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Why do the majority of the public prefer 'old' architecture?

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    And if most people prefer older styles of architecture why don't we return to designing buildings like we used to?

    I personally prefer older styles of architecture myself, especially Gothic/ Neo Gothic. Modern buildings (for the most part) just don't seem to have the elegance, intricacy and craftsmanship that older buildings have. They also don't seem to have the same capacity to last. For example, many buildings that were built in the 60s, 70s and 80s are being demolished after standing for only a fraction of the time Gothic, Tudor and Victorian buildings have stood. Whether this is because we decided they were hideous and needed to be pulled down or simply because they were poorly built/designed in the first place I don't know; probably a bit of both imo.

    Anyway, so what are your thoughts?
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    We like it because its rare and not replicable.

    In terms of why we don't any more... $$$. Take a look at pre-war St Cross college built before WW2 broke Britain versus, well, anything built in the 60s. Remember, anything that survived that long is going to be the best of the best in terms of architecture and hence very expensive.

    I think we'd all live in gothic castles if we could!
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    Elegance, intricacy and craftsmanship all cost money - it would make houses more difficult to build, would take longer and would require more expensive materials.
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    Plenty of victorian buildings were bulldozed in the 20th century that we'd now not even think about knocking down. Plenty of georgian buildings were flattened by the victorians and plenty of medieval ones by the former. People will keep going at post war architecture as well until it becomes rare enough or old enough to start capturing the publics imagination. It's arguably just starting to, with more and more 60s brutalist stuff being listed.
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    I'm not sure the public prefers 'old' architecture. They're far more interested in modern houses that can be found on those god-awful tv programs.
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    This is the discussion about modernist architecture being soul-less, appearing distant and intellectualised. Traditional stuff tends to feel warmer because of its origins and intentions. Plus, stone and wood look nicer and more impressive than steel and concrete.
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    Trends change but traditional houses that look good tend to always be popular with a large chunk of the population. Unfortunately many mock Victorian/Georgian housing estates built today tend to be a watered down version of traditional Victorian/Georgian style of housing. Some are done better than others, I sometimes feel it would not take much to have a bit more intracacy to the brickwork, i.e colour of brickwork, depth of brickwork, which would'nt cost particularly anything extra just a bit of thought. Instead you often get a flat brick wall all of the same colour brick with any brickwork features such as above windows just flush with the wall giving a very bland experience.

    For me its all about how a style of architecture makes you feel, traditional architecture tends to feel warm and inviting maybe grand or quaint so can lift the spirit to be amongst it. Brutalist Architecture I find can be foreboding, depressing, dull, drab maybe a bit heavy/clumsy looking or lacking in a look of quality so quite unpleasant to be amoung. I mean you wouldn't often find many people enjoying a drink in that environment compared to thatched cottages or old victorian buildings which tend to be far more scenic. Then there are the council houses of the 60's & 70's which tend to be quite dull and depressing to look at, many are in brick and a very watered down georgian style which has become so watered down it is almost unrecognisable so you are just left with a basic shape. Funnily enough the recent hab project by Kevin McCloud et al used this same georgian shape which has been synonumous with council housing since the 60's and 70's, efficient use of space I guess. Remember a number of years ago there was a program on TV about a group of people on the housing waiting list round the Birmingham area who learn't a trade so that they could build a group of homes in which to live. They decided to build mock Victorian style homes as they said that they did not want to build council style housing as it was easily identifiable as social housing and made them feel stigmatised and they liked the victorian style. Ended up with houses that looked decent enough like you would find on a typical private home owner housing estate, they seemed happy with thew outcome. Can't help feeling that having ionfluence on the style of housing is the way to go rather than having someone who is not going to live there decide what is right for them considering cost of course.

    What I guess I really find annoying is these Grand Design episodes where they just build a big white box of a building, thinking it is something new and marvellous that has not been done before when there is plenty of examples about that go way back. Don't they know they are just using commercial building materials hence the building they end up with will just look like an office block of some trading estate, its just plain ugly. I mean if they work in an office they might as well just put a mattress down at work and not bother going home the effect created would be the same and they would save a load of dosh. Personally I like the Grand Designs that feature traditional architecture the building design is usually far more thoughtful and they ususally end up with a building that looks beautiful.
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    If any really brutalist bars existed id deffo go to one for a drink!!
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    Research 'Blobism' and help the new generation of architects pave the future!
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    Niemeyer and Le Corbusier were obsessed with functionalism and considered it so successful because it ignored human sensations. Modernism was the beginning of architecture that lacked 'spirit' but this excited architects at the time because of its possibilities. Arrangement and practicalities were the prime concerns.

    I think however, that as these ideas have been filtered through the decades, many new architects are self proclaimed modernists that lack little understanding of aesthetics or of the psychological effects of them. Although Le Corbusier claimed his buildings were a result only of their function, his training at art school was grounded in the understanding of aesthetics, he could never have designed an offensive building because his design process would not have allowed it. Old buildings are respected because of their noble human principles. People happily identify themselves with the warmth and complexity with the materials in old buildings, with the well mannered facades of classical architecture. An architecture of function could be portrayed as rude if it lacks any manner to the street it fronts.

    Many architecture schools nowadays totally disregard the need for beautiful architecture, the reason why we end up with so many ugly buildings. It is too easy to become an architect nowadays, you can't create functionalism until you understand aesthetics.
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    I'm not in an architect: but I can tell you, I am really fed up with modern architecture. I know that 99% of my friends, the other 1% being an architect, completely agree with me. if you guys are architecture students, please listen. The public are fed up with your elaborate artistic justifications for a pile of steel and glass. The amount of crap buildings thrown up in London these days is atrocious. I do like the stuff in the City which makes an effort. But everywhere else in London it's just the most boring ugly crap.. let me give you some examples. The glass and plastic looking steel construction near Holborn, with the overhead bring under the road.... disgrace. Central St Giles, supposedly an example of 'innovative new architecture' and evidence that modern architecture isn't crap after all. Errrrrrr... come on. At most, it deserves five out of ten.

    I'm not willing to entertain some dull argument that architects generally give when these basic truths are raised. Typically they involve the word 'pastiche' a lot and some other drivel recited from architecture school..... it is scary how indoctrinated you guys get there. For god's sake just build some nice buildings - the public can't deal with 1 out of every 100 buildings being good, with the other 99 being average to absolutely awful
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    I composed a nice little reply, but then my computer presented me with the blue screen of death.

    'modernist architecture' is considered a failure, that's why it's not being made any more, for the reasons you alluded to. function was championed above all else, and a fundamental human need- to live in a nice looking environment- was ignored.

    I suppose you can't really go back to making buildings that look like nice Georgian stately homes, or Gothic cathedrals, because those buildings served a purpose, which is different from that of the sky scrappers etc being made today. There's always going to be an element of 'big honking great sheets of glass and concrete' in a skyscraper.

    i'm not for or against contemporary architecture btw.
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    I agree, I think most of the lecturers are have learn't architecture from the 60's onwards which is perhaps all they know, for the older ones it was a time when 'new' and 'exciting' ways of doing things were around which was all the rage, to younger lecturers its all they were taught by these older lecturers so it is all they know, to go against all they know and strike to look at traditional architecture for many would leave them feeling all at sea. Hence, the younger generation are also being taught all about modern architecture and little of traditional architecture, you try finding a design tutor that knows/teaches traditional architecture, they are a rare find today if not impossible. Many architecture students are more interested in traditional architecture than modern but after three years of being taught modern it is all they know. Plus I think there is a tendancy for many to go with the crowd, many on here will like traditional architecture but in uni and industry the mode is for modern architecture and it comes across as almost hereacy not to propose a modern architecure solution to a project. To some extent there are something to be learned from modern architecture, clean lines, flat surfaces, quality of finish, smooth curves and a need to consider elegance in design. Unfortunately, following these teachings does not often produce a beautiful building at least as far as Joe public are concerned but I guess Architects of see them as beautiful as they conform to the above said teachings so to them are elegant, clean buildings even if to us they look dull and ugly or blob shaped if done for design project purposes. Shame more lecturers don't try traditional architecture since many of the lessons of modern architecture date back traditional architecture and a few more besides.
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    I guess I will have to be the lone voice of the modernist movement but I prefer contemporary architecture. The idea that modern architecture is functionalist by default is simply wrong, obviously you can take examples like brutalism (which I like btw) but a good deal of modern architecture is form over function. The Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT springs to mind but it's only one of thousands of provocative and artistic modern buildings I prefer to older architecture
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    i do.
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    We've got a bit of a cultural thing against pulling down old crap imo... Possibly it's down to the second world war and the destruction of cities during the blitz.

    People certainly seem to like ornamentation on the outside of large buildings, maybe they appreciate the concession being made to the people who have to look at something that's been imposed on them, especially these days when they're unlikely to be allowed inside.
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    (Original post by Chucklefiend)
    And if most people prefer older styles of architecture why don't we return to designing buildings like we used to?

    I personally prefer older styles of architecture myself, especially Gothic/ Neo Gothic. Modern buildings (for the most part) just don't seem to have the elegance, intricacy and craftsmanship that older buildings have. They also don't seem to have the same capacity to last. For example, many buildings that were built in the 60s, 70s and 80s are being demolished after standing for only a fraction of the time Gothic, Tudor and Victorian buildings have stood. Whether this is because we decided they were hideous and needed to be pulled down or simply because they were poorly built/designed in the first place I don't know; probably a bit of both imo.

    Anyway, so what are your thoughts?
    why would we abandon the advanced modern technology and go back to old less functional and costly desgines, get a grip:mad:
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    I love old buildings, if only because they're old.

    The Buttercross in the middle of my town is 400 years old... imagine all the things that occurred whilst it's been standing. The English civil war raged, Great Britain was made, the USA popped into being, Nelson was killed at Trafalgar etc etc.

    I just love that! We're so lucky in this country, the US doesn't have such a wonderful background of history.
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    Modern architecture appeals much more to me.
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    I prefer contemporary buildings.

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Updated: August 5, 2012
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