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Old 11-16-2013, 06:07 AM
 
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Reading a Wiki article about architecture in St Louis this morning, a constantly recurring question came to mind again. How many different architectural styles are there really? Every time I look, there is a new style - new to me, that is - being mentioned. Today it was "Structural Expressionist", referring to the U S Bancorp building - "emphasizing the steel structure of the building", it says. Seriously, where do all these names come from? How would anyone ever learn even half of them? I also saw that the Old Cathedral is "Neo-Byzantine". It fits inside but I am not sure about outside.

Better question that I saw in a book yesterday: "Why do people hire architects and then tell them what to do?" My answer, perhaps? Because we expect them to know how to do what we want to do?

Good morning, All.
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Old 11-22-2013, 07:55 PM
 
Location: On City-Data
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Prior to Modernism, the styles were pretty well defined (although often combined). I don't subdivide Modernism - to me, it's all amorphous junk. "Neo-" just means it is an imitation of a previous era. If you built a Gothic cathedral today, it would be neo-Gothic so as not to lead anyone to think it was built several hundred years ago.

As for architects, very few buildings are a pure style that will accommodate all uses. Each client wants different floor plans, features, etc.
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Old 11-23-2013, 05:43 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Retroit View Post
Prior to Modernism, the styles were pretty well defined (although often combined). I don't subdivide Modernism - to me, it's all amorphous junk. "Neo-" just means it is an imitation of a previous era. If you built a Gothic cathedral today, it would be neo-Gothic so as not to lead anyone to think it was built several hundred years ago.

As for architects, very few buildings are a pure style that will accommodate all uses. Each client wants different floor plans, features, etc.
Retroit, this may sound odd at first but I'll explain. Will you please define "Modernism" as you use it? Yesterday, I was reading an article about literature. The author pointed out that there is a vast difference between modern literature and modernism literature. I didn't quite get his point but he seemed to be saying that "modernism" could fit into any period while "Modern" was something that was written in the last generation or so. Don't quote me on that interpretation. In other words, a reference to time. Just thought I'd ask how you use "Modernism" in regard to architecture.
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Old 11-23-2013, 03:16 PM
 
Location: S.W.PA
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Style names are applied differently now than they used to. If a particular look becomes popular enough to be repeated a few times it gets a style name. Hence, Structural Expressionist. Although that name tells you pretty much what you are getting, its not really a "style" in the traditional sense of the word. It used to be- and this is what I think Retroit means- that styles were important to know. It was how people referred to architecture. This would have been before say 1930 , the early "Modernist" days, when style became a bad word and the whole discussion was turned on its head. Its still a bad word in about 99% of the Architecture schools. Thats because the current thinking is that a building's "look" should come out of its site, its use, and how its made, not from some a-priori set of rules about composition and detail that has nothing to do with anything except what had been done historically.
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Old 11-23-2013, 03:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by stevo6 View Post
Style names are applied differently now than they used to. If a particular look becomes popular enough to be repeated a few times it gets a style name. Hence, Structural Expressionist. Although that name tells you pretty much what you are getting, its not really a "style" in the traditional sense of the word. It used to be- and this is what I think Retroit means- that styles were important to know. It was how people referred to architecture. This would have been before say 1930 , the early "Modernist" days, when style became a bad word and the whole discussion was turned on its head. Its still a bad word in about 99% of the Architecture schools. Thats because the current thinking is that a building's "look" should come out of its site, its use, and how its made, not from some a-priori set of rules about composition and detail that has nothing to do with anything except what had been done historically.
Oh. So, "modernism" is being used differently in architecture than it was being used in that article about literature. At least I think so. I'll see if I can find that again.
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Old 11-24-2013, 09:31 AM
 
Location: London, U.K.
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"Why do people hire architects and then tell them what to do?" Well you are right to a point, but what's the point of hiring an architect if you already know what to do? I really hate it when people just turn up having not bothered to look into the work we do, and they just want us to draw up some abomination they've already decided upon.
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Old 11-24-2013, 09:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by archineer View Post
"Why do people hire architects and then tell them what to do?" Well you are right to a point, but what's the point of hiring an architect if you already know what to do? I really hate it when people just turn up having not bothered to look into the work we do, and they just want us to draw up some abomination they've already decided upon.
It isn't a point I can talk intelligently about but I have a story. A friend had long ago found a beautiful stained glass circular "window", the kind you put in a front door or wall to the outside. I'm sure it has a proper name. I just don't know it. Anyway, she save that for years intending to build her own home some day and have that in her front door. She hired an architect. She told him her one wish was to put that in her front door. He said no way - it wouldn't fit the style of the house he would be building.

Well, she did insist and he did do it against his wishes but what would you do in such a situation? I am sure there are dozens of such stories around. One can only ask who tops the decision - the person paying the bill or the person doing the work?
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Old 11-28-2013, 10:38 AM
 
Location: S.W.PA
1,361 posts, read 2,747,688 times
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Originally Posted by Hazel W View Post
It isn't a point I can talk intelligently about but I have a story. A friend had long ago found a beautiful stained glass circular "window", the kind you put in a front door or wall to the outside. I'm sure it has a proper name. I just don't know it. Anyway, she save that for years intending to build her own home some day and have that in her front door. She hired an architect. She told him her one wish was to put that in her front door. He said no way - it wouldn't fit the style of the house he would be building.

Well, she did insist and he did do it against his wishes but what would you do in such a situation? I am sure there are dozens of such stories around. One can only ask who tops the decision - the person paying the bill or the person doing the work?
It depends on how hungry you are doesn't it? There are a lot of stories about famous architects (and some not so famous) that just walk away from jobs like that. Most of us have to deal with that sort of thing ALL THE TIME. Ideally you find a clever way to incorporate the Owner's ideas without completely compromising the integrety of what you have done to date. Its in that act of incorporating in a thoughtful way that a good architect can add value. Its not uncommon for these episodes to lead to some really interesting solutions.
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Old 01-05-2014, 01:33 AM
 
Location: Northglenn, Colorado
3,689 posts, read 9,958,797 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hazel W View Post
It isn't a point I can talk intelligently about but I have a story. A friend had long ago found a beautiful stained glass circular "window", the kind you put in a front door or wall to the outside. I'm sure it has a proper name. I just don't know it. Anyway, she save that for years intending to build her own home some day and have that in her front door. She hired an architect. She told him her one wish was to put that in her front door. He said no way - it wouldn't fit the style of the house he would be building.

Well, she did insist and he did do it against his wishes but what would you do in such a situation? I am sure there are dozens of such stories around. One can only ask who tops the decision - the person paying the bill or the person doing the work?
Find a new designer. Any Designer / Architect that does not help meet the demands of the client are not following sound business practices. We try to steer clients in a path that might be more beneficial to them in the long term, but if they insist on going on another path, well.... we will go with them down that path.

Quote:
Originally Posted by archineer View Post
"Why do people hire architects and then tell them what to do?" Well you are right to a point, but what's the point of hiring an architect if you already know what to do? I really hate it when people just turn up having not bothered to look into the work we do, and they just want us to draw up some abomination they've already decided upon.
I REALLY dislike the $49.99 "design your own home" software you can get at any hardware store here in the states. There have been many times we have received plans on 8-10 8x11 taped sheets of paper of exactly what the client wants. It is soo hard to work with a plan that is ill conceived, but has someone's whole heart in it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevo6 View Post
It depends on how hungry you are doesn't it? There are a lot of stories about famous architects (and some not so famous) that just walk away from jobs like that. Most of us have to deal with that sort of thing ALL THE TIME. Ideally you find a clever way to incorporate the Owner's ideas without completely compromising the integrety of what you have done to date. Its in that act of incorporating in a thoughtful way that a good architect can add value. Its not uncommon for these episodes to lead to some really interesting solutions.
the beginning of your statement reminds me of a story regarding Frank Lloyd Wright. Where in a letter from a client complaining of the roof leaking in one of his designs and his only response was , and I paraphrase "you should never leave fine art out in the rain"
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Old 01-05-2014, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Richmond/Philadelphia/Brooklyn
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Architectural style - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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