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1945 as Architecture's Year Zero
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The dividing year in architecture is 1945. Before, Westerners tried, in many different styles, to make buildings look beautiful. After 1945, they felt like they didn’t deserve beautiful buildings. Consider the city halls of some affluent Southern California towns:

Santa Barbara, 1924:

Pasadena 1927:

Beverly Hills 1932:

But then Malibu at some indeterminate date not long ago:

That’s pretty dismal for the richest single municipality in a county of ten million people, especially one with perhaps the world’s highest concentration of rich artists. The last time I was in Malibu, my friend driving me around kept pointing out who lived in the houses, such as “That’s where the rock star lives.”

“Which one? The Edge?”

“The one with the Nobel Prize.”

“Oh, yeah, him.”

Nouveau riche Calabasas, home to the Kardashian clan, opened its civic center in 2008, with a reference back to the 1920s Spanish Mission style of Santa Barbara:

My personal taste is that Spanish Mission style is the oldest and best style for Southern California. My old high school classmate Kip Kelly designed a couple of wonderful Spanish Mission fantasia buildings for Notre Dame HS in Sherman Oaks in the 1990s. The bad news is that Spanish Mission is frequently out of fashion in L.A. But the good news is that it always comes back into style.

Fast-growing San Diego has had several city halls. Here’s the 1874 one in the popular Gaslamp District:

Here’s San Diego’s 1938 Works Progress Administration city hall:

But, unlike its popular previous city halls, it’s hard to find a picture online of San Diego’s current City Hall, which opened in 1964. I think this is it:

San Diego is now discussing building a new city hall, which would be a skyscraper shaped like a sailboat’s sail. Here’s an earlier design before they cut the budget, so this represents the dream:

This has a lot of Thom Mayne-like folderol such as Random Rectangles and surplus sheet metal, but the basic idea of shaping it like a sail is at least pleasant.

Like I’ve often said, if you are going to design a building in a novel shape, borrow from the types of shapes that people already like, such as sailboats, trees, birds (e.g., Saarinen’s 1964 TWA terminal at JFK airport), and so forth.

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  1. I was given a tour of Franfurt, Germany, and after looking at a square with old buildings, the guide said, “I would like to show you more, but the Americans bombed it all during the war,” to which I could only say, “So, what have you learned from the experience?”

  2. Yanouz says:

    Yes, the West left behind fading, decadent, Neo-rococo-cuckery in favor of stronk, neoliberal functionalism. Does Mies look like he lacked confidence?

    (If the late thirties had gone differently, he would’ve been selling his schtick to NSDAP-crats).

    • Agree: Desiderius
    • Replies: @Desiderius
    , @Lot
    , @MBlanc46
  3. El Dato says:

    Isn’t it just that there was not much money, skills and capital infrastructure left for beautification?

    Even if we are stuffed with the bullshit of “war improves the economy” all the time by evil muppets like Krugman, that doesn’t make it so.

    In Europe, construction had to be fast, cheap and nasty. The US had not seen much on-ground damage, but the redirection of production to war ends has lingering effect, among which a permanently larger, nastier and resource-hungrier state apparatus. And people become brutish, with shorter time horizons.

    Meanwhile, it’s like Obama was president for just a few minutes and is now emitting economic exploitation sob films about the guy in charge after the no-fix financial crash (maybe Reagan?)

    ‘Rub this in Trump’s face!’ #Resistance goes ecstatic as Obama-backed documentary ‘American Factory’ wins Oscar

  4. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    The Bergen County courthouse (built in 1912):

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  5. Franz says:


    Thank ye, Zeus, someone else knows it wasn’t coincidental.

    The heart of Europe was ripped out. The rest has been mop-up.

    • Agree: Pheasant
  6. Ano says:

    If Year Zero does ever come to America, will the Commissars/Red Guards/Taliban of the brave new USSA, be content just to topple old statues- now beauty in public architecture, in their eyes, will be identified, not just with Western Civilization, but also with Trump and MAGAism?

    Hey ho, Pasadena City Hall has got to go!
    Hey ho, Beverly Hills City Hall has got to blow!

    We want the Malibu Lubyanka, and we want it now!

  7. Moses says:

    The University of Virginia has the magnificent Rotunda, which Jefferson modeled after the Pantheon in Rome.

    Architecture to Educate a Nation
    Jefferson believed the American spirit should be communicated through buildings based on proven classical principles embedded in a sublime landscape.

    In the 1970s even UVA had fallen victim to the ugly architecture movement.

    Here’s the engineering building:

    In the 1990s UVA started building neo-classical styles again, thank goodness.

    New business school:

    • Replies: @Lot
    , @Lurker
    , @prosa123
  8. It depends on the taste. I’m not for fake Spanish Baroque for modern buildings; it’s out of place & time.

    So, it’s Modernism we’re left with. And one can build magnificent buildings in these, say, “modern” styles. The only things you need are talents & money.

    • Agree: MBlanc46
    • Disagree: Pheasant
  9. fnn says:
    @The Alarmist

    Obviously what they learned is that they have to disappear from the face from the earth. Some minor resistance exists in the former Soviet Zone.

  10. “The dividing year in architecture is 1945… …After 1945, they felt like they didn’t deserve beautiful buildings.”

    That’s because we are guilty:

    • Replies: @Lugash
    , @Kronos
  11. Town Hall in Fairfield, Connecticut hasn’t changed in years.

    When I lived in town, I used to walk in that green door and pay my property taxes in person.

    John Hancock got married down the street.

    • Replies: @Kylie
  12. Hodag says:

    The TWA Terminal at JFK is now a hotel.

    The prices are not too bad. The Hodag clan has a week in NY this year and I am trying to dump the lil Hodags with relatives and get Mrs. Hodag to take the Skytran over for a night. It is kinda cheap and I will get a chance to have several martinis.

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
  13. slumber_j says:

    Like I’ve often said, if you are going to design a building in a novel shape, borrow from the types of shapes that people already like, such as sailboats

    Or you can just borrow from the shape of a building someone else already designed in the shape of a sail–in this case, Dubai’s Burj al-Arab:

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Cortes
  14. I spend a lot of time at the main library in downtown Miami. (So do hundreds of smelly bums.) Designed by Philip Johnson and first opened in 1985, its Spanish-Mediterranean architecture is pleasing enough:

    The interior is spacious and airy, with high ceilings.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    , @prosa123
  15. Anon[119] • Disclaimer says:
    @El Dato

    Obviously the days of huge granite blocks and marble are over, but architects are not going to refuse your money, and they don’t want their names attached to something that looks cheap, so they will do their best with what they have, even if it’s just concrete. Set a budget, make it firm, and solicit bids from firms with a track record in doing traditional designs, and be perfectly OK with huffy architects who don’t want to work that way and stomp out the door.

    • Agree: Jim Don Bob
  16. Pan Am’s circular Terminal 3 at JFK started out pretty fantastic and sensible,

    but it devolved into a depressing Delta mess as ingenious New Yorkers surrounded and cluttered it with concrete and fumes.

    And that’s a relatively cheery picture that doesn’t capture the filth, noise, and lack of any concern for pedestrians or anybody else working their way through it.

    I experienced this smelly train wreck from the bottom up a few times when Hungary’s Malév Airlines used it. It has since been demolished.

    New York City’s airports and public spaces are a disgrace. They give a rotten impression of the United States to everyone arriving from Europe.

  17. Stogumber says:

    Well, traditional architecture looks rather well if the weather is fine.
    Only, in Europe it tends to rain. In the 1930s, neoclassicism was en vogue – not only in Nazi Germany but in France, too. I remember the Musée de l’Homme in Paris by rain and it looked rather ugly.

    • Replies: @craig
  18. Anonymous[328] • Disclaimer says:
    @Dave Pinsen

    One difference between Manhattanites and the rest of us is the real locals have a longstanding acquaintance with some seriously grand courthouses and civic buildings. Twenty years ago a one-time errand took me to the Surrogate Court downtown and it was like being on a movie set.

    I know in S.F. they were trying to do the same but had a 1906 problem.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    , @anonymous
  19. Anonymous[328] • Disclaimer says:

    It’s OK while it’s still expensive to replicate but I foresee an idiocracy of Cletuses living in 3D-printed whimsical sails with 4D rigging.

  20. @Stan Adams

    That’s Mr. Johnson’s Postmodern phase, after the Glass House and the Yale Box aesthetic. Note how Postmodernism amounts to a rather shallow nod to what genuinely had more depth and detail in whatever particular era before 1945 it is cribbed from.

    PJ’s famous AT&T Building was the first Postmodern skyscraper.

    Some called it a giant Chippendale cabinet, or something.

    At least he tried to get away from glass boxes. It is as if Postmodern architects were afraid to add too much detail or ornamentation, for fear of transgressing the Modernist, 20th century poop about something like a blank slate and the bourgeoisie™ or whatever.

    • Replies: @guest
  21. MEH 0910 says:

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
    , @guest
  22. What’s the ideology at play behind such ugly architecture? Let’s make the workers, who hate their jobs already, hate their dreary lives even more? Make things worse to prime the plebes for Revolution? But I totally agree that the Spanish Mission Style architecture is one of the things that gave California its formerly pleasing architectural personality. And anything would be superior to what we’ve been building over the last 50 years or so. Take Stanford University with it’s Romanesque arches and temples. Last year I worked a nursing contract at Stanford Medical Center on the campus, and on my way to the parking garage I’d drive past this (built 1887)

    to walk into this (built 1959)

    Who thought this was an aesthetic improvement?

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
    , @Lurker
    , @JimB
    , @SFG
  23. TheJester says:

    A “box” is a very efficient use of space. The real issue is knowing how to architecturally turn a “box” into something more appealing to the eye than a box … something that does not look like a “box”.

    One finds this same problem in the SUV design. How do you turn an SUV into something that looks like more than a functional box that you use to carry people and things?

    It is clear that muted decoration is no longer socially sufficient to hide the elementary “box” in either buildings or SUVs. Hence, we are in a decadent design cycle in which blatant ugliness is used to smash any perception of their being a “box” hiding underneath.

    Buildings evidently have Thom Mayne and his school of thought for providing the “smash” effect in building design … and Asian car designers have the new “Dragon” cars and SUVs replete with gaping mouths and dragon’s teeth. See below:

    I prefer the subleties of an honest “box” in both buildings and SUVs. They are also more efficient in the use of space and materials.

    • Replies: @MBlanc46
    , @Anonymous
  24. @Malcolm X-Lax

    Edward Durrell Stone did a few buildings in that distinct, easily identified style.

    Stanford Hospital was the first, in 1959, followed by the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India, opened by Jackie Kennedy in 1962, and finally, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, completed in 1971, along with a couple of others along the way.

    The embassy building was, far and away, the most successful execution of the idea.

    Stanford Medical Center
    US Embassy, New Delhi
    Kennedy Center, Washington DC
    Stuart Pharmaceutical in Pasadena
    Edward Foley Building, Loyola Marymount U. in Los Angeles.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @Hibernian
  25. @The Alarmist

    And I bet he looked into your face, thought about the members of his extended family who died in the Allied fire bombings of civilian targets, and just took it. That’s how beaten down the Germans in the western zone of occupation have become. You got to enjoy a small taste of that victory. He didn’t didn’t break your nose or spit in your face because his people have been so thoroughly broken. You already knew that though, didn’t you? You knew when you opened your mouth you were safe. Go try that in Iraq now.

    • Agree: Pat Kittle
  26. MEH 0910 says:
    @MEH 0910

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  27. Mr. Anon says:

    I like the Marin County Civic Center, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and completed in 1962:

    I like a lot of the modernist architecture of the 1960s and 1970s too. Perhaps it’s just because I grew up when it was new, so it still looks modern to me.

    But – yeah – modern American architecture in the Gehry/Mayne vein looks like crap.

    • Replies: @Clifford Brown
    , @bjondo
  28. Lurker says:
    @Malcolm X-Lax

    Its not an improvement – but it could have been so much worse!

    I think scale is part of the problem. What might look innocuous at two or three floors or just single story is appalling at six or seven.

  29. Lot says:

    The UVA bauhaus doesn’t look too bad. And the business school looks like an exurban extended stay hotel circa 2005.

    • Replies: @Moses
  30. Lurker says:

    The second photo, the engineering building one. Depicts a common problem in public spaces – the random retaining walls with the ill-defined lawns and built areas. Always ends up looking messy.

  31. Kylie says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    That’s exquisite. Thank you.

  32. guest says:

    I vaguely remember Tom Wolfe quipping that the architecture world (three guys at Yale or whatever) thinking the likes of Saarinen caught a strain of mad zoomorphism for straying from the Box.

    The Sydney Opera House is supposed to look like a mess of sails, I understand. But I don’t see it. I’m not sure regular folk see it, either. But it’s one piece of modernist architecture they enjoy. At least briefly.

    Possibly because the architect’s vision was impossible to fulfill. We really ought to credit the engineers.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
    , @Reg Cæsar
  33. @El Dato

    Uh, I haven’t seen it, but based on the trailer and clips American Factory doesn’t seem to paint a favorable picture of US-based manufacturing during the Late Obama Age collapse.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  34. guest says:
    @MEH 0910

    I hate the Eiffel Tower and the Sydney Opera House does nothing for me. But they are enjoyed by the regular folk. As landmarks, if nothing else.

    Both are great examples, however, of architectural irrelevance. They are feats of engineering, not architecture.

    I’d say they were examples of modernism following what it normally only pretends to follow, which is the idiotic phrase “form follows function.” However, that’s untrue. The Opera House is an exceptionally poorly-designed opera house.

    The only reason I bring it into the “form” thing is that it is the answer to the question of “how do we create a pleasing arrangement of half-shell concrete thingies partly suspended in the air?”

    Why anyone should ask such a question is another matter.

    • Replies: @turtle
    , @dimples
  35. songbird says:

    The ugliest city hall that I’ve ever seen is Boston’s.

  36. guest says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Postmodernism is an annoying term, but here apt in that you can’t honestly give this a designation apart from modernism. Because it’s just modernism with a wink and a nod. It’s not even out of modernism’s shadow. To those of us who don’t care about their Byzantine in-group rules, it’s boxy enough.

    What that building is, really, is what they call “lampshading.” Instead of moving away from the Box, Johnson went and made a box and stuck a lampshade on its head.

  37. It’s as if we’re getting some kind of Karma since 1945. Maybe siding with Joseph Stalin and giving him half of Europe carried a cost.

  38. Lugash says:

    “The dividing year in architecture is 1945… …After 1945, they felt like they didn’t deserve beautiful buildings.”

    That’s because we are guilty:

    Hitler’s megalomaniac architectures fantasies might have been a reason. Neoclassical buildings are essentially temples… religions devotion to government wasn’t that popular in 1945.

    The old Arizona state capitol(1901) and new house building(1960, lower left):

    The house building is so ugly there are hardly any photos. The protuberance on the state capitol is the Phoenix police department building, which is nearly as ugly as the house and dominates the capitol.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  39. @Yanouz

    they felt like they didn’t deserve beautiful buildings

    Steve, deserve’s got nothing to do with it. The Eye of Soros feels that it deserves absolute fealty and nothing less. The beatings will continue until he and his minions receive it or are utterly defeated. It can’t bear to gaze upon beauty any more than the Wicked Witch of the West could bear a bucket of water.

  40. Kronos says:

    There’s a partial truth to that. But I perceive in mainly as a “fuck you” to the past by Baby Boomers, especially the yuppies.

    The sheer size of the Baby boomer cohort ensured that teenage rebellion would deeply influence future artwork to say the least.

    Still one of the best art documentaries ever!

    “The New Shock of the New”

  41. The Z Blog says: • Website

    I like using the example of parking lots to introduce the connection between modern aesthetics and modern culture. In 1970 (I think) the most popular color for a Corvette was orange. Look at images from parking lots into the 1970’s and you see a variety of shapes and colors. Today the parking lot is like film noir. That’s because cars are designed in wind tunnels and the most popular colors are black, white and gray.

    If unfrozen caveman communist was alive in 1960 when he dozed off and woke up in this age, he would assume the Soviets won the Cold War. We have largely embraced their aesthetic.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    , @newrouter
  42. 1945 is quite correct — that’s why “prewar” is one of the holy words of NYC real-estate ads.

    I’ve never been to LA, but those nice old mission-style city halls are frequently seen on TV as bad guys’ mansions, tyrants’ palaces, dictatorships’ embassies and so on. LA’s pretty Mount St Mary’s University is another oft-used location

    Small-town Texas has some amazing county buildings, by the way

  43. Buildings speak.

    The 1938 San Diego City Hall is saying (in spite of the Great Depression) “The Future is Ours!”…

    …while the 1964 building is saying “lower your expectations”.

  44. Blubb says:

    I thought the recent brouhaha about trump wanting state buildings to be beautiful again rather entertaining.

    But it IS true, beauty needs to return, in art and architecture. We all live in these worker lockers that get smaller every year, that are just not pleasing and of ever decreasing quality while at the same time ever more expensive.

    End the FED. Outlaw usury.

  45. @El Dato

    Isn’t it just that there was not much money, skills and capital infrastructure left for beautification?

    This reminds me of a quip I make among very close friends when the stagnation of space exploration comes up: “We could have colonized the Solar System by now, but we decided to have Blacks instead.”

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
  46. Dutch Boy says:

    An instructive comparison would be between Catholic churches built pre-1960s and thereafter (the thereafters are uniformly hideous). Furthermore, there has been a concerted attempt to uglify the pre-1960 churches by re-modelling the interiors to achieve a stripped-down look. The powers-that-be in the Conciliar Church actually allow Jews and atheists to design churches, with the inevitable result that they look like Hell.

  47. Anon[398] • Disclaimer says:

    Who do you trust for beauty?

    Talmudic word-thinkers


    Greco-Roman Visual artists?

    • Replies: @Dissident
  48. Cortes says:

    Exactly right.

    There are two buildings going up at the moment in the area behind the Poniente Beach in Benidorm, Alicante, Spain with the same profile.

  49. Fun says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    For a zillion obvious reasons, America has always been better at creating nice, livable private spaces over public spaces. There are exceptions here and there of course.

  50. syonredux says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    It depends on the taste. I’m not for fake Spanish Baroque for modern buildings; it’s out of place & time.

    It would be out of place in New England or Virginia, but I don’t think that it’s out of place in SoCal……As for out of time, that depends entirely on what you think of of revival styles…..

  51. syonredux says:

    I know in S.F. they were trying to do the same but had a 1906 problem.

    I would say that it was a problem that was successfully overcome, as evidenced by SF’s glorious 1915 Beaux-Arts city hall:

    • Agree: Desiderius
  52. The various traditional Architectural languages are associated with Christianity, Good Manners, Breeding, and Hierarchy.

    Anathema to those who hire Architects.

  53. indocon says:

    Steve, I bet you will be commenting a lot on the story:

    Maybe Trump has been touting the stuff about black unemployment in anticipation of this?

  54. donut says:

    The Troy , O courthouse :

    And former library :

    And the current library :

  55. @syonredux

    Out of time is meaningless when you’re shooting for the timeless in the first place.

    • Agree: syonredux
    • Replies: @Desiderius
  56. syonredux says:
    @The Alarmist

    I was given a tour of Franfurt, Germany, and after looking at a square with old buildings, the guide said, “I would like to show you more, but the Americans bombed it all during the war,”

    Odd how omitted the fact that the Brits bombed Frankfurt….a lot:

    Bombing of Frankfurt am Main by the Allies of World War II killed about 5,500 residents and destroyed the largest medieval city centre in Germany (the Eighth Air Force dropped 12,197 tons of explosives on the city).

    In the 1939-45 period the Royal Air Force (RAF) dropped 15,696 long tons of bombs on Frankfurt.[1]

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
  57. @Buzz Mohawk

    New York City’s airports and public spaces are a disgrace. They give a rotten impression of the United States to everyone arriving from Europe.

    Good! To hell with them.

    Maybe they’ll leave NATO but I doubt it.

  58. Thirdtwin says:

    “ back to the 1920s Spanish Mission style of Santa Barbara:”

    I’m not a famous architect, but I did stay at that La Quinta last night.

  59. Muggles says:

    The one thing about ugly public or sometimes, private buildings is that they are in the end, disposable. The ones today are built to last, what, 30 years? They always say longer but most will be worn out sooner.

    Older, usually better constructed buildings with style and grace will remain standing, often because they develop fans and admirers. They need to since inevitably the internals of public spaces start to degrade and decay. New standards, more efficiency, need HVAC upgrades.

    AOC and her Green Komrades claim that we need to tear down/rebuild “everything” in 10 years or we will die. Oh, and impose communist style rule. You see, they can build stuff out of, what, exactly? But it will be “better” and energy efficient, etc. At least some of the worst public architecture will be removed if that happened.

    While modern architects can often be blamed, it is their patrons and customers who end up selecting the designs and plans. The Chinese have recently come up with some amazing architecture. Of course with nearly unlimited, low cost capital for nominally private projects, and a good historic sense of style, much of it is path breaking. Of course we seldom see photos of the hideous failures.

  60. 1945 was architecture’s year zero?

    It was the world’s.

  61. 1945 is also roughly speaking the dividing line in interior finishes, namely the abandonment of lathe and plaster and the adoption of drywall and studs. In NYC and LA and elsewhere, 1920s apartment walls were even better than plaster; they were typically made out of mortar, for better fire protection. Then a highly-skilled plasterer came in and skimmed them to a perfect finish Now a team of illegals hangs flammable paper-covered drywall over flammable studs and calls it a day.

    • Agree: Dissident
  62. Anonymous[329] • Disclaimer says:
    @The Alarmist

    I was given a tour of Franfurt, Germany, and after looking at a square with old buildings, the guide said, “I would like to show you more, but the Americans bombed it all during the war,” to which I could only say, “So, what have you learned from the experience?”

    He likely would have replied, “you can save Western Europe from Bolshevism, but don’t expect any gratitude, much less any assistance.”

    • Replies: @Dissident
  63. If you ever get up to Berkeley, take a walk around the University of California campus. It’s a sampling of everything from the one of the two original 1860’s brick buildings up to the latest post-modern folly.

  64. @syonredux


    My father was marched under guard through Frankfurt train station in April of 1944, with a group of other bomber pilots on their way to Stalag Luft III.

    The guards seemed frightened by the gathering and angry crowds. He wondered why (they were armed after all) until he heard that a few weeks later a similar guard detachment had been unable to hold back the enraged citizenry, who promptly lynched the assembled prisoners.

    “It could have been me” he said, “but seeing what I did of what our bombs had done, I couldn’t really blame them”.

  65. Too bad the Russkies didn’t complete that Stalin Palace at 1:04:50, it would be totally cool today!

  66. @Lugash

    City has a nice flag, though.

  67. J.Ross says:

    For years we have been promised, from the Q larp to public statements by high officials, that the law would finally be made to apply to Democrats. Last night Lindsay Graham, who (since Kavanaugh was inserted indeliby into our collective cerebellum) has functioned as a kind of establishment ambassador to America, signalling that real change would or would not be allowed (recall that his initial statement about the Abu Ghraib photos was to go ahead and get it out of your system because there’s far worse ones not then released), said on a Fox show that half the people involved in the Russia hoax were going to jail. This followed a magnificent tweet by Rand Paul to the odious former CIA director Brennan. Now we see what could be advance damage control:
    Bogus charges? You mean like the non-stop stream of bogus charges hurled at our president?

  68. J.Ross says:
    @The Alarmist

    >not Harris
    Could this be a result of buried resentment because of the occupation, perhaps as well as the standard educated German whole-swallowing of Communist anti-American propaganda?

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  69. J.Ross says:

    Those look a lot like Yamazaki designs: that last one is reminiscent but distinct to a Yamazaki at Detroit’s Wayne State University. The vertical floral curves rising out of a surrounding pool are supposed to suggest the lotus.

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
  70. @Old Palo Altan

    1945 was architecture’s year zero?

    It was the world’s.

  71. @Old Palo Altan

    “Stalingrad, now there’s catharsis for you!” — Celine

  72. JimB says:
    @Malcolm X-Lax

    Architecture fitting for an institution built on a fortune milked from Chinese cheap labor.

  73. “A building, but like a sail!” has been old since the day the Sydney Opera House was topped out. And the San Diego one looks like a knockoff of the Burj Al-Arab, only with more bits of random metal and less glass.

    Off the top of my head, the sail buildings in Barcelona and even little Portsmouth, England look way better, too (admittedly the Portsmouth one is mostly decorative.)

    San Diego’s will at least look better than the unsympathetic monstrosity going up in St. Petersburg (Russia, not Florida).

  74. Mr. Blank says:

    I’ve long believed that the problem with modern architecture is one of scale. Most modern architecture styles are quite pleasant on a small scale — something the size of a conventional house. It’s only when they’re scaled up that they seem ugly, bleak and oppressive.

    Big buildings are inherently intimidating, and most modern architects seem determined to make them even more so. It’s lame.

  75. Lot says:

    Mies>>>>the current celeb architects.

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
  76. donut says:

    Sailer you wanker , it’s three pictures .

  77. J1234 says:

    The dividing year in architecture is 1945. Before, Westerners tried, in many different styles, to make buildings look beautiful. After 1945, they felt like they didn’t deserve beautiful buildings

    Architecture is a lot like popular music in that respect. There was certainly much beautiful music in the 1950’s, 60’s and later, but even some composers of beautiful music after the war felt compelled to present beauty in a frame of ugliness. “Dissonance,” they would call it. The jazz that had captivated the world degenerated into relatively chaotic and self absorbed (and unpopular) bebop…a celebration of disharmony, to one degree or another. Bob Dylan characterized this in his own way. The wind and stringed instruments that had evolved over centuries gave way to squawks and unrefined dynamics of electrically amplified instruments that had been invented just 20 years earlier. The acoustics of early amplification were totally incongruous with most of the halls and venues it was used in.

    It’s cultural, in my view. Before the war, most musicians wanted to present music as the best of what their culture was, whether it was in the form of popular music, symphonic music, folk music, bagpipe bands, gypsy jazz or Hawaiian ukulele groups. Just like dressing nicely before going out in public was something people did, so was making the best music and designing the most attractive buildings possible. Now, dressing nicely and doing your best are seen as shallow, superfluous and materialistic. As a result, modern architecture and popular music are now more outlets of desperation than inspiration.

    Modern art went down this road long before WW2, but architecture and music had much greater exposure to the masses, so there was greater cultural resistance to institutionalized ugliness. In this sense, culture is the voice of the people.

    • Thanks: Old Prude
  78. Until Modernism came along, the history of architecture was basically a history of revivals. London’s Houses of Parliament, though in the Gothic style, weren’t built in the 15th century, they were built in the 19th century. Princeton’s glorious Collegiate Gothic cathedral was built in the 1920s. It was only when Modernism came along that all of a sudden it became a moral/political/aesthetic imperative that a building be “of its time.” What a load of hooey. But good for business.

    In case some of you don’t know, for some decades now there’s been a really interesting and inspiring reaction against establishment Modernism (and po-mo, and decon, etc) going on. The New Urbanists (like Andres Duany) are doing what they can to create trad-style buildings, neighborhoods and towns; interesting science-minded guys like Christopher Alexander and Nikos Salingaros are arguing that structures that work and please have a discernible DNA (“A Pattern Language”); and people like Dmitri Porphyrios, Quinlan Terry, John Simpson and Leon Krier (and many others) are designing and constructing in flat-out Classical ways.

    You may not have heard much about this, and if that’s so it’s because the media, the money and the architecture establishment work together to keep the news from you. Trust me on this: back in the ‘90s I tried numerous times to places article about these phenomena in magazines. No one would print them. Sounds a little like politics, right?

    Sorry about the lack of images — I haven’t figured out how to upload images to Steve’s comments. If someone would tell me how to do it I’d be appreciative. Here are some links to explore, though: (Sponsored by Meg Whitman!)

    Fwiw: I met a lot of these people back in the ‘80s and ‘90s. I was fascinated and sympathetic, and I was ready to go with all kinds of articles and interviews about this non-Establishment stuff, but I could find NO magazine that would publish them.

  79. turtle says:

    My vote for ugliest public building in the U.S. is Boston City Hall.

    a long way to fall from the Mass. Statehouse:

    Or Faneuil Hall:

    • Agree: Lot
    • Replies: @Anonymous
  80. @Lot

    There is nothing really wrong with the building you posted.

    Yes, it is a bit austere. To my sensibilities that is generally overcome by the overall sense of structure (pun intended?) and orderliness that it contributes to the public space.

    • Replies: @Lot
    , @Old Palo Altan
  81. @Paleo Retiree

    Trust me on this: back in the ‘90s I tried numerous times to places article about these phenomena in magazines. No one would print them. Sounds a little like politics, right?

    Yes, very much so. The editorial comments on the Eisenman vs. Alexander debate nailed it when they pointed out that Alexander did not realize how organized and numerous the deconstructivists were at that point.

    Sometimes I wonder what could have been and think that my own career trajectory would have been higher if I had stuck with Architecture rather than Electrical Engineering as a profession.

    I had a friend that was so put out by electrical engineering and the place we worked leave to pursue a Master’s in Urban Planning at U Washington.

  82. J.Ross says:

    “White replacement is a conspiracy theory” number 742:

  83. Wilkey says:
    @The Alarmist

    I would have responded, “There are tens of millions of people who would love to see more, but the Germans killed them all during the war.”

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  84. @Paleo Retiree

    Unz will display any link that ends in .jpg as an image. What I do is google for, say, Empire State Building. Then select images. Click on the image you want which will take you to the page that contains it. Put your mouse over the image, right click, and select “copy image location”. Open a new browser window and paste this link to test it. If the link opens the picture and ends in .jpg, then you can paste it into a comment.

    Now someone tell me how to do strikethrough.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  85. My wife and I got married in the mural room at the Santa Barbara Courthouse, btw.

    Here’s afun skedaddle thru Santa Barbara architecture history:

    Question du jour: Why do the architecture-history profs and the press coverage of architecture neglect this crowd-pleasing stuff in favor of trendy bullshit Starchitecture?

  86. kihowi says:

    ctrl-f “Wolfe”….


  87. craig says:

    Traditional architecture tends to work better in foul weather than does modern. Covered sidewalks, eaves, awnings, etc are more considerate of the occupants than are slab sided monoliths.

  88. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    Like I’ve often said, if you are going to design a building in a novel shape, borrow from the types of shapes that people already like, such as sailboats, trees, birds (e.g., Saarinen’s 1964 TWA terminal at JFK airport), and so forth.

    Well yeah, but then it wouldn’t be novel.

    That’s what they do in Kansas City. Is Kansas City with better weather what you really want?

  89. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    I would have responded, “There are tens of millions of people who would love to see more, but the Germans killed them all during the war.”

    The Soviets and the maoists killed a lot more millions of people than Germans ever did. Incidentally, the largest group of people killed by Hitler’s ideas were Germans.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @dfordoom
  90. @Old Palo Altan

    It’s strange, isn’t it, how the mood of the victorious allies turned so sharply at the end of WWII. I can never quite get it through my head that the UK dumped Winston Churchill himself that year, when the war in the Pacific was still raging, and the rubble in Europe had barely stopped smoking.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
    , @J.Ross
  91. Western says:

    Here ‘s a list of iconic NYC skyscrapers. 9 out of 10 are before WWII. The one that isn’t is the Freedom Tower.

  92. @Paleo Retiree

    Hello PR; great to see you here.

    Jim Don Bob’s instructions are correct, but I’ll just add that any URL that points to an image file will work, e.g. ones ending in .png are okay, too.

    You can also just right-click an image on any webpage and select ‘Open image in a new tab’; if the image opens correctly by itself in that new tab, then usually its URL should be okay for pasting into Unz posts.

    Here, for example, is the photo of Poundbury from the article you linked:

  93. Anonymous[367] • Disclaimer says:

    Wiki on Boston City Hall:

    “The building has been subject to nearly universal public condemnation, and is often called one of the world’s ugliest buildings. Calls for the structure to be demolished have been regularly made even before construction was finished. Architects and critics considered it to be excellent work, with one poll finding that professional architects describe Boston City Hall as one of the ten proudest achievements of American architecture.”

  94. Dan Hayes says:
    @The Last Real Calvinist

    Churchill the Operating Butcher was A-OK during wartime but not so during peacetime (or even its fast approaching timeline)!

  95. Wilkey says:

    OT: Pete Buttigieg’s 40(ish) Point Immigration Plan

    Look long and hard through every single one of these 40 points to find any that mentions America’s right to secure its borders, or that acknowledges that Americans have any stake in how many and what kind of immigrants we receive. Not one of them does so, not even in the section titled “Protect Our Border And People Who Arrive At Out Door.”

    In the subsection on ‘Modernizing Our Employment-Based Visa System,’ Buttigieg states that we need to have a system “informed by labor market needs, engagement with immigrant and other stakeholders, and analysis of domestic and global trends.”

    Got that, oh ye subjects of the American Empire? There are “stakeholders” in the immigration system, but mere subjects like yourselves aren’t among them. What’s important is what the immigrants and employers want. The concerns of mere serfs aren’t worth considering.

  96. J.Ross says:
    @The Last Real Calvinist

    They had to rebuild, and, fatally for the Western European empires, took resources from that to attempt to reconquer their colonies. Vera Drake makes the point that, for Tommy, V-E day was years from the end of action.

  97. @guest

    Well, maybe if you think spinnakers are the only kind of sail there is.

  98. @J.Ross

    This is a fail.

    The vertical floral curves should have been designed in such a fashion that they are the only elements around the perimeter of the building. The solid white walls between them completely ruin any sense of lightness or delicacy.

  99. Anonymous[473] • Disclaimer says:

    Who cares if buildings are ugly so long as they’re functional? Tearing down a good building just because it’s ‘ugly’ is ridiculous. Buildings exist to keep people warm, dry and safe. How they look is irrelevant.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @Dan Hayes
  100. @guest

    The Sydney Opera House is supposed to look like a mess of sails, I understand. But I don’t see it. I’m not sure regular folk see it, either. But it’s one piece of modernist architecture they enjoy. At least briefly.

    It sits above the world’s deepest car park. Presumably so it doesn’t blow away.

  101. @Laurence Whelk

    No.  WE didn’t.  Our unaccountable overlords did.

  102. @Jim Don Bob

    Now someone tell me how to do strikethrough.

    Easy as pie. Just mark the text with the italics button, then change each i to strike.

    Also, other photo formats come through– .jpeg, .png, .img, even .gif if you’re careful.

  103. anonymous[117] • Disclaimer says:

    The Manhattan Surrogate court is the most ornate courthouse I have ever been in…the variety of stone and ornamental marble is just astonishing. Bronx Supreme isn’t bad either.

    Contrast with the modern Federal Courthouse in Islip, Long Island, a mess of gleaming white metal walls, known to area attorneys as the Death Star.

    • Replies: @turtle
  104. Neoconned says:

    This reminds me of the bus and or train stations in Santa Barbara, Tucson, and Santa Ana…..been to all of them, nice architecture….

  105. @Anonymous

    Who cares if buildings are ugly so long as they’re functional? Tearing down a good building just because it’s ‘ugly’ is ridiculous. Buildings exist to keep people warm, dry and safe. How they look is irrelevant.

    If you live in Talladega, maybe.

    But even they went all out on this:

    Get a soul.

    • Replies: @Neoconned
  106. Lot says:
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    I like it a lot. It is from 1958.

    I think, contra the 1945 suggestion, things more went to crap with architecture around 1970. Modern architecture before then seemed fresh, optimistic, and futuristic.

    • Agree: Desiderius
    • Replies: @Desiderius
    , @dfordoom
  107. Neoconned says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Most counties in Texas and the Deep South have county courthouses that look about lije that.

    1 of my grandparents came from the Talladega region. Modern sh** hole.

    Full of white methers(my cousin in Talladega I’m told is both a sex offender and meth cook) and black trailer trash. The racetrack is for the tourists….

    Curious….why did you mention Talladega? You from the area or greater Birmingham?

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  108. J.Ross says:

    I used to wonder why he looked familiar
    Then I realized it was a mirror
    Oh and now it is plain to see
    The whole time the monster was me

    • Replies: @danand
  109. Moses says:

    The business school design is meant to emulate Jefferson’s original “academical village” of pavilions and rooms surrounding the Rotunda, shown here:

    But yeah, it seems they could have done something to add a bit more style and class. Still, a vast improvement over concrete boxes.

  110. It’s legitimate that new styles of building would emerge from new materials like glass and steel. So, they don’t need to be exact copies of a colonial home. But what the anti-bourgeois architects give us are deliberate monstrosities meant to demoralize.

    • Agree: Desiderius
  111. @donut

    Troy, Ohio.

    Troy, New York has stunning 19th Century architecture in its downtown. One of those places where history once happened and now feels like a film set.

    There are random hipster businesses hanging on and it seems like Troy will survive, but the apocalypse is mere blocks away from the barely surviving historic district.

  112. Moses says:

    Here’s a travesty.

    A beautiful 1904 Beaux-Arts Carnegie library in Burlington, Vermont. A concrete and glass monstrosity was grafted on in 1981. Like a Frankenstein building.

    The original architect wept.

  113. SFG says:
    @Malcolm X-Lax

    The ideology is that you’re transforming society, so you have to transform your buildings too. Also, you want to be bold and new and creative, so you have to keep coming up with new ideas. Finally, tradition is conservative and therefore bad, so you can’t use old building styles.

    This is the problem with letting the left capture the academy (among many others).

    • Replies: @Western
    , @Desiderius
  114. @Mr. Anon

    Frank Lloyd Wright is an example of the great “What Might Have Been”. Wright worked in a uniquely American architectural vernacular that was eliminated by the triumph of the international style.

    • Replies: @guest
  115. turtle says:

    “form follows function.”

    It is possible to “walk that talk,” but only for those few with the requisite technical background.

  116. Dan Hayes says:

    Some of Frank Lloyd Wright’s residential buildings were not functional with residents forced to set up improvised blockages to ensure privacy!

  117. @Buzz Mohawk

    The most interesting feature of the old Delta Terminal at JFK was how many birds lived inside it.

  118. Western says:

    That’s for the important buildings. A huge portion of our other buildings is not much more than backyard sheds. Our shopping districts are strip malls that consist of a box with a glass front and parking lot in front. Compare that to the old downtowns of suburbs and small towns with handsome buildings.

    Also, the govt will gladly take taxes and build themselves buildings that are more luxurious than many private offices even if they are ugly. At least in the past, the govt buildings were good looking.

  119. @The Wild Geese Howard

    Uh, I haven’t seen it, but based on the trailer and clips American Factory doesn’t seem to paint a favorable picture of US-based manufacturing during the Late Obama Age collapse.

    Brand and country of origin aren’t given, but the aptly-named Unspeakable demonstrates that today’s “industrial” equipment isn’t as industrial-strength as it once was:

    (Of course it’s Texas. Why even ask?)

  120. turtle says:

    You’ll probably like this one also:
    Built in 1903, completely restored, and still in use as an adjunct to the new courthouse.

    • Replies: @Fred C Dobbs
  121. @The Z Blog

    As far as our ruling class goes they did.

  122. @Neoconned

    Curious….why did you mention Talladega?

    Because the commenter claimed appearances are irrelevant, and that city is famous for hosting the blind.

  123. @SFG

    Traditions are collections of innovations that worked.

    • Agree: Mr. Rational
  124. @Bardon Kaldian

    Modernism sucks. Period. If you like it, you are an idiot.

  125. prosa123 says:

    Virginia’s engineering building looks more appropriate for an engineering school than a classically styled building would look.

  126. newrouter says:
    @The Z Blog

    > We have largely embraced their aesthetic.<

    Get rid of most auto regulations and let 1000's designs bloom.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  127. prosa123 says:
    @Stan Adams

    Unfortunately, de-skelling a public library, in Miami or elsewhere, is legally impossible.

    • Replies: @Stan Adams
  128. It’s all CIA. Just like modern painting. The CIA hates you and wants your brain empty. Ergo, empty art and architecture.

  129. prosa123 says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    New York City’s airports and public spaces are a disgrace.

    LaGuardia Airport is undergoing a massive reconstruction.

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
  130. newrouter says:

    I want to thank my local Home Depot for redesigning its parking lot when repaving. Before, all the ADA parking spaces were front and center in the parking lot. After, they moved the ADA parking spaces to the left and right. The question remains: are the disabled a big customer at Home Depot and if not why not about 2-4 spaces for them?

    • Replies: @prosa123
  131. MBlanc46 says:

    By the thirties going differently, you mean the Nazis being the opposite of what they were?

  132. @prosa123

    LaGuardia Airport is undergoing a massive reconstruction.

    This is a very welcome, and long overdue development, but what can they possibly do in such tight environs?

    LGA simply does not sit on or control a large amount of land.

    • Replies: @prosa123
    , @Dan Hayes
  133. danand says:

    J.Ross, I transcribed Bloomberg’s Aspen Institute speech from the video you linked:

    “Ninety five percent of your murders, and murderers, and murder victims, fit one M.O. You can just take the description, Xerox it, and pass it up to all the cops. They are male, minority, sixteen to twenty-one. That’s true in New York, that’s true in virtually every city in the union. And that’s where the real crime is, you’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of the people that are getting killed. So you got to be wondering, spend the money, put a lot of cops in the street. Put those cops where the crime is, which means in the minority neighborhoods. So one affect, one of the unintended consequences is, people say, Oh my God, your arresting kids for marijuana, they’re all minorities. Yes that’s true. Why, because we put all the cops in the minority neighborhoods, yes that’s true. Why we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is. And the way you should get the guns out of the kids hands is to throw them against the wall and, and frisk them. Then they start, they say I don’t want to, I don’t want to get caught. They may still have a gun, but they leave it at home.”

    A position I could support. Too bad there wont be a candidate with such a position running.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  134. Malibu at some indeterminate date not long ago

    Looks like the current city hall was built in 1998 (per LA County’s property records) and bought by the city in 2009.

  135. Hibernian says:

    He designed the public library in Davenport, Iowa; it opened circa 1968.

  136. @JUSA

    Leave Gaudí out of this. Casa Batlló is the opposite of what we’re discussing here. Art Nouveau and Art Deco were actually art.

    Gaudí may be the poster child for “acquired taste”, but his hometown has embraced him.

    • Replies: @Clifford Brown
  137. You may not believe this, but Kansas is full of lovely pre-WW2 architecture, all of it made from local limestone.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
  138. prosa123 says:

    Building codes specify a certain percentage of parking spaces that must be designated for handicapped use. As these codes generally do not take the nature of each business into account the results can sometimes be strange.
    Case in point: I work at an Extremely Large Online Retailer’s fulfillment center that has over 3,000 employees and a commensurately huge employee parking lot. As the formula requires it has more than 100 handicapped parking spots, yet they’re almost always empty. Given the nature of the work, there’s basically nothing that a person with limited mobility could do.

  139. prosa123 says:
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    LaGuardia’s runways and taxiways aren’t changing, but the terminals and parking areas will be almost completely new.

  140. Dan Hayes says:
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    Paranoiac NYC speculation that Rikers Island Jail closing will enable LGA expansion!

  141. black sea says:

    I’ve never been able to warm to Frank Gehry’s design. I have architect friends who have tried to sell me on his work, but I just smile and nod politely, and say as little as possible (there’s no point in arguing with a friend who wants to see himself as the expert revealing his insights to the amateur.)

    Wright, on the other had, was a genius, and designed a large body of remarkable work. His designs weren’t always practical, and that is a flaw to be acknowledged, but a building like Falling Water is about as good as Modernism gets.

  142. J.Ross says:

    As I’ve been saying, that guy could win (against someone other than the God-Emperor), but he’s not running.

  143. @Reg Cæsar

    Gaudi and Frank Lloyd Wright, despite their faults, represent what was possible before the international school of modernism eliminated all vernacular architecture.

    Another, weirder, more human world was possible.

  144. @prosa123

    Tell me about it. I do a lot of historical research, so I have no choice but to endure the olfactory assault.

    Fortunately, the derelicts tend to avoid the area where the archival materials are stored.

  145. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    A few years back Nissan made a minivan- thingy that evoked a hearse, which actually had subconscious appeal to many people.

    I think the most honest SUV was the early Range Rover, along with the square body Suburban and the old IH Travelalls. It’s a mistake to put too much style on thee things, just be like VW and make the same thing forever.

  146. @J.Ross

    Could this be a result of buried resentment because of the occupation….

    I don’t know what the actual US force strength in the Rhein Main region was, but I was told it was on the order of 100k in the ’80s. Frankfurt was full of GIs, and the locals would tell me to speak English so they could practise theirs. By the end of the ’90s, when I returned as a civilian and received this tour, there were far fewer GIs, and I frequently heard “You really should learn German” from the locals. By the end of the ’00s, most of the forces moved downrange to cheaper Eastern European bases, and the locals often simply told me to speak German.

  147. Old Prude says:
    @Old Palo Altan

    Asimov ended his history of the world at 1945 citing major historic discontinuities, the Bomb being one, and population growth another.

  148. guest says:
    @Clifford Brown

    No. No vernacular. I have been near a Wright building. They are thoroughly modernist, only instead of boxes they are a bunch of planes and angles. Not different enough.

  149. @JUSA

    Leave Pei out of this.  The inverted pyramid design gives privacy to those on balconies both above and below (at least from each other); nobody can see anyone else.

  150. @Jane Plain

    I chose to drive down random roads in Kansas, and saw ruins of buildings like that.

    i weep for what could and should have been.

    • Replies: @Jane Plain
  151. Anonymous[377] • Disclaimer says:

    The Soviets and the maoists killed a lot more millions of people than Germans ever did. Incidentally, the largest group of people killed by Hitler’s ideas were Germans.

    What exactly were “Hitler’s ideas”?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  152. @JUSA

    Your first example, Gehry’s,”Dancing Building,” sometimes called,”Fred & Ginger,” has always filled me with insensate rage.

  153. Oh, it’d be unfair not to mention James Kunstler, David Watkin and Roger Scruton. Kunstler’s “Geography of Nowhere” is a rip-roarin’ ride thru how shitty our created landscapes have become. Watkin wrote informative, precise architecture history that was free of the usual, warping “it all leads to modernism” angle. And Scruton, in addition to being an amazing conservative philosopher, was a great aesthetic polemicist and wrote brilliantly about architecture.

    You can find lots of talks and presentations by Kunstler and Scruton on YouTube. Here’s a very moving documentary about beauty that Scruton wrote and presented:

    • Replies: @Jane Plain
  154. Here’s some video of the gargoyle who wrote the New Republic article accusing Trump of, what else, being like Hitler.

    My fellow white people, meet Kate Wagner

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
  155. Here’s a fun, short-ish TED talk by Kunstler:

  156. Shockeroo: Study reveals that “places characterised by traditional architecture were appreciated considerably more than contemporary urban spaces.”

    Architectural modernism has been the biggest blunder in the history of culture. It can’t be redeemed, only let go of and moved on from.

  157. @Malcolm X-Lax

    So, basically the female (I think?) equivalent of:

  158. @Mr. Rational

    I have, too. I never dreamed there would be so many lovely buildings in Kansas. Just normal people using the local materials.

    But let’s not blame this one on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, or the 1965 Immigration Act. Not a lot of people have ever chosen to live in Kansas.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  159. @Paleo Retiree

    Roger Scruton was a great man but Kunstler is a crank.

    His parents divorced when he was eight or so, and Mom moved him to the burbs. So he’s hated them ever since.

    Not all suburbs are bad, and the idea is good in theory.

    I have many relatives who moved from the inner city to Levittowns and such. No sooner were Levittowns built than the shitlib left was sneering at “little boxes.”

    Well, guess what? After a few years those places bloomed with gardens and they were nice places to live.

    I don’t favor endless expansion, and Kunstler scores a few good points, but Kunstlerism is for cranks.

    • Disagree: The Wild Geese Howard
    • Replies: @Paleo Retiree
  160. Princeton University’s Campus is much like this.
    Building built before the 1950s were much in the collegiate gothic style

    After the 1950s and especially in the 1960s and 1970s, the buildings became much more rectangular and imposing.

  161. @Bardon Kaldian

    There is never an appropriate place or time for postmodern monstrosities and eyesores

  162. J.Ross says:

    I’m looking for architectural prints/wall posters which show great buildings with the different construction details illustrated (with cutaways, floor plans, cross sections, etc) and labelled. I was once in a hallway with two excellent examples, which were probably special projects and not widely available: St Paul’s (London), and, not the Parthenon but, a sort of “typical Greek temple” showing and naming all the little pieces. Looking around online I not only can’t find anything like this (wrong search term?), but the dominant style is cartoon, and a lot of results for architectural posters are pedantic simplifying caricatures. St Paul’s itself (of course it has a gift shop) has a few things which are like this: a step above the plebbitized cartoons, but not a proper diagram.

  163. J.Ross says:

    ’71 and Most Important Graph should be buttons like “agree/disagree/thanks/troll/lol.”

  164. @turtle

    Riverside County only had 18,000 people in 1900.

    They were forward-thinking, to be sure. They saw the future in grand terms. Progressives even, you might say.

    Today a county of 18,000 would set up shop in a dis-used branch bank building from the 60s.

    Ten miles up the road is San Bernardino County’s mammoth courthouse (1926)

    Ever note just about every building – even commercial ones – had its date proudly chiseled somewhere on it? A legacy to those who would come after. These people lived in a different universe.

    • Replies: @turtle
    , @Desiderius
  165. @Jane Plain

    I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on Kunstler. My suspicion is that your fondness for the ‘burbs has blinded you to Kunstler’s many, many virtues. He’s reliably informed, vivid, smart and funny; he’s very creative in his own right; his books, presentations and blogging have opened many people‘s eyes and minds to the sad realities of our built environment; he’s been an effective rabblerouser and cheerleader for the New Urbanism … He’s even been smart and prescient about the Trump years. Have many of us here done better with our lives and our energies?

    Have a read of his current blog posting and tell me that it isn’t excellent.

    Fwiw, my own reservation about Kunstler is that he’s often more of a “the world is ending!” Apocalypticist-prophet than I’d really like him to be. But, hey, maybe he’s right, and in any case I don’t agree with anyone about everything, and I don’t need to.

    • Replies: @Jane Plain
    , @Anonymous
  166. @Paleo Retiree

    I’m a city girl with no particular fondness for suburbs.

    I just think peevish apocalypticism is for peevish apocalyptics.

    He was and is wrong about Peak Oil. I think he’s on some new hobbyhorse now.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
  167. @Desiderius

  168. @The Wild Geese Howard

    It had a brasserie where I often ate Sunday brunch when I lived a joyful year in Manhattan in 199o.
    It is superb, because set well back from the street (very well back, as the photo shows) and built from the highest quality materials. Thus it has aged beautifully, unlike its many inferior copies in Manhattan and elsewhere.
    Mies was the genius whose followers cheapend his original inspiration.
    I’ll take him (but not them) any day over the ridiculous Quinlan Terry and his faux classicism fit only for Prince Charles and other bumbling dilettantes.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
  169. @JUSA

    A great-uncle of mine, as stuffy and old-fashioned an Englishman as one could possibly wish for, lived in his later years in a duplex in the building just below Wright’s Guggenheim Museum, seen to the right in your photo number 3. That duplex was the entirety of the top two floors, which even I tend to think was a bit of an extravagance, given that by that time it was just he and his wife whose housing needs he had to worry about.

    I always wondered what he was thinking as he gazed down, cocktail in hand, upon his unruly neighbour.

  170. @donut

    The current, factory-style library is more than an architectural design failure. It reflects the degeneration of the very idea of what a library is.

    Old library buildings underscore their function as a repository of inherited ideas, literature, and taste — built to transmit the lore of centuries. The contemporary version is a pop culture convenience store that is, more and more, only incidentally about books (and those mostly sourced from the NYT best sellers list). Its core business is an ad hoc mixture of classes, meetings, commercial movie DVDs, “graphic novels,” minority outreach campaigns, and “community” arts and crafts shows.

    Like politicians, a society gets the libraries it deserves.

    • Agree: turtle
    • Replies: @Western
  171. Art Deco says:
    @Old Palo Altan

    Mies was the genius whose followers cheapend his original inspiration.

    Thanks for the cliche. Been an education.

  172. dfordoom says: • Website

    The Soviets and the maoists killed a lot more millions of people than Germans ever did.

    Depends on whose propaganda you believe.

  173. dfordoom says: • Website

    I think, contra the 1945 suggestion, things more went to crap with architecture around 1970. Modern architecture before then seemed fresh, optimistic, and futuristic.

    1970 seems to have been around the point where people stopped looking forward to the future and started dreading it.

    It’s one of history’s little ironies that the height of the Cold War was an age of optimism.

    The early 70s was the time of the Oil Crisis of course, but it was also the end of the Space Age.

  174. Bad architecture is absolutely America and England’s penance for doing this to Europe:

  175. danand says:

    ”LONDON (AP) — David Hockney’s exuberant painting “The Splash” sold at auction Tuesday for almost $30 million. Painted in 1966, Hockney’s bold canvas shows a California swimming pool in the moment after a diver has leapt in.

    Hockney left gray Britain for southern California in the 1960s, and captured the intense LA light and the rippling surface of swimming pools in a series of paintings including “A Little Splash” and “A Bigger Splash.”

    Perfect architectural design for a SFH in Southern California. The same year this was painted, ‘66, a former bosses father bought a “similar looking”, pool out front, home in Los Altos Hills California for $65K. A lot of dough then, ~ $5M today.

    These two architects couldn’t help but add their own slant:


  176. dimples says:

    I visited the Opera House once as a tourist. The sails are very good but the brown colored base or pediment ruins the whole thing. It should have been made of basalt or some color like this to blend in with the sea. While we there the future Prime Minister John Howard, then just an ordinary politician, dashed past on his way to some function. I distinctly remember his shiny shoes with very clean leather soles.

    • Replies: @Old Prude
  177. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    In a world of CAFE regulations, automobiles have to be less cost effective and less overall economically efficient to be more fuel efficient, even though unless you drive a huge amount of miles gas is the cheapest thing you put in a car. To give high MPG, and meet arbitrary crashworthiness regulations, cars must all look like half-used soap bars, be mechanically byzantine and unergonomic., be unnecessarily expensive to repair, be DIY-unfriendly, and cost more to make and to buy.

    In New Jersey, insurance is often the biggest expense of car ownership. In New York City, you have to pay a fortune for parking. True, you do not have to have a car in the city so long as you don’t go out of the city much. The cost of fuel varies by nearly fifty percent between the cheapest and most expensive places in the continental US, especially for gasoline, since Hitlerfornia and a couple other states or areas in states mandate special sauce gasoline.

    A SASOG (size-and-scope of government) throttleback is called for but the cucks have no more interest in that than the Dems. Which is why I still vote libty when the race is not realistically up for grabs.

  178. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Paleo Retiree

    Harold Covington always said Kunstler was the one Jew he would quote on his podcast, and did.

    But he wouldn’t play the music of Tom Lehrer, on the same account, though he often acknowledged it perfectly fit his theme.

  179. bjondo says:
    @Mr. Anon

    Not my field,
    reminds of early Christian
    or Islamic architecture.

  180. Iconoclastic architects – like all iconoclastic geniuses – have their place and deserve glory. But they must innovate and create beauty as did George Lucas, Johann Bach, Pablo Picasso, and J.R.R. Tolkien – not posture and reproduce dreck as J.J. Abrams, Max Martin, Jackson Pollock, and V.C. Andrews have done.

    It’s the difference between Jesus of Nazareth and L. Ron Hubbard; Oscar Wilde was a genius; Tony Kushner is a hack. Naturally, the geniuses are far more humble, letting their art stand or fail on its own merits, than the hacks, who are more adroit at keeping up appearances and self-promotion than at their craft….

  181. @Jane Plain

    He was and is wrong about Peak Oil.

    Note that M. King Hubbert successfully predicted the peak of conventional oil extraction in the USA.  It was not until the perfection of other oil extraction technologies for “tight oil” (e.g. shales) that oil extraction in the USA went up again.

    Note that I say “extraction” rather than “production”.  There is no real oil being made in the world today; all we are doing is better and better jobs of getting at what was physically produced millions of years ago.  When it’s gone, it’s gone.

    From everything I know, there are NO more oil deposits beyond the shales we’re tapping today.  This Is It.  It is time to move on.  That means uranium, thorium and maybe deuterium… if we can get it working.  But we gotta get SOMETHING working.

  182. Dissident says:

    Talmudic word-thinkers

    Of the Jewish architects in question, how many were even cursorily versed in the Talmud, let alone Talmudic “thinkers”? The only Jews who bother much with the Talmud at all (let alone devote considerable time and thought to its study and regard as authoritative) are the Orthodox. Of the prominent, influential Jewish architects, how many have been even nominally Orthodox (let alone seriously Orthodox)?

  183. Dissident says:

    “you can save Western Europe from Bolshevism, but don’t expect any gratitude, much less any assistance.”

    I would hardly be the first to point-out that some of the White nations that are most prominent for daring to reject suicidal immigration policies are those that were behind the Iron Curtain before it came down.

  184. Old Prude says:

    A man’s shoes are a window to his soul.

  185. turtle says:
    @Fred C Dobbs

    These people lived in a different universe.

    So true.
    Here in Corona, the “forward thinkers” of the 196os tore down the magnificent Carnegie library to make way for a (fast food) fried chicken stand, which somehow never got built. The parcel sat vacant for decades. A new library was built a few blocks away – ugly, of course, with the entrance in back.
    Go figure.

  186. Anonymous[265] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jane Plain

    Only the eastern third is even habitable and most of the population lives within 30 miles of the Missouri state line. Much of that development only started to evade Pendergast and later that federal judge’s school edict.

  187. @Fred C Dobbs

    Looks like they had hopes of becoming an independent country for which that courthouse would be appropriate.

  188. @MEH 0910

    That looks like the set from one of my favorite boyhood television shows, The Time Tunnel.

    I like it.

  189. Western says:
    @Loosely Speaking

    I wonder how many people would join a private library if there were no libraries paid with taxes? Many people never use their library and many of the ones that do use it for DVD’s and CDs. I guess if the govt is going to steal people’s money they might as well give them what they want.

    I don’t know what population level would be needed in the suburbs of large cities to build a good one since most people wouldn’t join it. Maybe instead of each suburb with their own, there could have
    fewer but bigger libraries that are more spread out.

    • Replies: @turtle
  190. turtle says:

    Interesting question.
    I presume you mean something like this:

    If there is anyone reading this who lives in inland SoCal (east of Santa Ana Mountains & west of San Gorgonio Pass) & thinks it could happen here, by all means speak up.

    • Replies: @turtle
    , @Western
  191. turtle says:

    Not exclusively for “brahmins,” either.
    For example:

    The aims of the General Society were to provide cultural, educational and social services to families of skilled craftsmen.

    Currently, it is the oldest privately endowed tuition-free technical school in the city of New York.

    General Society Library is the second oldest in New York City.

  192. Western says:

    Yes, I wonder how many libraries there are like that.

    It’s only 310.00 per year for people under 35 and 460 for older than 35 or 525 for a husband/wife and kids.

    Just think if people didn’t have to pay property taxes for their libraries and could then use that money for private library membership. Private libraries would be more feasible without public libraries to siphon off that money. There are some good public libraries in my area, but it would be cool to have a private one.

  193. danand says:

    “The distinctive Oracle Parkway buildings, nicknamed the Emerald City, served as sets for the futuristic headquarters of the fictional company “NorthAm Robotics” in the Robin Williams film Bicentennial Man. The campus represented the headquarters of Cyberdyne Systems in the movie Terminator Genisys.”

    Oracle headquarters a little South of San Francisco airport. When the sun hits just right these can be stunning.



    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  194. @danand

    I spent a week in Oracle’s headquarters in 1995.

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