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Old 09-28-2023, 06:09 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
783 posts, read 686,689 times
Reputation: 961

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So in a lot of urbanism/architecture forums I see a lot of complaining about urban design and architecture. So I thought I should ask here, what cities have been created or seriously renovated on postwar standards that are beautiful?

Typically urbanism is associated with a kind of 19th century and previous era European design. I see architects bucking against the idea that we have to go back and create the kind of architecture of those eras. However, I also see a lot of people complaining that postwar architecture is boring and uninspiring. People want traditional cities apparently.

All that to say, which places then prove the postwar architects/urban designers point that you can create an amazing city based upon postwar architecture philosophy & styles?

If the list is small, why don't we build beautiful cities in the contemporary era?
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Old 09-28-2023, 09:01 PM
 
4,152 posts, read 4,389,790 times
Reputation: 10031
While I have limited inventory of cities in total, from travels I did sense that Berlin seemed to do the best at integrating bits of historic areas with a lot of post war new construction. It is not all to a pleasant aesthetic IMO (to your point about uninspiring / boring) but from what I recall they did it at a complementary scale and integrated it to a point where it was pleasant to experience in an urban format. (Local transit/ pedestrian)

In general terms much of the architectural detail of pre ww2 is considered an excessive cost to most modern construction methods as everything is designed to fit a pro-forma that returns the investment in a relatively short time compared to past generations where a greater percentage of structures were built to make a statement for a city / community/ company. More structures now are run through a financial analysis for serviceability / "value engineering" and very little thought to statement (in general) within a large metro at scale.

If you want to see thoughtful design it tends to be mostly done where wealthy enclaves gather (personal homes / resort havens) or in institutional (ed/ med/ museum) projects where additional costs can be absorbed over a longer expected life. They tend to take a 'long term view' toward the structure.

Another factor comes into play. The overarching land control combined with zoning legislation.

I think when people experience a range of styles they tend to like the variety of facade ornamentation, as it changes the aesthetic (in a large metro) to be a constant unfolding of the built environment. An element of continuous 'discovery/surprise' while the imposed modern regulations and efforts to maximize a zoning code tends to reduce this quality.

Modern structures have become analogous to modern cars - where they all share the same basic form factor with slightly different aspect ratios. I.E. It all tends to visually blur together.
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Old 09-29-2023, 05:58 AM
 
Location: Great Britain
26,876 posts, read 13,094,854 times
Reputation: 19102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Logicist027 View Post
So in a lot of urbanism/architecture forums I see a lot of complaining about urban design and architecture. So I thought I should ask here, what cities have been created or seriously renovated on postwar standards that are beautiful?

Typically urbanism is associated with a kind of 19th century and previous era European design. I see architects bucking against the idea that we have to go back and create the kind of architecture of those eras. However, I also see a lot of people complaining that postwar architecture is boring and uninspiring. People want traditional cities apparently.

All that to say, which places then prove the postwar architects/urban designers point that you can create an amazing city based upon postwar architecture philosophy & styles?

If the list is small, why don't we build beautiful cities in the contemporary era?
I think that's a romanticised view of the post WW2 area, where people often lived in slums and poor housing, and where poverty, disease, ignorance and squalor were rife and this is often well documented.

Certain historic quarters of cities were rebuilt, others were rebuilt in order to try and improve living conditions.

Some post WW2 buildings and urban planning did deserve a lot of criticism, as did certain architectural styles, but this has given way to a new emphasis on saving old historic buildings and historic areas whether it be power stations, old warehouses or other such areas, and there are numerous such schemes through out Europe.
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Old 09-29-2023, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Great Britain
26,876 posts, read 13,094,854 times
Reputation: 19102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brave New World View Post
I think that's a romanticised view of the post WW2 area, where people often lived in slums and poor housing, and where poverty, disease, ignorance and squalor were rife and this is often well documented.

Certain historic quarters of cities were rebuilt, others were rebuilt in order to try and improve living conditions.

Some post WW2 buildings and urban planning did deserve a lot of criticism, as did certain architectural styles, but this has given way to a new emphasis on saving old historic buildings and historic areas whether it be power stations, old warehouses or other such areas, and there are numerous such schemes through out Europe.
Should have read pre WW2 and not post - sorry I was in a hurry.
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Old 09-29-2023, 09:13 PM
 
Location: Canada
4,869 posts, read 10,467,580 times
Reputation: 5504
Vancouver is very much a post-war city on the whole in terms of its vernacular, and I think it is beautiful.
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Old 10-01-2023, 12:45 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles
783 posts, read 686,689 times
Reputation: 961
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIMBAM View Post
Vancouver is very much a post-war city on the whole in terms of its vernacular, and I think it is beautiful.
Before I started this thread, Vancouver stood out to me as the best postwar city. I don't think there are a ton of them, but Vancouver is definitely a hit.

Besides that one, I think Singapore and parts of Miami are pretty good as well. Chongqing also seems good sometimes from what I can see online, but it's a little harder to make a full assessment of that. I'm not the hugest fan of Hong Kong, it's too much to me but I think it's decent. They are not as good as Vancouver, but good. I don't think the list is very long, but I think there are a few.

IMO, postwar design hasn't produced very many good cities despite building a ton of places. They also have produced a lot of bad results so that's quite the negative. The main issue from an urban design/architecture standpoint is that traditional cities (old European style) seem to be a hit much more consistently.
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Old 10-01-2023, 06:23 AM
 
Location: rural south west UK
5,361 posts, read 3,539,405 times
Reputation: 6491
there are no Modern cities that classify as "beautiful", just concrete monstrosities.
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Old 10-14-2023, 06:57 PM
 
Location: Northern California
4,386 posts, read 2,871,775 times
Reputation: 8059
Brasilia?
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