Message - Re: Modernism & Repression

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Posted by  Richard Haut on December 09, 2003 at 03:50:07:

In Reply to:  Modernism & Repression posted by Stefan Trebicki on December 08, 2003 at 16:05:26:

the modernist movement was seen as totalitarian - oppressive, and you will find some of the arguments laid out in the way that Mies tried to persuade the Nazis to accept modernist designs.

there is reason to suppose that much of the Nazi reluctance was based on the impression that modernism was representative of Bolshevik thinking.

however, all these arguments relate to the pre-war period.

in post-war Poland the use of modernist ideas would appear to have had as much to do with the serious problems of housing provision as with oppression.

Stalin's tower in Warsaw is (in my view) deeply oppressive because its image is both overpowering and clearly Soviet. Is it modernist ?

the difficulty is that the blank faced and unfeeling effect of much modernist work is of itself alienating, whatever the intentions of those who commission the buildings.

the more amusing part is the bizarre numbering of housing blocks in Poland. I asked a friend from Eastern Europe why the blocks were irregularly numbered. He explained that initially the architects had used Corbusier's notions of large amounts of space being left around individual blocks but the authorities had eventually decided that this was a waste of land and had therefore slotted blocks in between at later stages, and then still more blocks.

(compare the rebuilding of central Gdansk with the rebuilding of central Rotterdam and see which was more overtly modernist).

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