Fine Art Tuesday

The Stahl House. Photo by Pierre Koenig, from "Case Study House No. 22". You have to work very hard indeed to make Modern Architecture look this good.

(I almost missed it again. There seems to be a mental block forming on the subject.)

Today’s subject is architecture, and I want to discuss Modern Architecture – and why it sucks.

Rejecting ornament and embracing minimalism, Modernism became the single most important new style or philosophy of architecture and design of the 20th century. It was associated with an analytical approach to the function of buildings, a strictly rational use of (often new) materials, structural innovation and the elimination of ornament.

Royal Institute of British Architects,

Modernism, as it’s also known, for the most part, rejects the entire human history of architecture. Embracing minimalism with a nearly religious fervor, it strips away all ornament and leaves us with straight lines, 90o angles, and if we’re good little boys and girls, a few curves. It is almost strict constructed of “modern” materials, meaning the warmth and glow of wood is missing. I find it sterile. It’s the architecture of government bureaucrats.

Featureless, boxy and monolithic, it seems to be custom-made to put people in their place – subservient to the buildings. This turns the reason we build building in the first place, which is to serve human needs, on it’s head. Rather than being something adapted to local conditions, such as the pueblos of the Southwestern US, it plops down wherever it’s placed and attempts to command the view through its simple and basic monstrosity.

The Tour Maine-Montparnasse a 210 meter office skyscraper located in the Montparnasse area of Paris, France. 

Face it, have you ever looked at a piece of Modern Architecture and thought “How beautiful!” I doubt it. At most you notice it. Inwardly, perhaps even subconsciously, you shudder – because the damn thing looks like a Norman castle built in the English countryside to cow the Saxon rabble.

Seriously, please defend the unbelievably out of scale and out of place thing to the left. I’ll wait right here. Probably till I’m even older and grayer.

A plague on Modernists and their buildings.

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