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'Good' Architecture.



  • edited 2:11PM
    I understand you not wanting to approach the rest of what I wrote.  It's ok.
  • edited 2:11PM
    The problem with this forum is that some people use it to abuse others and I know I get pretty fed up and bite back some times but if more people were less smug then the intended purpose of it, to raise the bar in architecture, might be more often witnessed.
    Mediocrity is your game and that's what you'll achieve. Kashmir and others may think withering patronisms and point scoring put downs are fun but does it occur to them that some younger folk come here to try and find intelligent discussion on a subject that is important to them and with which they are trying to gain some familiarity?
    Be proud of your fucked attitudes if you want to but why should people contribute to discussions and put forward ideas if all they get is the low and small from bullies who know nothing else but trying to be abusive, and if that's the quality then why should people come to the forum. The fastest way to destroy Peter's efforts is to ignore them as you do.
    Kashmir. the rest of what you wrote is shit. It is arrogant and offensive and elitist, not to mention bigoted and ignorant. It insults so many people it doesn't deserve a response. I might as well be argueing about renaisance painting with an idiot on assited employment at a McDonalds serving window, except that at least I could expect a polite rebuttal and quite possibly a more informed opinion.
    Sorry, I am not interested. You are up yourself. F... off.
  • edited 2:11PM
    did i mention 'post modern'?
  • edited 2:11PM
    No Miles, it's not your fault.
    Have you seen the new RSPCA kennels, by the way?
  • edited 2:11PM
    So what was your favourite band again? lol @ "fucked attitude". If you consider the facts a "fucked attitude" do yourself a big favor and quit now before you make a horrible mistake.
  • edited 2:11PM
    It makes me angry to read someone claim "facts" when there is nothing but abusive conjecture. Then it makes me angry when someone lays out ground rules for debate and immediately flouts them while screaming from a self appointed moral high ground. Then it makes me angry when you get what you give and in response start threatening what looks like damage to either property or person if I don't "quit".  Really?
    You are entering illegal territory now and the further you go into it the further you become from having anything at all to say on anything to anyone. This is a public forum and therefore it is covered by common law. Do not make intimidating threats as you are acting illegally.
    Calm down and take a good look at what you have originally written and claim to be fact and you will see that it is not fact but opinion. If you want me or others to reply to your opinion, don't start it with abuse of others opinions and don't claim it is fact.
    I apologise if my abusive reply to your abusive attitude has hurt your feelings but you should note that getting what you give is a galaxy away from personal threat of some "horrible" harm. I will no longer respond to you.
  • edited August 2008
    personal threat?!?!? man please relax...  Ok, let me rephrase my comment so you can sleep at night:
    "do yourself a big favor and quit ARCHITECTURE now before you make a horrible mistake"... 
    You seem like someone who likes a spirited conversation and that is all I want from you, a spirited online chat, but if you don't want to play and give me your take on what I initially posted it's your prerogative.  I thought we could have a good old barney and maybe both learn something in the process.  While I’m not an architect per say I do have a shitload of life experiences with architects to know a thing or two about how architecture happens in real world conditions.
    and maybe reads these messages from the trenches, you may learn something.
  • edited August 2008
    Back to those wonderful people at GRAND DESIGNS
  • edited 2:11PM
    Let's turn down the heat please.
    Differing points of view easily escalate into needless scuffles on web forums. That's OK but when they bump up a notch and people start using the word "legal" I will be forced to close this thread, as I have had to do before.
    That dog looks happy.
  • edited August 2008
    Thankyou and apologies to you too Peter.
    Yes the dog is happy and though the 'brief' was simple I saw no reason to scimp on the quality of design. Apart from the simple fact that I just can't bring myself to scimp on anything, there is the added consideration that the client actually pays me well by keeping feral deer out of the garden and being available to pat on the back and for hysterical welcomes home. He doesn't deserve relagation to half a forty four gallon drum. Even a full forty four gallon drum is an insult to the dogs kindness' and in the same way I would behave to a human client. Everyone and every building deserves attention to detail.
    I went to your link Mark at 'bdonline' and I was heartened to read a lot of the posts made calls for architects to stand up and start charging realistic fees and one in particular noted that architects give great value to a task and why should they be left unrewarded so regularly and spectacularly in the case of Kevin Mcleod. indefensible if true that he expected his architect to work for part free part reduced rates fee. Mates rates should be could mugs rates and as stated before by lots of people and me, dumbing down serves no one, least of all the client. A quote paraphrased from Murcutt's dad. "Don't compromise your principles because when you do then that will be the quality of your next client" . That others may undercut us is no reason to capitulate to what is essentially an artless wonder driven economy. The more steadfast we become in demanding our clients take as seriously as we do the inherent quality of an architect designed project then the sooner we all benefit.
    Over in "do we care..." I have said it clearly in answer to Miles. We have to convince and educate the client as much as possible what it is we do for them or it will remain difficult to justify to the artless wonders that we have done anything at all.
    Frankly I think a good start to Good Architecture is to ensure that it is ESDesigned as well as all the rest that commends it (in our minds) because without it there is often nothing to to distinguish it (in the mind of the artless wonder client) from the design constructor or spec home market.  This is were educating the client in any way possible, including via grand designs and from our own mouths, to the notion of architecture above mere drafting is cost effective aultruism. There is no point in keeping 'archtiecture' and the art of it, a secret from clients. After all, we want the client to come with us and not the other way round.
    Some people think it is a long bow to draw but the fact that an expert is regarded as almost unimpeachable in all other professions except architecture should give a good indication of how much 'standing up' there is ahead for architectural experts. 
  • edited 2:11PM
    Oh for Pete's sake play nicely ............................
  • edited 2:11PM
    Such a disparate thread, going in all directions and interesting at the same time because it highlights many of the architect’s delusions and interests.
    No one can give himself the credentials to know what is good art or in this case good architecture. It is pointless to start that discussion on that ground. Great if architecture is artistic, but more importantly architecture has to work. I am thinking for example, RMIT’s Storey Hall, ugly beyond words (in my modest opinion—who cares, you may think differently). What is undeniable is that it does not work. It is dark where it should not be, people fall down stairs because of the design (I have witnessed this painful event). On top, it is spatially illegible—try to find the right, stairs or lifts, more often than not you will end up in another building. And again in my opinion, the green is just bad taste and I don’t give a toss about the designer’s awards.
    Back to a very early claim (regret more so), there is a huge difference between architecture and medicine in this country, in this difference lies much of the credibility that medicine has and architecture has not. Medicine has a responsibility for public health, architecture has not that level of responsibility about anything—not with housing, not policy, or the city, or the neighbourhood. Architecture serves 5, 7, 10% of the population, the rest 90% goes without. Still, not many architects are interested in housing, unless this is destined to an individual client somewhere in the city. All very well, but irrelevant in the larger social, environmental, economic reality. Now, I am not sure about the figure is it 5%, 7% 10%, I don’t think anyone knows. I have collected these figures from 3 different sources. What these figures say is that architects are irrelevant in larger societal terms and perhaps, instead of blaming people with ‘bad taste’—ignorance goes both ways—perhaps we should reflect in what we are doing and why this is so.
    What is interesting is that architects have not even bother to have research institutes associated to our universities (as most universities in the world have). Institutes of this type are responsible for understanding (and for implementing change based on knowledge) the city, the trends, people, technology. Without this from of knowledge we will continue centre the work of architecture around art—free from responsibilities, detached and elitist. I am not referring for centres of design (again favouring form about all other aspects of architecture). I mean institutes that can really contribute with ‘scientific’ knowledge, hard data, credible policies, engagement with the community—all attributes that other professions have (again medicine, legal studies and so on). We are not educating in this direction so we will continue to produce architects who think ‘their’ work should be consider art. Back to the dog, yes it looks happy, but my neighbour can do that too, and she is not an architect.     
    In countries like Germany and Spain all buildings have to be signed/designed by an architect. This of course does not ensure ‘good taste’, but ensures the relevance of architecture in the form of guidelines, appropriate design (not necessarily aesthetics), policy, people, city etc. Architects can't impose their relevance on the grounds of ‘good taste’, that is arrogant to say the least. Architects can become relevant when they get in touch with the ‘real world’. While all of us feel entitled to public health, most do not feel entitled to architecture—that is the difference between architecture and other real professions (lots of books written on the issue BTW). So, not point in comparing medicine to architecture, nor lawyers or teachers (in charge of public education). All very well if some want to think of themselves as artists, but we must understand the consequences and stop lamenting when people do not want to pay for architecture or when they don’t care about architecture all together.
  • edited October 2008
    "Great if architecture is artistic but more importantly architecture has to work"
    This is the great misunderstanding about art that in the western tradition see artists and art as a superfluous flippery. Being artistic and being workable are far from being mutually exclusive as that quote implies. As both an artist intending to become a professional architect and a furniture joiner and carpenter, I know that the distinction is philisopically impossible. Art has to work or it is not art. If art does not work then it is simply decoration and in terms of architecture, it is called Featurism or Facadism and the the most derivative sort of Stylism.
    If instead you choose to look at art as aboriginal people all over the world see it, that is, an enormously important cultural imperative to create meaning and understanding amongst disparate people, then you would understand why historically architecture was seen as the highest form of art.  It is a  largely European medieval hangover to think that art is basically a pointless waste of resourses and an elitist pastime. That point of view is largely the reason why so much architecture in the western tradition is overly concerned with style over substance. It is also the reason why so many people think architecture is irrelevant to thier lives and think livng in a shitbox is just fine. That an architect should choose to see their craft as artistic is not a reason to deride thier passion to do better for the world around them. If you can't see what I mean perhaps then you should examine why you deride such a way of seeing social importance more broadly. Being an artist is not wanting to be elitist or useless, except from the point of view of those who don't know why art is important to thier lives and the whole of society.
    Looked into deeper, specifically the role of art in western history, it is can be seen that even the concept of a left and right wing of politics arose from this basic misunderstanding of the purpose of art in our lives (interested people should read up the history of the colours blue and red to find out what I mean)
    Art is about empathy, and fitness of purpose and spatial creation and it therefore makes that quote above look totally nonsensical and even offensive to artists and especially architects who consider thier craft highly enough. But I for one am not too concerned as apparently I know what I am doing is just fine. If 85% of people in this country can't see that, well heck, I can go to lots of other countries and find the statistics are differant. So what? Art is below all that, it is a foundation even of thier almost meaningless decorations.
  • edited October 2008
    not bad points beatriz.
    the public gets what it wants - or will pay for.
    having good doctors is a sensible priority.
    australia has a practical population.

    - given to fits and outbursts of repressed imagination.
    that probably explains things like storey hall or the sydney opera house.

    Its good that Australians don't get carried away with architecture or building too much at this stage.
    What they throw up generally speaking is so flimsy its no trouble to doze it all away, recycle it, and give it another shot - at least 2 or 3 more times yet for every building plot around.

    only the heritage cranks who think the last 200 years are anything more than mildly interesting remain an impediment to this. They are nothing a good earthquake, city wide fire, sewer system breakdown, water supply drying up or freak hurricane won't fix but.

    If you look at cities around the world where architecture/building matters - they have usually been fully flattened in one fantastically destructive hit that shocks the living shit out of the population.

    trauma is the answer - the doctors know that.
  • edited 2:11PM
    "Back to a very early claim (regret more so), there is a huge difference between architecture and medicine in this country, in this difference lies much of the credibility that medicine has and architecture has not. Medicine has a responsibility for public health, architecture has not that level of responsibility about anything—not with housing, not policy, or the city, or the neighbourhood. Architecture serves 5, 7, 10% of the population, the rest 90% goes without."
    Yes beatriz does raise some interesting points and especially this one.
    My point is that if architects took more seriously the art of architecture and the public took more seriously the role of art in public life, then it would be plausible that architects should be as responsible for public health as doctors are. That architecture is treated as an elitist flippery is exactly the position that scientific medicine was in four hundred years, even two hundred years ago. To imagine that the situation wasn't the same for medicine and that the analogy is there-fore illegitimate is to ignore history, which is to repeat it, which is the current case with architecture.
    By the way Beatriz. Research is currently being undertaken into the benefits of art to public health by some Govt departments both state and federal. Look up Arts Institute and Australia Council/research funding. Architects should take note that thier art is anything but quote below
    "Without this form of knowledge we will continue centre the work of architecture around art—free from responsibilities, detached and elitist."
    The reason, Beatriz,  that you believe art is basically free from responsabilities, detached and elitist is the same reason that you don't know about this research and  the same reason that architects find it very difficult to get clients to take thier advise seriously or that universities don't teach architecture as if public health was paramount and that the general public largely don't know what is in their own interests to know.
    It is prejudice against 'art' that is a key problem to understanding the problems of public health, as this research is beginning to find. Check it out and learn to love 'art' for what it really is.
  • edited 2:11PM
    Simon, you are misreading my post again. I did not say that architecture should be responsible for health and I am aware of the studies in this regard. More to the point, architecture could be responsible to the city, involved in planning for example, for housing policy... and while there are some few attempts to it, this is not yet the case. What I am saying is that this may be due to our education and the limitations of an education that is most times single focus--form, aesthetics, art. We are not equipped to engage (responsibly)  in other areas which are as important as art.

    By the way, concerns about architecture and its reposibility to society, wich is what I was talking about in the paragraph you quoted (about medicine), comes from concerns about whether architecture is a profession. It is in this discussion in which architecture is compared to medicine and law. Professions are endowed with social responsibility and for that we need knowledge, for example proper estatistical data about housing, about the population that we are meant to serve etc. 
    I don't even think that architecture here is mediocre, I think it is 'aesthetically' quite interesting and appealing but I am not very interested in this aspect because this is subjective and subject to fashion and because there is plenty of attention being paid to form. My concern is that architecture is not widely spread—but again, there is a reason for this to be the case. I don’t blame the public for this. I rather think we need a lot of self-reflection. 
  • edited 2:11PM
    BTW I won't be responding to any more comments. I am not afraid of good discussions and different and well informed points of view, but I find the approach in this thread agressive and not conducive to learning and dialogue.
  • edited October 2008
    ignore him.

    its a worthwhile direction you sent the thread on.

    There have been times though when institutes close to the type you point to existed. In a more modest post war era australia there was the EBS - attached to the CSIRO and melbourne university. It lingered on into the the 1970s.
    Its existence was no doubt related directly to material/resource shortages which hampered the nations ability to expand and grow after WW2. The problem at the time was how to get more from less.
    The answers to that lay very specifically in material science and engineering.

    Its looking likely that a crisis scenario of a different character is right here - right now again.
    which will be the prompt surely for the foundation of research institutes in academies of the type you talk of.
  • edited 2:11PM
    This is my point.
    I do think architecture should be responsible for public health and I think artist have a lot more than you think to offer architecture in that regard. Unfortunately most people think art is about what you seem to think it is. That is, useless flippery bound only to be produced and consumed by elitists. And that is entirely incorrect. The useless flippery you know is not art. it is in fact useless flippery and the true nature of art and its production and its deep and important value to society is lost entirely because of this bare faced predjudice . You and alot of other people especially in this country subscribe to that opinion compared to Germany and Spain for instance, where artists are supported by the govternment as valuable social stock. Does that not stirke you as relevant. France even has a special pension just for the public support of artists. Can you not see that they are aware of the connection between good architecture and support and recognition for the arts.
    Call my attempts to enlighten you on the matter of art aggresive if you want to but can you not see that your prejudice is inherently aggressive towards the art that I perform and that I know does good and is full of concern for others. I am anything but "irresponsible, detached and elitist" but you seem to think I and anyone calling themselves an artist is just that. Please don't throw out the baby with the bath water just because some artists are in fact posuers and imposters and BTW, you're entirely free to ignore anything I write, but don't expect to put up such a bigoted assumption about artists and what art is worth and not have someone out there defend themselves.
    Most art is produced by people who care deeply about other people. Most crap mascerading as art is produced by people who don't care about other people, like the Story Hall fellow you mentioned.
    Hairdresser. That's the clearest and least contentious thing you have posted for yonks. You should try more of it and less of the personal invective.
  • edited October 2008
    why thank you.
    you don't know how pleased I am to satisfy an intellectual.
  • b_nb_n
    edited October 2008
    Beatriz, you do raise some good points - don't be dissuaded. Certainly some that the position of state government architect would do well to see within its remit.

    As yet we seem to have few examples of what 'good' architecture might be. The following I suggest as a possible contender. Woodstock Balacalva housing by McGauran Gianinni Soon from a couple of years ago, I believe it picked up a couple of awards in 2006. I suggest it for several reasons, not least of which is that it will have SS rushing for his Boyd (go on Simon say the 'F' word). The text is from their website:

    "balaclava housing

    "It's the kind of place I can grow old in...There's nothing more I want. I feel as if I've come home." Daphne Sturzaker, Resident

    The project is a 31 unit community boarding house considered a 'flagship' demonstration project for the City of Port Phillip and the Office of Housing. it contains predominantly 'hotel' style rooms with kitchenettes and bathrooms plus a number of single bedroom accommodation, community lounges and laundrette.

    The site is in the heart of the busy local Balaclava Shopping Precinct. Located to the south of the Carlisle Street shops and in proximity to the elevated Balaclava Railway Station, it is well serviced by public transport via local bus, train and rail networks all within 100m of the site. Close proximity to a range of council community facilities including the St Kilda Library, Town Hall and adjacent community facilities make the site ideal for this type of accommodation.

    Intergrated art was made possible through successful application for funding by Arts Victoria for an art piece titled 'Lauerina', by artist William Kelly. This art work is to be installed on the carpark ceiling and floor. Additional integrated art projects by artist Benjamin Mckeown are located on the front entry elevation on Woodstock Street, and between the building's lobby and the public car park. The artwork for the project is a collaborative effort between the artists and MGS architects."
  • b_nb_n
    edited October 2008
    The 'art' in the above project, not the integrated art, is, I believe, that it aspires to be more than shelter (for people who can barely afford even shelter). But then that is what architecture is, so perhaps the 'art' is that it carries it off...
  • edited 2:11PM
    Facadism is a building designed specifically and determinably for its looks with barely a concern for its function and utility (like Story Hall). This is not facadism. In fact as you suggest, it not only "perhaps" may be an artfull building project. It is a perfect example of what I am trying to tell you is the ART of architecture. Thankyou for putting it forward. In no way (that I can see from your posting) is it contrary to my very basic premise as to what is good architecture.
    I suggest you re-read what I think is good architecture with this building in your mind, and perhaps you might get more out of what I have written. Actually you could go also to my writtings in "what the heck" thread on why Murcutt is a good designer and you will also see that this building has used his design methods. That you assume I don't think it would because I must be hung up on Boyd and Murcutt (as if I am a stylist in the Boyd and Murcutt mould) is to completely miss my point and at the same time exemplify it, that determinist ways of thinking are anathema to good design. That you can see this building is good design gives me hope that you might also eventuall recognise that I do not represent a determinist thinker trying to ram something down your throat.
    I am trying to give a broad out line of a design method (that Murcutt happens to use extremely well) that allows anyone to design an artful building. I do not mean facadism when I use the word art. Art is not facile, so it cannot mean facadism even if I wanted it to and I never have.
    For all the reasons that you postulate it to being a good building I would add that it is recognisably so, because even you can see that it is a great design. It is not determinist, it is not style conscious facadism it is not egotistical try hard 'art', Instead It is site sensitive, It is functional, it is fit for purpose and it looks good. It is good architecture. It is the art of architecture today.
  • b_nb_n
    edited 2:11PM
    Does your self obsession know no bounds!

    I would be insulted were I not so amused.
  • edited 2:11PM
    b n. Please explain why my comment is self obsessive?. I saw it as explaining what you seem to have missed in my original post.
  • edited 2:11PM
    SS - I think what b_n is trying to say is, well:

    when you peel onions - do the onions cry?
  • edited October 2008
    Info, interesting proverb that I have never seen before. I am presuming it is Jewish. Love jewish art, language, music, etc., but you know what is best. The heritage of intellectual rigour and inquiry, that created jewish art, language, music, etc.
    And b n, sorry if I come across as insulting to you.
    I just get tired of having a load of completely erroneous assumptions made about me that show two things. Intellectual laziness in not reading what I have written with any critical analysis and intellectual determinism that stems from a fear of having ones assumptions proved wrong. Both states of mind are a crippling of the potential to learn anything more than that which one specifically sets out to learn.
    Just like learning Stylism as a method of design really.
  • edited October 2008
    Info, here is an old bit of ART (that I think is brilliant) just for your viewing pleasure..
  • b_nb_n
    edited 2:11PM
    Simon, I'll simply say this: You mistake my questions for ignorance, my "perhaps"s and "possibly"s for lack of confidence. I know what I think; I am more interested in asking people to think, than telling them what I know.

    Reread your response in light of this, I threw my gloves at the last paragraph.
  • edited October 2008
    b n, Again I apologise if you think I am accusing you of a general Ignorance. I must work on my manner,  as I am really only accusing you of an ignorance of what I proposed to be the Art of archtiecture. Perhaps if you feel like it, you could also read what I orginally posted as well. I say this because you seem to believe that I would think your Balaclava boarding house would be an example of Facadism. (You refered to my running for Boyd) . There seems to be a lot of people struggling with the noton that I am not talking about or have any alligiances to any particular style. I am talking about architectural method.
    What you've said about me shows that you do not understand that I believe good architecture could possibly contain anything beyond perhaps Miesian influences from the 1950's. I have only ever attempted to annuciate what is a design method. I have never promoted a particular style and in fact I think I have made it pretty clear that I don't believe in Stylism as a determinate of what good architecture is.
    I have also tried to illustrate as much as possible that the concept of ART and Architecture as one and the same thing would easily contain your contribution (for which I thank you personally as I wasn't aware of its existance and it pleases me to know that it does exist.). My point is that good archtiecture could contain any number of styles and eras because I believe the main determinate is not style but function, utility and fitness of purpose. Further, to guage that it must be understood that discovery and investigation, free of predermined stylistic concerns, is the fastest and easiest way to achieve good architecture because once those concerns have been taken into account then the style pretty much takes care of itself. That I belive form should follow function does not mean that I am therefore a Miesian.
    Form following function is the very beginning of all architecture and over in 'what the heck' the discussion revolves around the loss in Universities of that particular basic premise. Instead the ART of architecture has been corrupted by the over reliance upon Stylistic concerns. That I don't like a lot of digitalised architecture is not because it is digital or wonky,  but because a lot of it neglects to even consider functionality and instead often has launched itself into stylistic concerns above all else. A digital wonky tecture could easily be an artfull building if it was also actually functional. The biggest differance therefore, between good and bad architecture is the degree of attachment that the architect has to thier own ego, because it is this self concern (inspiration is a nice way of putting it) exhibited by an overbearing stylism, that makes them forget that thier building has to actually work once you've walked past the facade and into the foyer.
    Unfortunately as is evidenced by many contributions like hairdresser's, not many people feel comfortable just forgetting about style altogether and instead look at a building as a piece of art., they therefore can't get past the notion that I am not actually baracking for any style at all.  I believe in method and the highest form of method can be learnt froma deep understanding of what art is. Art by definition is an holistic thing far beyond mere decoration. It is not what Beatriz thinks it is and that is not just because of what I think it is. What beatriz says is good architecture is what I know to be the real art of architecture ( and engineering and science and so on). My point is that though ART seems to have been forgotten and has now assumed this strange purile fasination with stylism and decoration, in reality that is not art and it would do wonders for a lot of architects to find out what art really is.
    Your Balaclava building is art. Thankyou for putting it up and apologies if I offended you and I probably will again.
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