Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Mies Van Der Rohe v's Venturi

Which house would you prefer to live in? The Farnsworth House by Mies, or with Mrs Venturi in her house designed by Robert.
The blog linked below, is in praise of the Modern in preference to the Post-Modern. [We haven't really covered much post-modern on this blog yet but it will be explored in great detail in due course....]

In this blog the author states that the Venturi house "looks like it was built off site with spare parts gathered from demolished homes and dropped in with a helicopter without care or concern of how the home’s parts relate to the whole or how the home relates to the site. Of course this is the whole point and the goal of the post modern relativist".

I don't think this statement is true - Venturi carefully designed this house, which if the plans and sections are studied becomes overtly apparent. He is twisting the vernacular and responding to bland modernism.

According to the above blog the  Mies house on the other hand, "was the product of a careful discipline. Universal laws of symmetry, geometry, and historical precedent all coming together to form a unified whole".

Yes, that maybe so, but oh, so controlled and hygienic.

Stowe Gardens, Gothic

In case you thought I was biased against Modernism and Brutalist architecture, here is something a little different....
The Picturesque English Landscape Garden:
I've now started to look for literary references to Ugliness, so wherever I come across a building or place described as ugly I'll reference it here.

Amongst the 'classical' follies, arches, bridges and columns at Stowe one finds a Gothic inspired folly. It's described in Follies, Grottoes and Garden Buildings, "Gibb's Gothic Temple is doubtless the most striking building at Stowe. It is Ugly (even to aficionados), a hideous rusty brown colour, big intrusive and wonderful. It is triangular and has nothing to recommend it apart from its solidity and its leering self-confidence".
It certainly works better as an eyecatcher from across the lake, where the eye is tricked into believing it is a fully operating church on top of the hill.

Quote taken from Follies, Grottoes and Garden Buildings, (1999) Headley & Meulenkamp, London, Aurum Press, p136.

Le Corbusier, Chandigarh, Sector-17

“M. Le Corbusier has enthusiasm and a remarkable faculty for begging the question, and whatever the value of his writings I find his buildings simply unintelligible in their purpose and wholly unpleasant to look at”[1].

[1] Blomfield, R. (1934). Modernismus. London, Macmillan and Co., p57

Monday, 14 June 2010

Bad British Architecture

The Bad British Architecture blog has slightly different aims to Ugliness blog.
There are some astoundingly poor designs highlighted on this site, that quite frankly, wouldn't qualify them
for this blog. Here, we need to at least admire the ugliness of a building before it features, and indeed many ugly buildings have merits beyond their unfortunate genes.
However, if you want to see just how bad things can get have a peek at:

These buildings were designed by architects with seven years training. We cannot blame everything on design and build contracts.