Response06 : Postmodernism – Venturi’s theory

Architects can bemoan or try to ignore them (referring to the ornamental and decorative elements in buildings) or even try to abolish them, but they will not go away. Or they will not go away for a long time, because architects do not have the power to replace them (nor do they know what to replace them with).  ; Robert Venturi in Complecity and contradiction in architecture book

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As we know Modernism is using the concept of “Less is more”, “ form follow function” and “start from zero”, they believed that ornaments are surplus and non functional. The new trends became evident in the last of the 20th century. When people begin to get bored with the glass box thing and seem to think that its unwelcoming and unpleasant, this is how the postmodernism begun. Postmodern is the style that turned towards the past, quoting past aspects of various buildings and mixing them together to create a new means of designing buildings. The postmodern architects tried to rediscovered the expressive and symbolic value of architectural elements and forms that had been abandoned by the modern style.

Living in black and white world of modernism is way too boring and benumb, human also needs some color and new things in their lives. Robert Venturi, he is the one who add colors into the dull modern world; he tried to shows that the ornament can be functional and not a surplus with the theory of “ decorated shed”. For example the Duck house, the duck house is obviously show of its purposes, which is selling duck eggs by the form of the house that a duck shape.

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I agree with the Venturi’s idea that ornament can be part of the architecture, ornament can be more than just a decoration, its can show the identity, story and change the banal feeling of modernism buildings. I think architecture is a space that has to be attractive and also functional in the same time, so why we can’t put some attractiveness on to our buildings? Nowadays, buildings are less to give an identity because they still believed in less is more concept of modernism. They use their products or sign to show and represent what this building about behind the big plain glass instead of find a smart way of showing it with the architecture or a façade, it would be more pleasant than a glass box with the sign.

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Lastly, I think Venturi’s idea can give an erotic feeling because it attracted people with the exterior and made them wondering what is inside? This curiosity teases people to go in and explore new experiences, for me its erotic architecture.

 

 

Response05 : Modernism & Expressionism

Modernism is a style that focusing on pure form, simplicity, minimal and functional. It can be described with the quote “ Less is more “. Many architects are inspired from this style, for example Le Corbusier, Mies Van Der Rohe and Frank Lloyed Wright. They buildings can clearly see the structure, simple form, mass production material and pure function with no any background or history behind it, follow the quote by Gropius “ starting from zero ”.  One of the great examples for modernism is Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier. The villa is contain of simple form and pure function, following the five points of Le Corbusier which is the pillar must elevating the ground, free floor plan, horizontal windows, free design façade and roof garden. This villa later became the most famous building of Le Corbusier also the inspiration for international modernism nowadays. Everything in modernism is functional no ornamental or decoration.

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Expressionism is a style that is more than just a structure or function. But it got more stories and feeling of the architect behind, unlike the modernism which is just look hygienic and simply. One of the examples is the TWA terminal, by Eero Saanrinen. The building represent the movement of a huge bird in mid-air with its wings spread ready for landing, for me it gives more just a glass box. It has more curve line and shape that attractive and can expressing out the feeling inside the building. Another example is the Einstein Tower, by Erich Mendelsohn. Its very amazing that only a small sketch can create a functional tower.

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Personally I like modernism when it comes to appearance, it nice clean and simple. But expressionism is more than just these, it have stories, feelings and emotion that can create the building be more interesting, movement and attractive but still functional. For me if you’re creates thing with feeling, its profound.

 

 

Response04 : Le Corbusier – Playtime Movie

 Modern life demands, and is waiting for, a new kind of plan, both for the house and the city.- Le Corbusier

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Charles-Édouard Jeanneret or Le Corbusier was widely considered as one of the most influential architects of the 20th century, He is acknowledged with changing the face of urban architecture, bringing it into the technological age. Le Corbusier believed in the perfection of pure geometrics and proportions, his style was minimal, simple, functional and hygienic.

Le Corbusier felt that “ all men have the same needs,” and that a house should be “ a machine for living. ” which he expressed in one of his urban planning work, Plan Voisin in Paris (1925). The city would be no more overcrowded streets and sidewalks, no more untidy neighborhoods; people would live in clean and organized high-rise buildings with their own roof garden.

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 At first when I read Le Corbusier descriptions about his ideal city, it seems like I’m living in a peaceful city without any annoying crowded, unorganized circulation and brutal buildings. It would be nice if the city nowadays would be like this, but after I watched the movie called ‘Playtime’ by Jacques Tati that show us of what would it be like if this ideal city become real. I’ve changed my mind.

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 In the movie the city was full of glass and steel building which is look all the same, humans dressed in grey or beige color walking in predictable straight lines. Everything everyone and everywhere seem to look the same, no excitement, no more what represents the city of Paris except the old French lady selling flowers. The atmosphere was cold and depressed, people are lacking of imagination and motivation.

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Honestly I fell asleep after 20 minutes of the movie since it was very boring and less conversation, it reflected that even in the movie is this bored and how would it be if in the real city? For me I think we, human is a creature that full of desire. We need an excitement, experiences and colorfulness. We cannot live in the giant glass box with black/white things; it limits our imagination.

Last but not least, I think Le Corbusier is dictatorial a little about his belief that human is all the same need and try to organize the city in his own way. But however I still admired his creative mind that try to provide a better living condition to people and his unique raven look.

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Response03 : Mies van der Rohe – Pioneer of Modern Architecture

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            Ludwig Mies van de Rohe, a German architect, was widely acknowledged as one of the 20th century’s greatest architects. He believed that the more the building was shown to its essential structural and functional elements, the less unnecessary ornamented elements would be used. Mies was one of the few architects who got inspired by modernism, also known as those who avoid using ornaments and prefer the use of simplest, pure, functional form, and the use of honest materials for working class people.

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            One of his early projects, the Friedrichstrasse Office Building designed for the Friedrichstrasse Architecture Competition in 1921,was one of the most important structures in 20th century architecture. At that time, the design was the first modern structure of its kind. The building was designed to construct entirely from steel and glass. Unfortunately, his design did not win the competition so it was not contructed. One of Mies’s famous buildings was the Seagram Building in New York City. It is generally recognized as the finest example of skyscrapers in the International Style. The external design on the building’s faces were built by the quality of the materials used – the tinted glass and the bronze ‘ I – beams ’ was applied all the way up the building. This building was a headquarters of the Seagram & Sons Liquor Company, located in the heart of New York City. The bronze colored I – beams that is seen in the façade is nonstructural, but it was used to express the idea of the structural frame underneath the external skin.

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           I entirely understand what Mies van der Rohe was trying to express through his designs. Eventhough, the I – beams on the façade of the building do not act as a support. It barely even touches the ground. By that term, some may call it as an ornament, but I only see it as a part of the whole building’s structure. My definitions of ornaments are handcrafted façade or multi colors window. An I – beam that is consider being construction elements are not ornaments. Mies intention was only to show the construction that cannot be seen from outside. Mies way of design is to reduce the distraction out from the building, so people would only focus only on the essential elements. The less there is to distract, the more beauty there is to see. Less is more ? 🙂