There are Traditionalists in architecture and Modernists.
Unfortunately when it comes to Modernists, it is not a matter of live and let live or everyone just getting along.
The Modernists seem to be on a mission to stamp out traditional architecture.
There are some really great articles explaining this further but let us look first at Architecture and Context.
Context is the key factor in creating a harmonizing streetscape. Buildings of comparable design and age in their original setting work off each other. This interplay enhances them. The viewer’s experience is much more enjoyable.
A good example is the Lustron house . A very small post-war home with fake stone and plain paneled exterior – may not be an example of desirable architecture.
But put a lot of them together in their period neighborhood with the winding roads and the houses become very charming. The neighborhood is delightful to drive through.
A building needs neighbors and a setting that matches its design, to come alive.
Historic districts are loved because you have a collection of buildings from the same period on one street and another similar period on the next street.
McMansion buildings however work differently. A McMansion not only competes with other buildings but also with themselves. The authors of Get Your House Right explain this very well.
In a traditional neighborhood, houses work together to create streetscapes. Rather than each building generating all its own interest, traditional buildings work together to create outdoor rooms. Every building does not need to be a focal point.
The problem we have however is the Modernists movement invading our neighborhoods.
Just as the little Cape Cod house is converted to a giant McMansion on a street of small houses, hot shot architects that want to make a bold statement and a name for themselves are creating monsters.
Their focus on disruption of harmony and unity persists to no end.
Here are three great articles about this problem written by Clem Labine.
- The Taliban of Architecture
- Can’t We Just Get Along? New and Old Buildings in Context
- When Modernism Is Deprived of Contrast
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