Message - classical/traditional vs. modernist

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Posted by  Stephen on November 08, 2002 at 15:41:24:

This posting is not meant to be offensive to those who have pioneered or grown up in the modernist philosophy of architecture, but an honest inquiry. I am baffled by the antagonism that architects have expressed toward eachother, engineers and clients, when ability and resposability for serving all of them is theirs, and this antagonism seems to run hand in hand with the modernist mentality (materialist, if you will, beyond reason). It is hard to find a school that fights for the betterment of the trade for the benefit of society over personal gain and propogation of shoking philosophic novelties. Why?

I was just wondering, as a student and an observer, why the architectural community as a whole is so committed to modernist architectural forms. Say, for instance, if I could be so bold to propose, that we narrow down the factions that profess to embody modernism into two groups: chaos (deconstructionism), and order (minimalism). Both of these are very apparent in the design of buildings today, but "chaos" takes what is natural and comfortable and warps it, making it void of comfort through elaborate, yet confused, angles or curves, and "order" on the other hand, takes the other side of the cake and makes what is natural and comfortable and simplifies it, making it void of comfort by stripping it of all but the basest aesthestic qualities.

Has the collective body of architects, those tradesmen and women who have been held highly in esteem for millenia given up on the thing that gave them a definite place, a cleft in society in which and through which the people find both expression and permanence? For if a philosophy can so strip this beautiful trade of its tradition and cast her down to the level at which she needs to fight with engineers, and the average joe himself, just to stay alive, should society not worry?

In my mind, if only there, architecture, in its permanence, in its aesthetics, in the fact that it is a trade that requires one to be at the service of the people, furnishing them with a necessity and complimenting the necessity with as much comfort and beauty as possible, it should hold on to what aesthetics are not merely trends, not merely expressions of a philosophy (such as pythagorianism, minimalism, or deconstructivism) that do not give comfort but appeal to the lower, more dangerous passions of fear, envy and pride, giving an adrenalin rush, but no lasting admiration or familiarity.

Where is that tradesman or woman who gives his time and creativity for the benefit PRIMARILY of the people, and not of his own pocket. I love that tradesman, I see him seldom, and I miss him dearly.

God bless,

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