Why do all new buildings in America look like this?

Forcing bland, if not brutalist, style on the little people has been going on for a long time now. Here is a discussion of the 1981 book From Bauhaus to Our House by Tom Wolfe. That book, and the interview, goes over the origins of the style and its eventual take over of architecture, although no one but architecture critics ever liked it.

Curiously, the modern style of architecture is not energy efficient. An amusing discussion of the subject by a building science engineer is here. The first 4 minutes says it all, but the whole lecture is interesting.
 

MtnMan

Woodpecker
Cost to design. Why pay expert architects and engineers millions to make one off designs.
Cost to build. Generic flat panels are cheaper to make then hand crafted odd shapes.
Energy efficiency: all new buildings must meet energy ratings. Tried and true designs are easier to pass
Maximising space: self explanatory
I work with architects on many new construction projects. They spend a ton of time and go into intricate detail to design these ugly, dystopian apartment buildings.
 

kel

Pelican
Yeah, the first one could be a pragmatic argument for making ugly, cookie-cutter buildings. Unfortunately, a fortune is spent on big-name architecture firms who produce this dehumanizing garbage that only architecture mag editors like.
 

Oberrheiner

Pelican
Same principal as to why it takes local departments years to complete minor road works I guess. Jobs for all, someone else is paying for it so why not pad it out.

Because you might want to be proud of the job you make and be able to look at yourself in the mirror every morning ?
"Oh hey, I could get paid longer to do a shittier job, so why not .. maybe I could even stretch that to the whole of my career, that would be a life well lived".
Seriously .. ?
What a shit man thinks like that ?
 
Because you might want to be proud of the job you make and be able to look at yourself in the mirror every morning ?
"Oh hey, I could get paid longer to do a shittier job, so why not .. maybe I could even stretch that to the whole of my career, that would be a life well lived".
Seriously .. ?
What a shit man thinks like that ?/b]


Everyone that works for government in western society
 

Salinger

Woodpecker
I work with architects on many new construction projects. They spend a ton of time and go into intricate detail to design these ugly, dystopian apartment buildings.

Do they design buildings like this strictly because of limit budgets...or do they actually believe these shit boxes look attractive?
 

Oberrheiner

Pelican
Everyone that works for government in western society

It's not limited to the west unfortunately.

But yes, and that's why these people are universally seen as part of the untermensch class, a hindrance at best, a repugnant lifeform to be disposed of at worst.

Exhibit A, the face of defeat - not even what I call a man, telling us that france is a muslim country and turkey a secular one :
 
Unfirable government officials.

Private industry has a tendency to make ugly buildings too. Part of it may be an attempt to save money. But otherwise it is a case of the modern tyranny of the self-appointed experts. It is amazing that a group of people can do things that everyone else despises, yet they are the "experts" so everyone thinks they have to use them. Same thing with modern art, modern movies, modern a lot of things. A group of talent-less people who got a piece of paper from an institute somewhere who mostly make a living by doing things the little people "would not understand." They actually think that when common people make fun of their buildings, that they are doing something right.

Tom Wolfe pointed out that executives would have a big-name architect design them a sterile, ugly building, and then when they moved in they would soon call up carpenters to hang some chandeliers, install decorative corbels, etc., to make the place more livable. Why they would use those big-name architects over and over again is because we are all conditioned to be beholden to the so-called experts.

"By their fruits ye shall know them" Unless they call themselves experts. Be it architecture, modern art, the movies, food science, journalism, education, economics, or what to do in pandemics. Experts are mainly expert at sucking up to bigger experts, whilst sticking it to everyone else.
 

MtnMan

Woodpecker
Do they design buildings like this strictly because of limit budgets...or do they actually believe these shit boxes look attractive?
Its certainly not a budgetary thing. I design the mechanical systems, so I don't really get involved in the appearance of the buildings much, I come in after and figure out how to heat, cool and ventilate it once the initial design is done. I have always chalked it up to they all read the same blogs and same trade magazines and follow the popular style just like most other people in most aspects of life.

I have been working on quite a few single family residences (expensive ones) and many look so similar, all quite uninspiring. There are some exceptions, but many look like this.
 

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infowarrior1

Hummingbird
Private industry has a tendency to make ugly buildings too. Part of it may be an attempt to save money. But otherwise it is a case of the modern tyranny of the self-appointed experts. It is amazing that a group of people can do things that everyone else despises, yet they are the "experts" so everyone thinks they have to use them. Same thing with modern art, modern movies, modern a lot of things. A group of talent-less people who got a piece of paper from an institute somewhere who mostly make a living by doing things the little people "would not understand." They actually think that when common people make fun of their buildings, that they are doing something right.

Tom Wolfe pointed out that executives would have a big-name architect design them a sterile, ugly building, and then when they moved in they would soon call up carpenters to hang some chandeliers, install decorative corbels, etc., to make the place more livable. Why they would use those big-name architects over and over again is because we are all conditioned to be beholden to the so-called experts.

"By their fruits ye shall know them" Unless they call themselves experts. Be it architecture, modern art, the movies, food science, journalism, education, economics, or what to do in pandemics. Experts are mainly expert at sucking up to bigger experts, whilst sticking it to everyone else.
Sure although I am responding to the comment about government.

As for the rest of your comment yes. It's confirmation of the modern inverted values.

That those guys get to be experts in the 1st place.
 

Hell_Is_Like_Newark

Kingfisher
Gold Member
Its certainly not a budgetary thing. I design the mechanical systems, so I don't really get involved in the appearance of the buildings much, I come in after and figure out how to heat, cool and ventilate it once the initial design is done.

I get involved in the HVAC for mid and high rise medical research, academic, and office space. Some design, but mostly commissioning & retro-commissioning. My experience is that architects treat the mechanical equipment as an afterthought that gets in the way of the architects "vision".

I shouldn't complain.. the abominable HVAC designs keep me employed as the new owners hire the company I work for to fix the issues.
 

MtnMan

Woodpecker
I get involved in the HVAC for mid and high rise medical research, academic, and office space. Some design, but mostly commissioning & retro-commissioning. My experience is that architects treat the mechanical equipment as an afterthought that gets in the way of the architects "vision".

I shouldn't complain.. the abominable HVAC designs keep me employed as the new owners hire the company I work for to fix the issues.
Yes, they often treat HVAC as an afterthought, which can be a huge problem. I am working on several high end residences right now and its a BIG problem. I work in a small market, so I end up working with the same firms over and over. Some of them are starting to realize that HVAC needs to be part of the plan from the start.

Commissioning seems like an interesting field. I had some interest in it before I started my current job. It seems like there isn't much continuity from the design team to the actual management of the building. Even if the design is well thought out, the guys setting it up or operating the building may never have gotten the reasoning behind it.
 

Hell_Is_Like_Newark

Kingfisher
Gold Member
Commissioning seems like an interesting field. I had some interest in it before I started my current job. It seems like there isn't much continuity from the design team to the actual management of the building. Even if the design is well thought out, the guys setting it up or operating the building may never have gotten the reasoning behind it.

A lot of the time, it is the install contractor tasked with commissioning the system, which takes billing hours and reduces the bottom line. Especially if install issues are found. I find that these buildings were never actually "commissioned". We find things like VAV boxes that never had their actuator attached to the damper, zones not programmed into the BMS, VAV boxes with one set-point (full open), etc.

The issue is really the outfit that is paying for the building. The push is to minimize the upfront costs to get the project approved. So it becomes "pay less now but pay way more later". The people who are involved in "paying less now" don't deal with the paying later issues.

One building (labs and offices) we knocked off $1mil+ a year in utility costs by fixing all the issues.
 

debeguiled

Peacock
Gold Member
Architects hate accessibility too.

It seems that a part of the newer trends can also be attributed to technophilia, the triumph of new materials over traditional practices. Why put a slope in your roof if you have some amazing new roof sealer you think will last fifty years? Why worry about how you site and orient a house if you have space age insulation and cheap energy?
 
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