Monday, September 13, 2010

externally applied decoration

In my hunt for the connections between 80's architecture styles and the (modernist) International Style has come this frank perspective from the nytimes.

ARCHITECTURE/DESIGN; Skycrapers Shouldn't Look Down on Humanity
Published: May 29, 1988

Today we come full circle to post-modernism only to discover that this reaction to modernism was also primarily stylistic. The spice of life, missing in modernist designs, was to be achieved through externally applied decoration. [...]

A great alliance was forged between the world of real estate developers, advertising and corporate merchandising with a new breed of architects who could respond with memorable, eye-catching, novel tall buildings. The merchandisers were quick to realize how easy it was to achieve a readily marketable product of great promotional value by means of a skin-deep styling treatment of buildings. [...]

With minimum investment - decorative skin patterns, elaborate tops and sometimes bottoms - one could achieve the appearance of a varied and rich architecture. [...]

Beyond its own form, the tall building challenges us with a problem of how it fits into its urban setting with little precedent to go on. [...]

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