Why do all new buildings in America look like this?

VNvet

Kingfisher
nomadbrah said:
I actually think they're way better than what came before it, the soulles steel and glass of the 80s and the horrendous brutalism of the 70s.

No one will call these modern designs "hideous" and "disgusting" like I would call most brutalist architecture.
Um, ok?

It's better than the worst architecture of all time - big deal. It still sucks compared to 19th century architecture.

We should demand better architecture.
 
Blaster said:
The building that was torn down was probably uglier. Probably why it was torn down. This is one that survived.
Not really. Old buildings are knocked down because they're condemned.

I think a lot of people are missing the point. I don't think Our Esteemed Leader meant "Why are condos condos?" but "Why do all new condos look the same?" so "Because they're condos" or "Because Communism hnnnnng!" are not valid answers.

The right answer, as usual, is because money. Or to be more precise because McDesign and McConstruction. They all look feeble, like they're made of cardboard, because, like single-family units in America, they're made with cheap cardboard-like materials, because it's cheaper, faster and it takes less skill. Any non-qualified illegal can do it like they eat peanuts. So as you add stories and height the impression of feebleness increases.
 

Phazlenut

Sparrow
911 said:
This is a really good article on the subject of why we hate contemporary architecture, identifying aspects that drive bad architecture: fear/hatred of traditionalism, lack of integration with nature, fear of symetry/harmony, etc:

https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/10/why-you-hate-contemporary-architecture
Bro, thanks a bunch for this one.

Followed all the links and references in it and got this 1982 debate at Harvard between two advocates, one for each camp (Hypermodernity vs Humanism):

http://www.katarxis3.com/Alexander_Eisenman_Debate.htm

with this killer quote that encapsulates a great deal about how I feel regarding pointless social and philosophical commentary intruding into every fucking thing:

I can't, as a maker of things, I just can't understand it. I do not have a concept of things in which I can even talk about making something in the frame of mind you are describing. I mean, to take a simple example, when I make a table I say to myself: "All right, I'm going to make a table, and I'm going to try to make a good table". And of course, then from there on I go to the ultimate resources I have and what I know, how well I can make it. But for me to then introduce some kind of little edge, which starts trying to be a literary comment, and then somehow the table is supposed to be at the same time a good table, but it also is supposed to be I don't know what; a comment on nuclear warfare, making a little joke, doing various other things ... I'm practically naive; it doesn't make sense to me.
 

Troller

Woodpecker
It´s cheaper. And probably in the comfort zone of the licenses and inspections city hall for licensing approval.

The most expensive part of construction is details. Real craftmanship. Few workers can do them. The ones which can are always in demand. And they take longer time to be executed.
 

debeguiled

Peacock
Gold Member
I think part of the appeal of these buildings is how they cater to the renter's idea of being modern and not old fashioned, looking towards the future and not the past.

As superficial as that sounds, self image can trump aesthetics. A lot of these buildings have little of the flourishes of the past, like moldings or wainscoting, and offer simple forms and palettes, with tons of windows that seem to say, I am conversant with all the latest trends, materials, technology and as such, not stuck in the past like old people are.

There is so much less thought in the interior design, just concrete, metal, windows, broad expanses of simple color, as if the resident is too focused, too practical, to make a place look homey, as they are concentrating on their great plans for the world.

The large windows are so cocky, as if to say, we aren't even worried about shelter anymore with our high tech glazing and HVAC, so we can afford to bring the outside into the house because it is all part of our domain.

Old school craftsmanship and joinery is like an insult to a digital future, like a little jab saying, see what you left behind?

So, simple, unoriginal, ugly boxes, uncluttered with human aspects, easy to clean, because important people don't have time to be fussing with a house.

A lot of times, there are owners of old houses who add insult to injury by trying to recast these beautiful old homes into lesser versions of the modernist vision.

It really chaps my ass to see some great old Craftsman house's interior woodwork be painted indiscrimately over with white paint by owners who think it is too dark, when they want to feel like they are inside and outside at the same time all the time, and white paint fixes everything.

Look at this poor couple who had to spend hundreds of hours removing ugly white paint from the house they bought.



I guess the owners before them just felt a look like this wasn't good enough for them:



https://www.oldhouseonline.com/repairs-and-how-to/adventures-in-stripping-woodwork

There are thousands of listings like this in Northern California, some beautiful old house from the early 20th century on the outside, and one indistinguishable white room after another on the inside, with all the subtlety and detail painted over and vanished for all practical purposes.

You see some cool brown shingle house like this:



But the minute you get inside it is indistinguishable from any of these high rise soulless neutral pallette places. Look at all the awesome wood details and built in cabinets that have been vanished by white paint.



 

debeguiled

Peacock
Gold Member
And, what a joy it is when one of these old houses retains the original interior design. Is this look really too dark? Too unlivable, oh modern ones? Would you have to spend too much time dealing with wood polish?

Look at this amazing listing from Pasadena. What a house! Still looking like 1916.

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/240-N-Grand-Ave-Pasadena-CA-91103/20857582_zpid/

So inhospitable, not modern enough! Too dark! I want to be inside and outside at the same time! I just needed the trim to take a backseat, to me!







 

Salinger

Woodpecker
debeguiled said:
What do you call those ornate things...the vertical ones on the walls and the square ones under the windows that break up the monotony of blank space?

Is there an architectural name for those?
 

HermeticAlly

Woodpecker
Greene and Greene style architecture and furniture (like in debeguiled's post just above) is glorious, probably my favorite aesthetic. I love the natural wood.
 

911

Crow
debeguiled said:
I think part of the appeal of these buildings is how they cater to the renter's idea of being modern and not old fashioned, looking towards the future and not the past.

As superficial as that sounds, self image can trump aesthetics. A lot of these buildings have little of the flourishes of the past, like moldings or wainscoting, and offer simple forms and palettes, with tons of windows that seem to say, I am conversant with all the latest trends, materials, technology and as such, not stuck in the past like old people are.

There is so much less thought in the interior design, just concrete, metal, windows, broad expanses of simple color, as if the resident is too focused, too practical, to make a place look homey, as they are concentrating on their great plans for the world.

The large windows are so cocky, as if to say, we aren't even worried about shelter anymore with our high tech glazing and HVAC, so we can afford to bring the outside into the house because it is all part of our domain.

Old school craftsmanship and joinery is like an insult to a digital future, like a little jab saying, see what you left behind?

So, simple, unoriginal, ugly boxes, uncluttered with human aspects, easy to clean, because important people don't have time to be fussing with a house.

A lot of times, there are owners of old houses who add insult to injury by trying to recast these beautiful old homes into lesser versions of the modernist vision.

It really chaps my ass to see some great old Craftsman house's interior woodwork be painted indiscrimately over with white paint by owners who think it is too dark, when they want to feel like they are inside and outside at the same time all the time, and white paint fixes everything.

Look at this poor couple who had to spend hundreds of hours removing ugly white paint from the house they bought.

[img=600x411]https://luxport.s3.amazonaws.com/89...C3E-26CDC5177379+26CDC5177379_007_H.jpg[/img]
It's not "white", you plebe, it's eggshell with chiffon highlights and bone detailing.
 
Salinger said:
debeguiled said:
What do you call those ornate things...the vertical ones on the walls and the square ones under the windows that break up the monotony of blank space?

Is there an architectural name for those?
On wood garage doors, the wood pieces that separate the panels are called stiles, and I think the name would apply here as well. As far as I know, the rectangles between the stiles are just called panels.
 

Jura

Robin
Architect here checkin' in.

I'm not really going to bother writing a novel about the issue brought up by OP since I believe most of the main answers have been laid out already (land usage; cheap developers; cost of traditional trades; CAD vs handsketching; etc.). And to be honest, the entire subject is really blackpilling me.

A lot of people seem to think that the talent pool needed to produce aesthetically pleasing architecture is all but gone, but I beg to differ. I do a lot of restoration/conservation work so atleast I get to see that. The thing is, most people don't really seem to care that much about the box they live in. In the end, it comes down mostly to the location and the price they pay (especially in big cities). The funny thing is, they all flock by the millions to the same touristic spots every year. The old cities; the ruins; the history; the unpredictable street layout; the craftsmanship...Deep down inside, they all know this minimalist, utilitarian, pure lines, homogeneous white finish spaceship-style habitat is destroying their soul.

The other big culprit is obviously the architects themselves. But most of them don't stand any chance. The vast majority of college programs are SJWs and globalists producing factories run by ultra-liberal administrators, flamboyantly gay teachers and over-the-top theoreticians with often little actual on-site construction experience. The big names of the Modernism (starting in the early-20th century) are celebrated and embraced like Gods for their willingness to question traditional lifestyles, break the established notions of beauty and be total control freaks. I'm telling you, the war on traditions and refinement that goes on in most architecture schools and offices is not something to brush aside.

Anyway I'm glad that this trend of creating soulless architecture is starting to catch the public's attention more and more. I know that PJW and E. Michael Jones, among others, have posted videos on the subject recently. It's one thing to display an abstract piece of junk in a modern art museum. But buildings are obviously a different breed. They're up there in our face all day long and define - in big part - who we are as a civilisation.
 

debeguiled

Peacock
Gold Member
HermeticAlly said:
Greene and Greene style architecture and furniture (like in debeguiled's post just above) is glorious, probably my favorite aesthetic. I love the natural wood.
Yeah, that Pasadena listing I posted is an actual Greene and Greene house on the market. Imagine owning one.
 

debeguiled

Peacock
Gold Member
911 said:
It's White and White on the inside.
I'm talking about this listing, smart guy.

Good line though.

debeguiled said:
And, what a joy it is when one of these old houses retains the original interior design. Is this look really too dark? Too unlivable, oh modern ones? Would you have to spend too much time dealing with wood polish?

Look at this amazing listing from Pasadena. What a house! Still looking like 1916.

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/240-N-Grand-Ave-Pasadena-CA-91103/20857582_zpid/

So inhospitable, not modern enough! Too dark! I want to be inside and outside at the same time! I just needed the trim to take a backseat, to me!







 

Garuda

Woodpecker
These things are fire hazards.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/feat...a-s-new-apartment-buildings-all-look-the-same

The advance of the mid-rise stick building has come with less fanfare, and left local officials and even some in the building industry surprised and unsettled. “It’s a plague, and it happened when no one was watching,” says Steven Zirinsky, building code committee co-chairman for the New York City chapter of the American Institute of Architects. What caught his attention was a blaze that broke out in January 2015 at the Avalon apartments in Edgewater, N.J., across the Hudson River from his home. “When I could read a book in my apartment by the flame of that fire,” he says, “I knew there was a problem.” Ignited by a maintenance worker’s torch, the fire spread through concealed spaces in the floors and attic of the four-story complex, abetted by a partial sprinkler system that didn’t cover those areas. No one died, but the building was destroyed.

There haven’t been many such fires in completed stick mid-rises, but the buildings have proved highly flammable before the sprinklers and walls go in. Dozens of major fires have broken out at mid-rise construction sites over the past five years. Of the 13 U.S. blazes that resulted in damages of $20 million or more in 2017, according to the National Fire Protection Association, six were at wood-frame apartment buildings under construction.

These fires often bring a local outcry to restrict stick apartments. The Atlanta suburbs of Sandy Springs and Dunwoody enacted bans on wood-frame buildings above three stories, but they were later overturned by the Georgia legislature. There’s also talk of new regulations in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Massachusetts, and Maryland. But the place where legislative action seems most likely is New Jersey.


Building permits have been issued for 105,000 new apartments in the state since 2012, and it sure looks like most are in wood-frame mid-rises. Glenn Corbett, a former firefighter who teaches fire science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, took me on a tour of some of New Jersey’s “toothpick towers,” as he calls them, pointing out places that fire engines can’t reach and things that could go wrong as the buildings age. “You’re reintroducing these conflagration hazards to urban environments,” he says. “We’re intentionally putting problems in every community in the country, problems that generations of firefighters that haven’t even been born yet are going to have to deal with.”

The toughest of the bills before New Jersey’s legislature would restrict urban stick buildings to three stories and 7,000 square feet per floor. Proposals with a better chance of passing call for, among other things, masonry firewalls between building segments and full sprinkler systems for apartment buildings three stories and higher. The Avalon at Edgewater has been rebuilt with these measures; Feigin, construction chief for AvalonBay, the building’s owner, says they’re now standard for all the company’s new mid-rise developments. The 2018 IBC adds provisions aimed at stopping fires from spreading through apartment-building attics, and a proposal approved late last year, over the objections of builders and apartment owners, will change the 2021 code to effectively require full sprinkler systems for all four-over-one podium buildings.

Can we rely on developers’ economic interests and the model-code process to work things out? Alexi Assmus, who’s been active in the New Jersey debates and the IBC process, is dubious. A businesswoman and civic activist who got involved when AvalonBay built a wood-framed complex in her hometown of Princeton, she tried to introduce changes to the national model code and didn’t get far. In theory, anyone can participate on the International Code Council committees that submit recommendations to the government officials who vote on the IBC, but in practice it’s mostly trade group representatives who do. “The special interests all have the money to go there and stay at the hotels,” Assmus says. “Don’t think that this third-party ICC is going to give us codes that are in the public interest, necessarily.”
 
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