Friday, October 23, 2009

Sub Modern (Part Two)

More International Style homage, with curtain wall wrap-arounds. More ugliness.  Does this building harbor residences, offices, or civic endeavors?  Modernism's extreme formality eschews the value of distinguishability.

But back to the impoverishment of architecture (see Sub Modern Part One), and the alibis of the art agnostics: "It's too expensive to build the old way".

It isn't necessarily "too" expensive, but choicer materials and refined finishes cost more, regardless of style.  Once consumers, the consortiums, civic leaders, university regents, and mom 'n' pop home buyers accepted minimal forms, be they graph paper-y skyscrapers, or the mass produced post-war housing of Levittown, the die was cast.  
Assembly line home building, minimal ersatz, and the machine aesthetic would forever be promoted, the sometimes lesser 
costs hailed; the traditional picturesque dismissed, as impractical, even vulgar.

When did simplicity become a correlate of potency?



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