really see any really big change in either.

Buildings are built with straight parts. Steel beams, flat panels, straight wood, etc. Just try to bend a 2X4: you may succeed, but you have added a lot to the cost of a large building if you have to do that many times. Wall board is flat. If you want a curve, you must use real plaster which is a lot more labor intensive. And space is wasted between the curved walls of two adjacent rooms. Just plain wasted. Is it any wonder that buildings are straight and square? Not to me.

Machine tools are made of metal. Yes, really. In the past, casting was used very frequently and curved shapes are just as easy to cast as straight ones. In fact, the need for draft to allow easy removal of a part from the mold actually dictates against straightness. Add rounded edges and filleted corners and you have a lot of curves and a lot of good reasons for them. I would guess, with the coming of things like CNC, somewhere along the way it became cheaper (YES CHEAPER) to make parts from rectangular solids instead of castings. More machining, but a cheaper overall price. This may explain the main reason why machine tools today have a lot more square corners: they are just an artifact of the economical way the parts are made.

Other areas? Well, there have been trends. How about bridges? In the 1800s bridges used a lot of cast metal/cast iron. See my arguments above. But with the coming of standard steel shapes (I, H, etc.) the designers started using them. Bridges were stronger AND a lot straighter. Some recent trends have brought more curves into the most cutting edge designs.

Perhaps form has to follow function with a delay for fashion. Hummm: Form and Function and then later, Fashion. The three Fs of design.

gellfex
07-15-2011, 02:57 PM
Sure, but it's an architectural masterpiece. In art, form rules over function.

I guess some of us consider architecture a form of industrial design, not pure art. I've got no patience for beautiful things that function poorly, to me functioning well is an inexcludable part of design. Which of course, is why I was kicked out of design school:D

J Tiers
07-16-2011, 12:03 AM
FLW was pretty darn good at cool design, but NOT very good at details, and practicalities...... And what looks cool, like the furniture he designed for some of the houses (and the owners HAD TO use) was literally a pain to use.

Architects do concepts...... but, having them in the family, I can assure you they are best accompanied by good engineers to make teh concepts actually work.

In teh case of FLW, there is no way any engineer could have worked with him, most likely..... and almost surely no way he would have accepted the results, either.



Brutalism was just one part of a campaign to destroy everything people actually like, such as neighborhoods and comfortably scaled living. We're still living with these ideas, I live a near a huge hi-rise development (Newport, Jersey City) that was built with nearly no ground floor retail and no parks.

As I mentioned above....... concepts that look good from 500 feet and a quarter mile out...... All "pure design" and no psychology.

The "projects" were essentially all like that, and virtually every one was torn down...... Decent "pure design", but a total lack of sociological input, concern, or even interest. A single-minded insistence that "good design will force people to behave right".

NO thought that there was no provision or place for anything that creates a 'community", creating what can only be called a literal "concentration camp".

No concern about trying to force several hundred variously dysfunctional people to create a "community", regardless of who was there, what sort of people they were, etc.

The projects were placed without concern for services, without thinking that people would have to walk a quarter mile to get out of the project, plus whatever else to get to grocery, or whatever, nor that the services would have to cover hundreds or thousands of people.

Any idiot could predict that the plan would not work.

Architects were the wrong people to plan mass housing..... they each have a 'clever plan"...... their own "hammer", and so they are just looking for anything that might conceivably function as a nail.

They are not alone in being single-minded, but for some reason they were envisioned , for a while, as having tremendous insight into social problems and the solutions for those problems.

Instead, it is my belief that they CAUSED social problems.

gearedloco
07-16-2011, 01:43 AM
FLW was pretty darn good at cool design, but NOT very good at details, and practicalities...... And what looks cool, like the furniture he designed for some of the houses (and the owners HAD TO use) was literally a pain to use.

Architects do concepts...... but, having them in the family, I can assure you they are best accompanied by good engineers to make the concepts actually work.

In the case of FLW, there is no way any engineer could have worked with him, most likely..... and almost surely no way he would have accepted the results, either.

[ ... ]

I have a tape about Falling Waters, which includes Mr. Kauffman's son discussing the interaction between FLW and his father. Apparently, Mr. K. showed the design to a friend who was a structural engineer and was told that the whole shooting match was doomed to crumble into the stream sooner or later, probably sooner.

Mr K. relayed the concerns to FLW who puffed himself up (as much as he could) and replied that Mr. K. did not deserve a house designed by FLW. Mr. K. shrugged the whole thing off and told FLW to carry on.

It lasted more than long enough for the original owner. How much longer it will last is hard to say, but it don't look good!

-bill

dfw5914
07-16-2011, 02:56 AM
...


As I mentioned above....... concepts that look good from 500 feet and a quarter mile out...... All "pure design" and no psychology.


....


Denial of the soul, you are just a biological machine...

dp
07-16-2011, 03:05 AM
That was the Carter years - double digit inflation, etc. Everything cost lots including borrowed money. The cheapest thing you can build is rectangles and squares from pre-made components and sheet rock is, well, rectangular.

J Tiers
07-16-2011, 09:03 AM
Welcome back, DP...

However, despite your unfortunate politicizing of this discussion, the styling far pre-dates Carter..... if anything it is 30/s or 40/s..... and earlier in true origin.

The building in the pic of "Brutalism" is approximately the "Nazi flak tower" style.

Large simplified (and often concrete) geometric forms are a phenom of the 60's in US, originating somewhere in the 40's or 50's, generally, for architecture, and truthfully going back to Bauhaus in Germany as early as 1920.

Krunch
07-16-2011, 09:52 AM
My Dad was a mech engr and I'll never forget, growing up in the 1960s, the disdain he held for architects in general and the architecture of the time, in particular.

What's funny is, many of the designs that seemed so radical and ugly at the time are lauded today as "art."

Krunch
07-16-2011, 09:59 AM
Sure, but it's an architectural masterpiece. In art, form rules over function.

In my opinion, the highest forms of art are where form and function intersect or overlap...the trick is finding where they intersect or overlap.

PeteM
07-16-2011, 01:32 PM
The square corners thing was mostly marketing/style driven -- trying to give machine tools a "modern" look.

By the 80's there was also a slight impact from CAD design tools. HP, for example, was very proud of using ME30 to design their own stuff. Look at their stuff from back then and it was pretty much all easily constructed solids plus rolling ball fillets.

Robin R
07-16-2011, 04:45 PM
FLW was pretty darn good at cool design, but NOT very good at details, and practicalities...... And what looks cool, like the furniture he designed for some of the houses (and the owners HAD TO use) was literally a pain to use.

Architects do concepts...... but, having them in the family, I can assure you they are best accompanied by good engineers to make teh concepts actually work.

In teh case of FLW, there is no way any engineer could have worked with him, most likely..... and almost surely no way he would have accepted the results, either.



As I mentioned above....... concepts that look good from 500 feet and a quarter mile out...... All "pure design" and no psychology.

The "projects" were essentially all like that, and virtually every one was torn down...... Decent "pure design", but a total lack of sociological input, concern, or even interest. A single-minded insistence that "good design will force people to behave right".

NO thought that there was no provision or place for anything that creates a 'community", creating what can only be called a literal "concentration camp".

No concern about trying to force several hundred variously dysfunctional people to create a "community", regardless of who was there, what sort of people they were, etc.

The projects were placed without concern for services, without thinking that people would have to walk a quarter mile to get out of the project, plus whatever else to get to grocery, or whatever, nor that the services would have to cover hundreds or thousands of people.

Any idiot could predict that the plan would not work.

Architects were the wrong people to plan mass housing..... they each have a 'clever plan"...... their own "hammer", and so they are just looking for anything that might conceivably function as a nail.

They are not alone in being single-minded, but for some reason they were envisioned , for a while, as having tremendous insight into social problems and the solutions for those problems.

Instead, it is my belief that they CAUSED social problems.

I have a book on architecture called "A Pattern Language" by Christopher Alexander and others. It addresses these exact problems, from a complete city scale, down to doors and windows.

It should be required reading for all planners and architects, also all politicians for that matter. If they absorbed and acted on the principals it talks about, many of the problems of society would be greatly reduced.

I would certainly recommend it to anyone considering building a new house, or even renovating an old one. In fact I would recommend everyone should read it, as even if you hadn't been thinking about building, you might well want a different dwelling after reading it

x39
07-16-2011, 05:48 PM
I believe it was Winston Churchill who said: "We shape our houses and forever afterward our houses shape us."

aboard_epsilon
07-16-2011, 06:29 PM
seen a website once on Winstons quotes

hundreds of them

he must have had a whole department writing them for him ..me thinks

all the best.markj

Evan
07-16-2011, 06:45 PM
Frank Lloyd Wright wasn't stuck on square and rectangular design. His final and possibly greatest design was the Marin County Civic Center in California. It doesn't have a single square or rectangular shape anywhere.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotos-g33037-d780871-Marin_Center-San_Rafael_Marin_County_California.html

lazlo
07-16-2011, 06:48 PM
Frank Lloyd Wright wasn't stuck on square and rectangular design. His final and possibly greatest design was the Marin County Civic Center in California. It doesn't have a single square or rectangular shape anywhere.

He also designed the Guggenheim, which is a giant spiral. It's been in countless movies.

lynnl
07-16-2011, 07:05 PM
seen a website once on Winstons quotes

hundreds of them

he must have had a whole department writing them for him ..me thinks

all the best.markj

My favorite: (speaking of some collegue) "He is a modest little man. ...and he has a lot to be modest about."

Nevertheless, he, and perhaps FDR are in my short list for greatest men in my lifetime.

lazlo
07-16-2011, 07:20 PM
Nevertheless, he, and perhaps FDR are in my short list for greatest men in my lifetime.

Churchill was largely responsible for the stupidity that led to a quarter of a million Australian and British causalities and an equal number of Turks at Gallipoli. He was forced to resign in disgrace as First Lord of the Admiralty.

But I agree -- he made up for those mistakes with his leadership during WWII.

Rustybolt
07-16-2011, 08:47 PM
Frank Lloyd Wright wasn't stuck on square and rectangular design. His final and possibly greatest design was the Marin County Civic Center in California. It doesn't have a single square or rectangular shape anywhere.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotos-g33037-d780871-Marin_Center-San_Rafael_Marin_County_California.html


There's also the Johnson and Johnson building in Racine Wisconsin which was plauged with problems from day one.

His houses? Dark, drafty and narrow hallways.
There is one for sale just down the street from me. The owners spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring it up to code within the original design.
They're down to 1.2 million from 2.2 million.

lazlo
07-16-2011, 09:48 PM
There's also the Johnson and Johnson building in Racine Wisconsin which was plauged with problems from day one.

The S.E. Johnson build wasn't one of his best, IMHO. Not that I'm qualified to critique one of the greatest architects in the last 500 years :)

It's not unique, like most of his other buildings. You could easily pass it by as a modernistic office complex without knowing it was a FLW.

J Tiers
07-16-2011, 11:42 PM
One can be, as FLW was, a great architect design-wise, without having made a building that worked as well as it looked.....

Architectural design is divorced from practicalities, and they still have not settled the child custody situation.

Evan
07-17-2011, 03:25 AM
Architectural design is divorced from practicalities...


Not at all, at least not in some of the structures that are greatly admired by many for both qualities. I refer to castles that also served as fortresses. There are many examples that feature spectacular stonework and amazing feats of engineering while at the same time keeping the absolute necessity of practical defensive structure foremost in the design.

There are many subtle elements that figure in making a castle fortress defensible. Most are not obvious until pointed out. I have visited a number of them because they are of particular interest to me. There are features such as entrances that require an approach parallel to the castle wall that place an enemy at great disadvantage, especially when the entrance makes a sharp turn within the wall to enter the inner court. Towers are placed to provide for crossing fire and the deployment of "gravity bombs" such as large baskets filled with stones. Walls are sloped and overhung to make scaling more difficult. The bottoms of walls are often sloped outward to deflect falling rocks outward toward invaders along the ground.

The city state of Rothenburg od der Tauber is famous for having resisted nearly all invaders for a 1000 years. It is entirely enclosed by a high wall with battlements and fortifications at key locations. Some of the fortifications are massive and yet architecturally impressive.

Fortress castles are perhaps the best example of form following function and yet still retaining an appealing appearance and sometimes even beautiful.

matthew_g
07-17-2011, 05:28 AM
Well I reacon there ain't nuttin wrong with the 70's era coz I am a product of the 70's and I ain't square:D

J Tiers
07-17-2011, 09:49 AM
Not at all, at least not in some of the structures that are greatly admired by many for both qualities. I refer to castles that also served as fortresses. There are many examples that feature spectacular stonework and amazing feats of engineering while at the same time keeping the absolute necessity of practical defensive structure foremost in the design.



You missed the point totally.

Architectural "DESIGN" is divorced from practicalities.

I never said that "architecture" is, or should be, divorced from practicalities.

The distinction is the "design" issue, which is concerned with the "form" part of the "form & function" whole. When "form" is an object unto itself, practicality may be sacrificed, and that is what happened with FLW....

He SPECIFIED the furniture in some of his houses, and MADE THE CLIENTS USE IT, despite the fact that while it was of an interesting and harmonious "FORM", it failed to "FUNCTION" in a satisfactory manner.

BTW, fortifications were generally the exclusive territory of "military engineers", and not civilian architects. The fact that some functioned as both, or as engineers and artists, does not disprove that, since many were only engineers.

beauty of form, which is in the eye of the beholder, must be regarded as a coincidence with regard to fortifications, a form following FROM the function, as interpreted by the builder.

lazlo
07-17-2011, 10:15 AM
You missed the point totally.

Architectural "DESIGN" is divorced from practicalities.

At Virginia Tech (my alma mater), the architecture program is in the art department, not the engineering department. I think this is true at most colleges.


BTW, fortifications were generally the exclusive territory of "military engineers", and not civilian architects.

Indeed -- Da Vinci, a rare fusion of art and engineering, supported his artistic endeavors by designing fortifications and military hardware. In that timeframe (Renaissance) it was common for the military engineer that designed the fortifications to be re-hired as the lead siege engineer by an invading army :)


beauty of form, which is in the eye of the beholder, must be regarded as a coincidence with regard to fortifications, a form following FROM the function, as interpreted by the builder.

Exactly my point in my first post. A katana is often cited as one of the rare intersections of form and function. But Japanese smiths refuse to use modern tool steel, preferring the much inferior tamahagne bloom steel made from river sand, because tamahagne has hada -- the beautiful wood grain from the folding of high and low carbon steel into a homogeneous billet. Form over function.

Evan
07-17-2011, 12:10 PM
You missed the point totally.

Architectural "DESIGN" is divorced from practicalities.

..............
BTW, fortifications were generally the exclusive territory of "military engineers", and not civilian architects. The fact that some functioned as both, or as engineers and artists, does not disprove that, since many were only engineers.


I think you are missing the point. There are many design elements in fortifications that serve a purpose other than strict military defence and are reflected in the design of cathedrals. That purpose is to inspire awe. That is entirely dependent on FORM AS A FUNCTION. The most successful designs incorporate both and one does not follow the other. The fact that the designers were military engineers does not disqualify them from the role of architect. In their time they were the only architects.

dp
07-17-2011, 12:55 PM
Welcome back, DP...

However, despite your unfortunate politicizing of this discussion, the styling far pre-dates Carter..... if anything it is 30/s or 40/s..... and earlier in true origin.



Your prowess at analyzing is still poor. Rectangle structures are as old as mud bricks, Jerry. It was not an attempt to politicize the thread but to offer a reason why square/rectangle construction, much of it quite artless and uninspired by anything but cost, became popular. The buildings around here that were built in that era reflect austerity, not artistic revival. A secondary design/cost savings was to leave trees standing and many of these properties, wooden or concrete forms, are dark, mossy eye sores in overgrown lots.

FWIW, I actually supported Carter's election. I moved to Seattle from SoCal about that time and helped a friend with a struggling construction business, working for free, to build single and two-story commercial structures, so have some first-hand experience. He in turn helped me with the restoration of my antique airplane that was designed, non-squarish, in the 1930's.

The OP was not describing the kind of beautiful (but often impractical and grotesquely expensive) architecture Frank Lloyd Wright typified. Read it again, if needed. He described the kind of structures I helped build.

J Tiers
07-17-2011, 09:50 PM
Oh, I definitely do not agree.......... (Ignoring the ad-hominem gratuitous insult for purposes of this answer)

Cost, sure..... its ALWAYS been about cost, only a very few could get away with an open-ended budget. EVERY building is about cost.

But, you find many, many cases, including some of the "projects", which drew praise for their design, but were disasters sociologically, disasters from the word "go", inevitably bound to fail direct from the initial concept.

The architects were doing "design", according to their lights, even in a "public low cost housing project".

Take Pruitt-igoe, right here. designed by Minoru Yamasaki, who also happens to have designed the World Trade Center in New York, among other buildings.

It was classified as "modernist" architecture, not necessarily lowest possible cost "bare enclosure", despite being a public housing project. It received recognition from "Architectural Forum" as the "best high apartment of the year".......

It was arguably within the "big block" style, although it is difficult to see what would NOT be such if intended to have many apartments per floor, and many floors.

The complex was beginning to be torn down as an abject failure within 16 years of completion.

The Feds had apparently actually stepped-in and demanded changes to lower costs, but that was not the reason for the failure.

lazlo
07-17-2011, 10:03 PM
Take Pruitt-igoe, right here. designed by Minoru Yamasaki, who also happens to have designed the World Trade Center in New York, among other buildings.

The complex was beginning to be torn down as an abject failure within 16 years of completion.

The WTC is a good example of the separation of form and function. Like most large buildings, there was a separate architect and engineer (really, team leads). The architect, as you say, was Minoru Yamasaki. The engineer was John Skilling, who was notably on the hot seat about the building's structural design and reasons for the collapse.

gellfex
07-17-2011, 11:36 PM
That was the Carter years - double digit inflation, etc. Everything cost lots including borrowed money. The cheapest thing you can build is rectangles and squares from pre-made components and sheet rock is, well, rectangular.


Might I point out not just did brutalism's height clearly predate Carter, but that anything designed in the Carter Administration was built in the Reagan era. The production cycle of these things is years long, and longer before CAD. That's why we have lot's of half built towers all over the country that were designed and started before the market for them collapsed.

"You have to give this much to the Luftwaffe", said Prince Charles at the Corporation of London Planning and Communication Committee's annual dinner at Mansion House in December 1987. "When it knocked down our buildings, it didn't replace them with anything more offensive than rubble."

dp
07-18-2011, 12:57 AM
Might I point out not just did brutalism's height clearly predate Carter, but that anything designed in the Carter Administration was built in the Reagan era. The production cycle of these things is years long, and longer before CAD. That's why we have lot's of half built towers all over the country that were designed and started before the market for them collapsed.


The OP said 70s and 80s. That includes both presidencies. The down economy spanned both presidencies. This isn't about Carter or Reagan or even Ford - remember WIN? (Whip inflation now) - it is about the affordability of construction when economies are in retreat. "The Carter Years" is a catch phrase for the clear decline of the retreat that Ford was trying to WIN. I didn't invent it.

Brutalist architecture was falling out of favor by the time of late 60s. The austerity of the 70s immediately affected construction of small projects (apartments, malls, office parks) and this carried on into the recovery years. Also disappearing quickly were the space age influences. Architects reworked and simplified grander designs because money was tight, inflation was out of control, and new tenants were few. Many such structures have since been reworked and facades and features added to modernize and improve property value.

So, the OP asked and I provided my analysis, experience, and opinion. End of story.

Thruthefence
07-18-2011, 09:16 AM
My daughter attended college at The University of East Anglia, in Norwich, Norfolk, UK; a beautiful Medieval town, full of old Gothic architecture.

http://images.worldgallery.co.uk/i/prints/rw/lg/9/4/Philip-Martin-Norwich-Cathedral-94987.jpg

For contrast, here's a pic of a student residence at UEA:

http://www.stockphotography.co.uk/Upload/Stock/Watermarked/27350.jpg

I think Prince Charlie is a goof, but even a blind pig finds an acorn ever once in awhile.

(regarding the Luftwaffe's demolition program.)

J Tiers
07-18-2011, 09:52 AM
You just have the wrong viewpoint......... about the right distance, but the wrong altitude.....

I'll bet those buildings won some awards..... From architects.

x39
07-18-2011, 09:53 AM
Ford - remember WIN? (Whip inflation now) - opinion.
I remember people wearing "WIN" buttons. A friend of mine wore his upside down so it read "NIM", or "No Immediate Miracles"..

aboard_epsilon
07-18-2011, 10:30 AM
You just have the wrong viewpoint......... about the right distance, but the wrong altitude.....

I'll bet those buildings won some awards..... From architects.
In 40 years time those buildings that won awards ..will be demolished .

Architecture should be about Longevity ....Timeless design.

not concrete temporary or semi permanent design

if people and organizations are going to spend millions..or even billions ..they better make sure that they get the value for money out of the spend, and the building is built to last 100 ..200 years or even forever.

in 200 years time ..all the buildings built up to the 1950s ..will still be around ..after that ...there will be no evidence of anything built after this date .no one will want to preserve any of that crap.

do you think, if the empire state building was just built as a soulless squire box ..it would still be around today

The student residence at UEA:........I predict that it wont be there in 40 years time ...it will deteriorate as concrete does..
It, to a future population will look scruffy and not fashionable...and be pulled down.

Timeless and maybe classical looks and made of the right materials that stand the test of time, is the key to good design ......IMHO

concrete ..and what becomes of it ..

documentary about Hashima island off japan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fp97FUlSdqI



all the best.markj

J Tiers
07-18-2011, 11:00 AM
Concrete as now made is short lived. And is essentially un-repairable, so that when it crumbles in a few years, the only alternative is to tear it down. Many concrete buildings from the 1960s are crumbling now, and most will be torn down soon.

Counter to that, the pantheon, in Rome, has an unreinforced concrete dome, and has lasted about 2000 years.

There is a slight difference to be noted there.

Peter.
07-18-2011, 11:55 AM
'As now made' is right. I mean it can still be made to be everlasting but it really isn't very often.

Here's a photo I took just over a week ago of concrete installation built by the Germans in WW2. These have been constantly battered by the sea for 60 years and apart from some cosmetic damage it remains whole, solid and still waterproof (there is a museum inside now) - you can see that the granite underneath is heavily eroded and undercut.

http://peterrimmer.myby.co.uk/images/jerseybunker.jpg

lazlo
07-18-2011, 01:23 PM
Concrete as now made is short lived. And is essentially un-repairable, so that when it crumbles in a few years, the only alternative is to tear it down.

That's surprising! The concrete mix is very simple - I don't think the recipe has changed much since the invention of Portland cement in the 19th century: 1 part cement, 2 parts sand, 3 parts gravel.

What are they doing differently now that makes the concrete crumble?

Peter.
07-18-2011, 01:30 PM
The recipe for bread is just as simple but look at the wide variety you can get. Blending concrete mixes is just as much of a science.

I know precious little about actaully building with concrete but I can confirm what J Tiers said about concrete buildings from the 60's and 70's - they usually come apart very easily.

aboard_epsilon
07-18-2011, 01:34 PM
That's surprising! The concrete mix is very simple - I don't think the recipe has changed much since the invention of Portland cement in the 19th century: 1 part cement, 2 parts sand, 3 parts gravel.

What are they doing differently now that makes the concrete crumble?
the steel they put in it ...rusts and destroys it .

modern concrete is made with portland cement ..the stuff before the 50's may have been made with lime

well at least 1950 on seems to be the point at which it became widespread in use

my house was built in 1954 ..but uses lime mortar holding the bricks together and as first coat plaster

all the best.markj

gellfex
07-18-2011, 02:29 PM
It just occurred to me I live close to the construction site of a NEW Brutalist structure.

This is the "Empty Sky" NJ 9/11 Memorial in Liberty State Park. A pair of walls 200' long, 30' high, blocking some of the most spectacular urban views in the world. Heartily opposed by all the locals, it's been forced down our throats by the State for the benefit of families who might visit once a year. The joke is the "Empty Sky" money shot sighting down between the walls to ground zero will soon be filled with a 1776 tall tower.

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b251/leigh13/IMG00578.jpg

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b251/leigh13/IMG00579.jpg

http://img21.imageshack.us/img21/9570/lsp911memorialfrompaulu.jpg

x39
07-18-2011, 05:46 PM
This is the "Empty Sky" NJ 9/11 Memorial in Liberty State Park.
Gosh, that's really inspiring isn't it? They may as well have just parked an old dry dock there.

.RC.
07-18-2011, 07:33 PM
Counter to that, the pantheon, in Rome, has an unreinforced concrete dome, and has lasted about 2000 years.

There is a slight difference to be noted there.

Slaves under threat of being sent to the Colosseum as a gladiator do a better job at building things then paid people?

J Tiers
07-18-2011, 07:42 PM
Slaves under threat of being sent to the Colosseum as a gladiator do a better job at building things then paid people?

I wasn't there, so I can't say for sure.....

But the structure is still there, so anyone can take a look for themselves.... and contrast that with the modern buildings that are literally crumbling in 40 years.

The romans did not use portland cement. They used pozzolana cement, a "hydraulic" cement.

Modern cement is porous and is attacked by freeze-thaw cycles.

Peter..... Where is that? I have seen some very similar items in Italy.

Evan
07-18-2011, 08:07 PM
Modern cement is porous and is attacked by freeze-thaw cycles.

Modern cement is porous so it WON'T be attacked by freeze/thaw cycles. The method is called "air entrainment" and it is specifically to provide resistance to freeze damage. Porous materials are added to trap air bubbles which gives the cement insulating and slight flexibility properties.

J Tiers
07-18-2011, 11:31 PM
Modern cement is porous so it WON'T be attacked by freeze/thaw cycles. The method is called "air entrainment" and it is specifically to provide resistance to freeze damage. Porous materials are added to trap air bubbles which gives the cement insulating and slight flexibility properties.

that's all very well, but it does not necessarily apply..........

I see spalling failures all the time..... with NO visible rebar. Water soaks in, freezes, and off comes a piece.....

Porous is as porous does..... Air-entrained is NOT the same as concrete with "some" uncontrolled porosity. The latter spalls very nicely, and you cannot extrapolate from "air-entrained" to "concrete with some uncontrolled porosity" and assume that both will have the same performance.

Some old concrete, such as that making up my basement walls, has just about NO porosity.....it is solid dark gray cement, with stones in it. Absolute hell to drill into. The cement is hard enough, and the stones are hard flint and jasper-like materials, none of this wussy limestone gravel.

I thought the drills for some of the screw-in fasteners were trash, because they would not go into the walls. The screws would jam and twist off..... more junk..... that's what I thought.

Then I tried the system on some modern concrete..... drilled a full-depth hole in 5 seconds, when it literally took me 15 min to get a quarter inch into the house wall. The screw screwed into the modern concrete with no problem whatever. and held OK.

THAT made me understand the difference between what is called concrete now, and what was called concrete 80 years ago.

Evan
07-18-2011, 11:38 PM
The fact remains that concrete is made porous to resist freeze/thaw cycles. It does not fall apart because it is porous. It falls apart because of other factors.

J Tiers
07-19-2011, 12:08 AM
The fact remains that concrete is made porous to resist freeze/thaw cycles. It does not fall apart because it is porous. It falls apart because of other factors.


Ummmmm ........... the fact remains that concrete can be made to resist freeze-thaw....... if done in a correct manner.

And the fact remains that concrete that happens to have porosity of some uncontrolled and probably localized type IS NOT THE SAME THING, and will likely be damaged by Freeze-thaw.....

Curiously, if you actually KNOW what "air-entrainment" means, it is NOT REALLY POROSITY.

it is air bubbles actually trapped in the concrete, not big ones but very small ones. The trapped air provides some "give" when the water in the inevitable porosity freezes.

WITHOUT the trapped air bubbles, POROSITY IN CONCRETE IS *KNOWN TO CREATE SPALLING IN FREEZE-THAW CYCLES*.

So, yes, in fact it does fall apart due to porosity...... porosity, water, and freezing.

Evan
07-19-2011, 12:32 AM
Go review your unqualified earlier statement Jerry.

gmatov
07-19-2011, 12:46 AM
Yeah, welcome back, DiP****. You are about as smart as "Sponge Bob".GOTTA be Carter who ****ed YOU out of your life savings, don't it. Get a ****ing life.

Oh, ****, JTiers and Evan are going to get into a pissing contest, AGAIN. FLW was a GENIUS. NO he wasn't, he made useless, short lived buildings, BUT, he had such an ego that he could tell a Kaufmann that he did not DESERVE a FLW design, BECAUSE Kaufmann showed the design to a second engineer. Of COURSE, in those days, NO so called "engineer" was more acclaimed that FLW.

We eat up all those who we consider wiser than all others. They can do no wrong.

But then we have JTiers and Evan who are both so smart that all they do is bicker amongst themselves and let us decide who to believe. They should both get off their high horses and simply post their thoughts, BUT, of COURSE, neither can resist a challenge, even if the difference is an angstrom of light wave.

Evan plays with this ****, JTiers will Google till he finds something that bolsters his next post.

I don't like the bickering between you, but who in the Hell am I to complain? You should face each other with wet salmon at 1 pace and smack each other silly. Maybe you could give cogent info instead of arguing your points of view..

It is tiresome listening to you kvetching.

Cheers,

George

"BTW, fortifications were generally the exclusive territory of "military engineers", and not civilian architects. The fact that some functioned as both, or as engineers and artists, does not disprove that, since many were only engineers."

I don't think there were any "civilian" engineers. Didn't take much to design a mud hut and thatched roof. Battlements DID call for an "engineer" who could try to build a Castle that could stand up to the "Siege of the Day". The Laird could call up him who was best suited to build an impregnable fortress. The Laird could, also, call upon thousands to build his impregnable fortress. We have to actually PAY people to do that shat, today. ("A" to see if the Censor changes THAT to all stars).

You may argue that the viaducts of Rome MUST have been Civilian, but I would differ. They were for the defense of Rome, hence, Military.

.RC.
07-19-2011, 02:00 AM
This thread is about squareness architecture in the 60's, 70's, 80's. Not how strong concrete is in freezing weather conditions.

Go start another thread about that!!!!!

gmatov
07-19-2011, 02:05 AM
Lazlo,

"But Japanese smiths refuse to use modern tool steel, preferring the much inferior tamahagne bloom steel made from river sand, because tamahagne has hada -- the beautiful wood grain from the folding of high and low carbon steel into a homogeneous billet. Form over function."

I think I am going to call BS on that one. 40 years ago the Japanese made mild steel blades with low carbon steel body and high carbon steel cutting edge welded to it. VERY good steel edge, but little of it..

Folding of the mix of high and low carbon, to make Damascened steel is a bunch of buschwah. It makes for interesting looks, but I do not think the blade is anything at ALL exceptional. Pretty, is the best word I can call to mind

Now here is a test I think no Damascus type blade maker will take. Take a piece of hotrolled and heat and bend and beat and heat and bend and twist and heat and bend and hammer and see if you do not come out with a beautiful blade, too. Soft as aluminum foil, but beautiful.

BS all over the place about what we are paying "artisans" for. Mavens. This is IT. You are Passe!

Quote Evan,

"In their time they were the only architects." Had I read 2 or 3 posts further, I would not have made my own comment. STILL, it is so.

DP,

Airplanes do not fly well if they are "squairish". Like a brick, I would assume.

Next Post I read. Why is concrete so ****+Y. It is because CONCRETE is supposed to be 7 94 pound sacks per CY. Cement is the most expensive of the 3 components, the other sand and gravel, that they go down to 6 and maybe 5 sacks, equivalent, per CY. THEY save 3 bucks, and you get crap.

AND, I guess that you all, smart as you are, DEMAND 1-2-3 mix, just because, whereas 1-2-4 is better where strength is concerned, 4 being aggregate. Cement binds to the aggregate and makes a stronger concrete. Harder to finish, though, too much stone. Have to work it more to get the floatable stuff to come to the surface. The finisher might have to spend half the day there instead of pouring at 8 AM and going home at 9AM.

BUT you guys know more about that than I do.

ALL concrete contains "lime". That is what you get when you roast limestone, and all the crap that the steelmills put in the blast furnaces is coke, iron ore, and limestone. The **** that comes out is almost all cementite, or whatever you want to call it. All it needs is pulverizing and further roasting.

Cheers,

George

J Tiers
07-19-2011, 09:00 AM
Squareness in the architecture was a STYLE, derived from Bauhaus sources, going back to the 1920s in Germany. That style didn't have to be square, but square is functional in architecture.... even with a plastic medium like concrete, moldable into ANY shape, square is very common.

One big feature of the style was simplicity..... see below.

It was not solely derived from a desire to build as cheaply as possible, unless you are discussing the Soviet Union and "East Bloc", in which case you would be more correct.

Even there, it was a recognizable style, and the features we do not like about it are just the very ones that the Soviets LIKED. it made the person an unimportant small piece of a larger organism. "Brutalism" is one way to look at and name it.

"Democratic" styles tend to include hypostyle halls, columns, and various other symbolic representations of "working together" as opposed to "functioning" as a tiny and unimportant cog. and smaller features as well.

That symbolism is actually important, although many will "blow it off". One can really call the large featureless buildings "totalitarian" in style, as that is their actual meaning as a form and building.

I don't know that a "totalitarian" style is a good style for public housing, unless your intent is to "suppress the proletariat"..... That may well have been in the back of the minds of some..... but I cannot prove it.

The STYLE as practised in the west is characterised by relatively simple forms. Inevitably that is going to involve somewhat featureless buildings, at least on a small scale.

A lot of buildings in that STYLE look very good, design-wise, when viewed as if they were a table-top model. The scale of a person in that view varies from an ant to a small grain of sand in relative size to the model.

The buildings tend to show a complete lack of interesting detail from the perspective of a person near them. They are large, depersonalizing, and minimize the importance of people as a feature of the "landscape".

That was, as I have reason to KNOW as one who actually took some courses in an architecture school IN the 1970s, a *deliberate choice* of the designers. They had a horror of, and were repulsed by, anything smaller than maxi-scale as far as a feature. They appeared to barely tolerate doors and windows, the scale of which is difficult to change effectively.

I got yelled at by design professors for including smaller "people-scale" detail, which is one reason (among many others) why I went to engineering school and did not pursue architecture.


This thread is about squareness architecture in the 60's, 70's, 80's. Not how strong concrete is in freezing weather conditions.

Go start another thread about that!!!!!

Bullcrap.

It's about architecture, and if you have any remote shred of knowledge about architecture, you CAN NOT split materials away from architecture.

We got off on a tangent with regard to what HAPPENS to the buildings that were made of modern concrete, which is the preferred material for the style you are so jealously striving to discuss. But that tangent was relevant to the place this discussion was at.....

I have discussed straight architecture enough right here already in this thread so that you have ZERO RIGHT to accuse me of hijacking the subject. Save that for Evan and GMATOV, who are going somewhere else with it.

lazlo
07-19-2011, 10:31 AM
But Japanese smiths refuse to use modern tool steel, preferring the much inferior tamahagne bloom steel made from river sand, because tamahagne has hada -- the beautiful wood grain from the folding of high and low carbon steel into a homogeneous billet. Form over function."

I think I am going to call BS on that one. 40 years ago the Japanese made mild steel blades with low carbon steel body and high carbon steel cutting edge welded to it. VERY good steel edge, but little of it..

You're mixing several concepts. The Japanese smiths dump iron sand into the top of a very hot charcoal furnace -- the "tatara". Over the course of several days, the iron ore drips out and collects at the bottom. At the end of the 3 days, they break apart the clay furnace, and at the bottom you'll find the tamahagne bloom -- it looks like a big meteorite.

They break it up with a sledgehammer, and sort the pieces according to carbon content. Then they stack chips of high carbon tamahagne on a paddle, slowly forge weld it together into a billet, folding and forging welding over many heats to drive out impurities and homogenize the carbon content. Then they do the same for the low carbon tamahagne.

http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u15/rtgeorge_album/Katana/tamahagne2.jpg

It's the forge welding, folding, and re-welding of the tamahagne chips that makes the beautiful hada ("wood grain") pattern in the steel. Totally unnecessary and anachronistic with modern tool steel, but tool steel doesn't have hada. Form over function.

Oh, and the low carbon steel body and the high carbon steel blade is one of several katana construction techniques -- it's called kobuse-gitae. Western 'smiths call it a "hot dog in a bun weld": you slit the low carbon billet, spread it open like a hot dog bun, insert a high carbon steel wedge, and forge weld the whole thing together.

I have a bunch of pictures I'll post when I finish my katana.

dp
07-19-2011, 11:12 AM
Yeah, welcome back, DiP****. You are about as smart as "Sponge Bob".GOTTA be Carter who ****ed YOU out of your life savings, don't it. Get a ****ing life.

George - this thread is about architecture, not Carter. I did not judge Carter when referencing the period of his presidency. I actually had greater losses during Nixon's administration than Carter's, but that does not change the fact that our economy tanked in the 70's during the Carter years, remained sluggish into the 1980's when the recovery began. It doesn't matter who was president at the time. You remain a bitter, brittle-hearted bastard, George, and a blight to this bbs.

dp
07-19-2011, 11:23 AM
Stroll up and down this street, looking left and right, and you will see the kind of austere, low-budget architecture I have described. Some of these have been reworked to be more presentable since being built, but most not. These are from the post Boeing Bust years following 1968.

This is a decaying industrial park area of Bellevue that is principally single-story structures, some slab-built, some poured in place, others "poored" in place.

And speaking of slab construction - that is another practice that was raging in the period stated in the OP.

None of this can be called Brutalist architecture. There is no art found here except the art of saving a buck.

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=47.621612,-122.166853&spn=0.017761,0.048409&t=h&z=15&layer=c&cbll=47.621856,-122.167037&panoid=0CCv6lii4exEt9O6n0O2Ug&cbp=12,359.48,,0,0.08

x39
07-19-2011, 05:46 PM
I have a bunch of pictures I'll post when I finish my katana.
That should be very interesting, I look forward to seeing them.

DougC_582
07-19-2011, 06:17 PM
The glass-box style of buildings in the 1970's-1980's was more about cheap design and construction methods than anything else.

And yes it is true: "stylist" architects like Frank Lloyd Wright tend to produce visually striking buildings that have rather poor functionality when you start poking around in the details.

I was told once that Frank Ghery is something of a standout in this regard.

The problems that are typical with anything he designs would be lawsuit material for any regular architectural firm. And he sues the building owners if they try to fix his mistakes!

gwilson
07-19-2011, 06:45 PM
Matov,what are you drinking? Damascus blades (should properly be called "watered steel" because it has NOTHING to do with the REAL Damascus steel) are not as soft as aluminum foil.

I don't make "Damascus" blades(my journeyman Jon makes a lot),because they are mostly good for cutting flesh,with their hard and soft layers. Their hard layers can be just as hard as the smith wants them to be.

"Damascus" steel as we know it,springs from earlier European efforts to reproduce Wootz steel,which they never discovered how to make. They ended up making gun barrels out of it. In the 70's or 80's,some scientists finally figured out how to make Wootz.

You really make a jerk out of yourself by jumping in with a load of foul language. Why is that necessary in order to make your point?

J Tiers
07-19-2011, 10:06 PM
Stroll up and down this street, looking left and right, and you will see the kind of austere, low-budget architecture I have described. Some of these have been reworked to be more presentable since being built, but most not. These are from the post Boeing Bust years following 1968.
None of this can be called Brutalist architecture. There is no art found here except the art of saving a buck.


Ah, well THAT is a completely different issue......

Those buildings are "engineer-designed", "built by the mile and cut off in sizes as needed". Some of them may even be "tilt-up" buildings, where slabs are literally tilted up into place to form the walls.

The means differ, but the result is similar to ordinary square brick buildings of an earlier era, and related building types even farther back.

ordinary cheap commercial rental space, or maybe even built for a company to use for their own purposes. No need for anything but utility, and in THIS case, of course, lowest cost per square foot.

I doubt that prevailing economic conditions affect that type construction very much, other than affecting the total quantity built per year.

I wouldn't consider that type of building much of anything stylistically, just a faint reminder of the general style of "designed" buildings of the time, watered down to the lowest cost. Current times have their own version of this, as did the 30's, 40's, 50's etc.

Cheap commercial space only vaguely reflects the prevailing styles. In some cases it develops into a 'cheap commercial style" of its own, often depending on the currently in-vogue materials. Materials, and tilt-up panels, tend to be turned out by the acre to suit the volume of building being done, and you see the same stuff everywhere.

Just remember the popularity of dark wood shakes in some building types, and the "fake mansard roof" in others. The swooping copper entry-way roof had a fairly long run as well.

You need to look at "designed" buildings to develop a feeling for the actual "style of the times".

.RC.
07-20-2011, 01:03 AM
Bullcrap.

It's about architecture, and if you have any remote shred of knowledge about architecture, you CAN NOT split materials away from architecture.



Think what you liked, but my post stopped the bitch slapping contest...

dp
07-20-2011, 01:11 AM
Ah, well THAT is a completely different issue......

Than what? The OP didn't give any examples. He just said squarish and when.

That leaves us all to draw from our own locals. Apparently for some of your locals you have a lot of Frank Lloyd Wright structures to draw from. Here we have austerity mandated by the economic vagaries of the time.

But - while I have drawn from the economic constraints regarding architecture I have been a student of architecture for some time and know that when the collapse in 1929 occured, quite another thing happened with architecture.

The Art Deco era flourished.
http://images.frontdoor.com/FDOOR/articles/Architecture-Images/ArtDeco.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b3/Marlin_Hotel_Art_Deco.jpg/684px-Marlin_Hotel_Art_Deco.jpg

http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/images/9amigos/2009/03/08/artdeco_ct.jpg?maxWidth=500

This is thought gaudy by many, but this is Gaudi:
http://www.visualbraingravity.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/gaudiarc-500x348.jpg

dp
07-20-2011, 01:11 AM
And this:
http://www.river-design.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/img_3590.jpg

dfw5914
07-20-2011, 01:21 AM
Art Deco Rocks!

Black_Moons
07-20-2011, 01:35 AM
And this:
*snip*

Wow, thats awsome. Nice flowing curves contrasting the glass work.

dp
07-20-2011, 02:05 AM
Wow, thats awsome. Nice flowing curves contrasting the glass work.

Visit Barcelona, Spain to see the full if not strange Gaudi influence on architecture. It isn't all beautiful but it is all amazing. Gaudi, of course, is not Art Deco - didn't want to confuse.

J Tiers
07-20-2011, 08:41 AM
Art Deco was a simplification and reaction to "art nouveau", and predates the depression..... it began at nearly the same time as "bauhaus", the 1920s. Post 1929, it persisted, but it didn't "start" then.

Nouveau was natural forms, like the typical Tiffany lamp with tree trunk base and "stained glass" shade.

Deco was a "modern" style, post war, with completely different linear forms, clean curves, etc. Much further toward the later adopted bauhaus.

You have to look at it as a radical reaction to the "busy" nouveau, as opposed to looking back and considering it a much "busier" style than the 1970s, or whatever. At the time, it was unheard-of, "new", "cool", a "cleaner" style, including more massive block styles as opposed to the detailed nouveau.

The scale of detail in Deco is much larger than in Nouveau. just as the size of detail in 1950s to 1970's (or whatever) Bauhaus influenced architecture is far larger than in Deco. You can, if you are indeed a "student of architecture" see the progression.

As for "not specified" building types, refer to my earlier post..... cheap construction is cheap construction, and low rent commercial space is NOT the place to look for the "style of the times" in architecture.

If that is what you were referring to earlier, you should have given examples to clarify.... "architecture" without qualifications tends to mean the most prominent and "style setting" buildings of the time.

gwilson
07-20-2011, 08:48 AM
Art Deco partly sprang from the finding of King Tut's tomb,and was influenced by ancient Egyptian art. It was also based upon using "machine like" components in design,if you get my point. It was also a reaction to Art Nouveau,but things were more complex than that alone.

aboard_epsilon
07-20-2011, 09:20 AM
I like Art Deco ..

Think in the in the case art deco concrete buildings, they are still with us today ...because it was never bare concrete ..the concrete was painted ..painting concrete goes a long way to make it look a lot more pleasing to the eye...and stops the weathering ..me thinks.

they should start a campaign to paint every concrete structure .

all the best.markj

dp
07-20-2011, 10:42 AM
If that is what you were referring to earlier, you should have given examples to clarify.... "architecture" without qualifications tends to mean the most prominent and "style setting" buildings of the time.

Hello? So far I'm among the very few that has actually provided imagery, and I've attempted to be abundantly clear and consistent in my descriptions. Why do you return to ad hominem comments with each post, Jerry? It brings the whole discussion down. This entire thread began without examples and the discussion has ranged now from brutalist to Bauhaus almost to trailer trash.

There's nothing wrong with that but you continue to single me out. Let it go. I'd hoped George B had weeded out this kind of bs. You and gmatov are still unable to play well in mixed company.

.RC.
07-20-2011, 05:37 PM
I find the art deco look, beautiful but scary at the same time... I think a lot of that is because you see a lot of art deco buildings in a decayed state... Plus also you can see the Victorian style in art deco..

J Tiers
07-20-2011, 08:05 PM
Hello? So far I'm among the very few that has actually provided imagery, and I've attempted to be abundantly clear and consistent in my descriptions. Why do you return to ad hominem comments with each post, Jerry? It brings the whole discussion down. This entire thread began without examples and the discussion has ranged now from brutalist to Bauhaus almost to trailer trash.

There's nothing wrong with that but you continue to single me out. Let it go. I'd hoped George B had weeded out this kind of bs. You and gmatov are still unable to play well in mixed company.


Wow, you DO seem rather over-sensitive...... we, or at least, "I" had no idea you were referring to cheapo commercial buildings...... So I said so, and said it because if I HAD known, I wouldn't have bothered to comment at all, since it simply wasn't what I was talking about.

I fail entirely to see how that could be in any way ad-hominem...... It certainly wasn't intended as such....

I have better things to do than follow you around "singling you out"..... And in fact I don't do that. I do reserve the right to reply "to" you if you post a reply to me, which is normally identified as a reply if you quote me, or refer to a statement of mine without an actual quote block.

If you choose to feel that is "singling you out", I am afraid that your thin skin may not be a good fit for a forum such as this, or for many others.

Please review the offensive and directly, blatantly "ad hominem" comments you yourself have made..... IN THIS THREAD. And then review your wholesale condemnation of me....

Can we get back to architecture now?

J Tiers
07-20-2011, 08:14 PM
Art Deco partly sprang from the finding of King Tut's tomb,and was influenced by ancient Egyptian art. It was also based upon using "machine like" components in design,if you get my point. It was also a reaction to Art Nouveau,but things were more complex than that alone.

Yes, there was a lot of what could be called "Egyptian influence", although I think it was not really very "Egyptian" when it got into the buildings.... I don't know that the quasi-craftsman style Deco lamps and the urns and "fake open fire bowl" lights are very egyptian. Perhaps in intent, likely less so in actual representation. Maxfield Parrish paintings likewise.

These things tend to follow one another and each is different, easily identified in contrast to prior styles, and incompatible with whatever went just before.

The *difference* is the message, in general. Whether this is from a crass desire to sell new stuff by making the existing things "out of style", or a real societal boredom with the current style, is probably open to debate. Either way it DOES sell new stuff.

it still goes on...... The avocado green of earlier appliances has come back for a few minutes, but it is a new shade that looks horrible next to the old one. Styles of clothing do similar things.

I used to know the owner of a design firm in Chicago, who was on the "color committee", the folks who actually DECIDED what colors would be "in" and what would not...... It would be "telling" to explain what he said, but it boils down to ensuring total incompatibility with past things in order to boost sales. And bringing things BACk in ways that absolutely ensure that new versions will make the original still look totally out of style.

Architecture is not immune..... A company with headquarters built in a formerly trendy style, 35 years ago, will feel pressure to "update their image".... and have a new building in a CURRENTLY trendy style...... which will look like everything else now being built, (and is probably an obsolete style before the materials are ordered for construction).

Vide: Art Nouveau, >> Craftsman>> Art Deco, >> 1950's modernism/Bauhaus/Brutalism/whatever >>> *whatever we have now* (I don't know if it has a style or a name, but it's different)

"Craftsman style is probably not a linear progression, but a side-step, but the point remains...... the three important things about a new style are difference, difference, and difference (from prior styles).

PeteF
07-20-2011, 08:29 PM
Firstly, I can't help but see the irony that a member on this thread left this forum amongst much fanfare, swearing never to return. Although the tantrum was highly amusing at the time, to be honest, as history records ... nobody really gave a toss. However the parting comments it included a broad brush insulting generalisation as to the general intelligence of the board members. Now I see that member is back, and after a few tentative posts, is launching yet again :rolleyes:

As much as it's fascinating to see people make complete dicks of themselves discussing structural engineering, a topic they clearly know absolutely NOTHING about, RC, in an attempt to get the thread back on topic, yes I see your original point with regards industrial design. My take on it is the move to "squareness" coincided with a similar trend in other areas of design at that time and made the machines look more contemporary. Since then I feel it simply comes down to cost. However I think it's wrong to extrapolate the cost rationale out into other areas as a way of explanation. For some years I travelled up to Denmark at least once a year just to look at design. I'm not an architect. I'm not an industrial designer. I'm no expert in any of this (no I didn't once visit a castle and therefore declare myself an expert in medieval engineering!). I just happen to like GOOD design. So what is "good"? Well in my eyes it's the timeless combination of form AND function, something the Danes are extraordinarily good at within the industrial arena.

There have been many examples of "square" buildings posted that represent poor design. However there have been countless others, with a similar angular approach, that are brilliant. Personally I can't stand Art Deco design, it is to me extraordinarily ugly with countless cliched replications of the same theme. Of course there was also examples of design brilliance. However it's simply a case of personal preference. Some men prefer blondes, some redheads, some brunettes ... some all of the above ;)

I will be designing my next house myself and keep a folder of "good ideas" I've seen from all sorts of sources for inspiration. It will be of angular, minimalist appearance yet I would hope won't be anything like the "square boxes" some despise, nor will it be impractical or essentially unliveable simply to achieve the desired form. It's not easy. Good design never is.

Pete

dp
07-20-2011, 09:27 PM
And now here's PeteF, the third of the holy trinity of hate. Smell blood, Pete? So now Jerry, George, and Pete have taken a shot at me for no apparent reason. Hey Pete - good enough evidence that my reason for walking away from this place to the curb was well-founded?

George B did a good job of ridding this place of unneeded anger and I thought it worth another try, but he still has work to do. I suggest you all ignore me going forward and I'll return the favor.

And if you'll all excuse me, I'm going to flag this thread to the moderator as containing unwarranted and unwelcome attempts to start a flame war.

PeteF
07-20-2011, 09:42 PM
And now here's PeteF, the third of the holy trinity of hate. Smell blood, Pete? So now Jerry, George, and Pete have taken a shot at me for no apparent reason. Hey Pete - good enough evidence that my reason for walking away from this place to the curb was well-founded?

George B did a good job of ridding this place of unneeded anger and I thought it worth another try, but he still has work to do. I suggest you all ignore me going forward and I'll return the favor.

And if you'll all excuse me, I'm going to flag this thread to the moderator as containing unwarranted and unwelcome attempts to start a flame war.

You're kidding right? It is YOU Dennis who introduced politics, of all things, into a thread about design. It was YOU Dennis who introduced a whole level of "hate" in to the thread. It was YOU Dennis who introduced the anger. Do you see a common denominator here? What is it with you and politics anyway. I don't even live in the US and have absolutely zero interest in one US political party over another. I have even less interest in your opinion of one or the other. When you made your grand departure you made some rather insulting comments towards members, now you decide it's time to come back and expect everyone has forgotten about it. Well here's the news Dennis, this is STILL a board on machining, nothing has changed. As you see, the same members are STILL here and have about the same tolerance for your antics as they had previously. Now if you have some intelligent comments to make toward, in this case, design, let's hear it. If not, then I suggest you take some of your own advice you so generously dispensed as to what George and the rest of us could do with this board.

Now, can we PLEASE get back to a discussion on design?

Pete

aostling
07-20-2011, 09:46 PM
Stroll up and down this street, looking left and right
http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=47.621612,-122.166853&spn=0.017761,0.048409&t=h&z=15&layer=c&cbll=47.621856,-122.167037&panoid=0CCv6lii4exEt9O6n0O2Ug&cbp=12,359.48,,0,0.08

I see the enduring ugliness of Bel-Red Road. This is where the Yamaha motorcycle shop was when I bought an SR500 in 1978. The Oroweat bakery outlet seems to be mercifully gone. My mother was too cheap to buy fresh bread, and always went there for the three-day-old loaves.

dp
07-21-2011, 12:03 AM
I see the enduring ugliness of Bel-Red Road. This is where the Yamaha motorcycle shop was when I bought an SR500 in 1978. The Oroweat bakery outlet seems to be mercifully gone. My mother was too cheap to buy fresh bread, and always went there for the three-day-old loaves.

And exactly why the OP appeared to me to perfectly describe the area. It was a difficult time to make a buck, and so many good engineers from Boeing hitting the streets at the same time created a market for this kind of structure. And as you surely must recall, Bell-Red is but a small example of this austere architecture in the area. Definitely not Bauhaus, Brutalist, or other inspired form.

J Tiers
07-21-2011, 12:07 AM
And as you surely must recall, Bell-Red is but a small example of this austere architecture in the area. Definitely not Bauhaus, Brutalist, or other inspired form.

Nope that's for sure.....

just plain put-it-up-cheap commercial buildings, same as has gone on for as long as there have BEEN commercial buildings.

No particular "style", although usually there is a "nod" to the currently popular style, if you look hard for it... mostly because the 'designer" needs to make it look a little bit "modern".

People have probably been saying what you said about that type of building for 200 or 300 years.

PeteM
07-21-2011, 12:40 AM
Braun was once (late 60's) the influential darling of industrial design and pretty much dedicated to elegant square boxes:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braun_%28company%29

dp
07-21-2011, 01:09 AM
Nope that's for sure.....

just plain put-it-up-cheap commercial buildings, same as has gone on for as long as there have BEEN commercial buildings.

No particular "style", although usually there is a "nod" to the currently popular style, if you look hard for it... mostly because the 'designer" needs to make it look a little bit "modern".

People have probably been saying what you said about that type of building for 200 or 300 years.

Jerry - go back to the OP. The question is not that there are these kinds of buildings, but a question about why, in the given time frame, were there so many. I've tried to answer the why. My answer? The economy. It is a very pragmatic analysis - in austere times we cut back. That was my answer. Others dragged out Bauhaus, from an era far precedent from the 1970s and 1980s, and other influences, none of which made a dent in the time frame in the OP. I focused like a laser beam on the OP perfectly and you disqualify my response as if I were somehow obliged to fall lockstep into any other notion of the OP than my own interpretation. Where did that requirement come from? Not the OP. And to disambiguate - I'm using OP as Original Poster and Original Post I hope in a way such that the context is clear.

So you sidetracked the conversation by playing the political card. I mentioned the Carter years, you played the political card. If I had said "The Ming Dynasty", the perfect equivalent, would that have been political? No. If I had said "The Kennedy Years" would that have been political? No. If I had said "The Jurasic" would that have been political? Of course not. These are equivalent event identifiers. Each of these tags identify a time in our lives or a notable time in history. Only you, Gmatov, and PeteF reacted politically. And you say I'm thin skinned?

I really do try to like you because when you're not loony like this you are genuinely interested in a good range of topics and can be interesting. Why you leap to these ad hominem interjections without basis I'm unable to understand, but you do so reliably. Why? (Rhetorical, don't answer). I know why Gmatov does it, I know why PeteF does it, but you stump me.

PeteF
07-21-2011, 01:42 AM
Dennis, a lot of these angular architectural designs were far from "economical" in design and construction. People are zooming in on buildings where function/cost was clearly of prime importance and extrapolating that out to other areas to support their case, and I personally don't think that's always valid.

RC used an example of the cars from that era, it costs virtually no more to stamp out panels for a car with smooth flowing lines as to stamp them with much harsher and sharper lines. Furthermore, the auto designers are tasked with basically needing to change the physical appearance of their products in order to force redundancy into their previous designs, thus stimulating further demand. With that in mind we've seen the wheel turn several times in terms of general themes of body shape in this particular field. Back in to the world of machinery design, I agree, it's difficult to ignore the cost argument. Given that there is (arguably) no strong influence in the overall community in terms of design (compared to say the Art Deco era), I can't see there's a strong case for manufacturers to change away from the angular designs they've been building for the past 30 years.

Pete

J Tiers
07-21-2011, 08:46 AM
Dennis:

honestly, I do not "get" you.......

I am STILL not attacking you........ And I am STILL not making "ad hominem abusive" posts.......

In fact, it is you who have changed the discussion from architecture to personalities.

I am done with this side issue, but just so we don't re-write history to suit aourselves....... Here is the actual "OP" (original post)


Upon reading that thread about modern attitudes and old buildings it made me think about architecture in the 70's and 80's and the god awful fascination they had with sharp corners and squares/rectangles..

Why was it we went from smooth curves all the way through history until the 70's and 80's then all of a sudden these boxes started appearing.... And they appeared everywhere... Buildings, cars, even machine tools went from looking aesthetically pleasing to awful..

Was it because back in those days computer design was taking over and the computers of the day could not handle curves due to modest computing power? Or did squares seem modern?

As far as I can see, there is nothing there that focuses on cheap-ass commercial buildings...... it is a wide-ranging post covering architecture, machine tools, and cars.

And, just as obviously, IMO, it seems to DIRECTLY target the "styling" of the day, since "styling" impacts everything from refrigerators to skyscrapers. And includes architecture, machine tools, and cars.

I am sorry to say that your "laser-beam targeting" appears to have missed..... and I am puzzled as to why you have attacked those who have discussed the "styling" issue that seems to be clear in the "O.P.".

In any case, PeteF seems to have it...... People are no longer influenced by "fresh, new" styling as much as they were, and "retro" is considered "cool", showing no sign of dying off. So why change?

Not only that, but automotive "styling" in particular, has been substantially overtaken by practical issues of wind resistance, so "style" issues must first pass a practicality test before they can be considered. There is only so much you can do with a streamlined shape..... and you have to have that, to a goodly extent, the boxy Scion and that other one notwithstanding. (BTW, in those you can see a "reaction" against the streamlined practical shapes)

Buildings are now "cool" if they are 'LEED", more so than if they are a special style of design.

This is not to say that cars and buildings will not change shape..... I expect they will. But what is "new" now has a much shorter life as a "new" thing than it would have 100 years ago. Everyone sees it almost as soon as it appears. That makes a "styling trend" shorter, and the "new" thing old much faster.

At some point, that makes "new styling" almost irrelevant, aside from short-lived items like clothing.

dp
07-21-2011, 09:10 AM
Dennis:

honestly, I do not "get" you.......

I am STILL not attacking you........ And I am STILL not making "ad hominem abusive" posts.......

In fact, it is you who have changed the discussion from architecture to personalities.

Jerry - you brought the thread off the rails with this crazy and false ad hominem:

However, despite your unfortunate politicizing of this discussion

This in response to my mentioning "The Carter Years", a period of time in our own lifetimes. It was no more political than the other examples (Ming dynasty) I suggested. I did not comment on Carter himself and had no interest in Carter. I don't even think about Carter.

J Tiers
07-21-2011, 11:00 PM
Well, there is always ignoring it....... No one poster can "force" the thread "off the rails".

It takes two, and I am done being one of them here........ bye-bye

Evan
07-21-2011, 11:53 PM
no I didn't once visit a castle and therefore declare myself an expert in medieval engineering!

Neither have I, either one. I have however visited quite a few castles and studied the subject as well. While it doesn't make me an expert apparently I know more than you.

PeteF
07-22-2011, 12:03 AM
Neither have I, either one. I have however visited quite a few castles and studied the subject as well. While it doesn't make me an expert apparently I know more than you.


WTF? Yes Evan I'm sure you're an expert in medieval engineering, I wouldn't expect you to claim anything else, at least not while Google is online. But perhaps you could be so kind as to explain what your pointless post has to do with squareness in the 70's/80's?

Evan
07-22-2011, 12:06 AM
It has nothing to do with the topic but then neither does the quote I replied to.

BWS
07-22-2011, 07:28 AM
Gotta say,its been an interesting thread.......watching/reading machinist's discussing architecture.

One sm clue;when discussing a "period" rm,WRT its correctness(all matching the same time period/style),why has the general concensus drifted twds....."its OK to have a mixed or blend of periods"?

Answer that,and you'll be on your way to understanding the notions set forth in the OP......Pathelogical fallacy aside.Otherwise,keep up the good work!BW

J Tiers
07-22-2011, 08:30 AM
Gotta say,its been an interesting thread.......watching/reading machinist's discussing architecture.

One sm clue;when discussing a "period" rm,WRT its correctness(all matching the same time period/style),why has the general concensus drifted twds....."its OK to have a mixed or blend of periods"?



The bulk of people here are probably NOT machinists, nor architects, but we have some of both. I would bet we have some Art History degrees in the lot, and some artists (meaning folks who make their living by art).

It's always dangerous to discuss things authoritatively when you are not sure if the audience includes folks whose dissertation involved the subject.....:D

As for the question, it's interesting..... probably the speed of communication is part of it, with trends becoming "old and tired" much faster.

Then also we have become somewhat tired of the unending rat race towards what is "new", both psychologically, and economically "tired" of it.

"Modern" has been thoroughly overworked as a concept, and lots of people do not see "modern" as a benefit in and of itself. It used to be "defined as" *good*. Now it can be seen as just more pollution.

With a number of very valid and arguably attractive styles to choose from, it is inevitable that many new styles will become somewhat "derivative".

And many old buildings still stand, in various styles, keeping them in view. That can blunt the effect of other "new" styles, since they inevitably are somewhat derivative and less than perfectly "new".