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peterm
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Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

Tom- I will admit to often having a strident tone, and I apologize for that.

Having said that, remember when Michele Obama said “When they go low, we go high�? I’m not sure the polite tone historically has stopped an authoritarian or his defenders.

Architecture is loaded with symbols, much like abstract art, poetry, music. I think there can be an overlap of gestures which illustrate or at least indicate a political position.

RA- If style is the highest priority, it seems it would be difficult to express any philosophical position; I guess the focus would be strictly on solving the problems dictated by the program. The Greek column of the slave owning plantation house would be a terrible symbol for today’s family. For libraries, the classical style would harken back to the Carnegie libraries, but it would be next to impossible to attain the same level of detail and craftsmanship which was common at the turn of the century. And would this administration ever consider allocating the necessary resources for libraries which would be required to realize high quality classical design, using the finest materials? Only if the leader could personally profit from it.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Was Andrea Palladio a Fascist?

Tom
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Post by Tom »

peterm wrote: Having said that, remember when Michele Obama said “When they go low, we go high�? I’m not sure the polite tone historically has stopped an authoritarian or his defenders.

Architecture is loaded with symbols, much like abstract art, poetry, music. I think there can be an overlap of gestures which illustrate or at least indicate a political position.
First point: regarding tone I was only talking about the conversation here.
On the other hand you are exactly right in the ring of the political horse race.
I became convinced recently by young voice on the right named Saagar Enjeti,
that a conciliatory tone in politics cannot hold up by itself.
People need to know CLEARLY what one's bottom lines are.

Second, I agree absoultutely with that, and I have my symbolic preferences.
The discussion becomes confusing for me when strong symbolic beliefs become
confused with literalism.

I'll need to review Palladio's historical context.
But I'd guess his politics would be conservative, non-democratic, and aristocratic - barely republican if at all.
His influence on Jefferson then becomes very very interesting.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

"... His influence on Jefferson then becomes very, very interesting."

Indeed. Or does the interest lie in determining what sense there is in conflating architectural content and political ideology? Classism in American public architecture dates back to the 18th century, before the founding. Have we always been a Fascist country? Even before Georges Valois? Was Jefferson unaware of this toxic connection? Did he embrace it?

It is a red herring if ever there was one. Fascism is identical - save for inconsequential details - to Nazism, Communism, Socialism (of which there is no Democratic form) and Monarchism: a political ideology. It has nothing to do with fluted columns, white stone or domes.

There is a reason to oppose the continuation of those silly, overblown white piles, but they are architectural arguments, not political.

Tom
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Post by Tom »

Ha ha.
The argument challenges our traditional associations.
One of my favoriate modern buildings is Terragni's Casa del Fascio:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/128878819 ... otostream/

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

I was stopped by the question, above, of the architect's politics. I thought we were talking about the client's positions . . .

Which would be more likely to affect the nature and appearance of the project, the designer's politics or the client's ?

S

Tom
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Post by Tom »

BTW,
Pretty sure Aristotle thought democracy was the absolute worst
form possible for human government. Think maybe Plato thought
so too, not sure.
Last edited by Tom on Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

DRN
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Post by DRN »

It might be necessary to consider history for a moment, and take care not to impose our 20th-21st century views on those living and making decisions in the 18th and 19th centuries.
In its earliest days as a republic, the USA recognized it would need places and large structures in which to do the business of governing. Having just broken with England, there was a desire to build in a manner different from the system they just left...no Gothic Parliament buildings in America, and the provincial halls built by England in Philadelphia and Virginia were "OK" starts, but something better and "purer" was needed. The new Americans chose to consider precedents in architecture that related to a democratic government...the precedents available to them at that time were those from the early democracies of Greece and Rome. Thomas Jefferson took that thought one step further and often focused his view on the very rational 1500's work of Palladio. It is understood the mathematics of the classical proportions appealed to Jefferson, as did the geometrical purity of Palladio's work, which was to some extent still "new" in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Palladio's politics whatever they may have been, were irrelevant. Jefferson's mind loved order and beauty in music, architecture, landscapes, words, and thought. Palladio's architecture embodied that for him.

Hitler and Mussolini saw the modern movement in music, art, and architecture as manifestations of revolt among the general populace and the educated "elite" against centralized (read imperial) power and rule. As Hitler and Mussolini aspired to centralized rule with them at the top, they would have none of it. They reacted with anti-modern building styles.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

DRN, I agree that the Colonists were hamstrung by European precedent. They came from a culture that evolved from ancient Greek architecture, and there was little chance for them to break away from it.

What I see as the mistake the founders made, which they could have avoided, considering the redefinition of government as a service rather than as a ruling body, is the overwhelming scale of the Capitol. It was never an appropriate structure for elected bureaucrats to do the bidding of the commonweal. One might expect to encounter politicians striding about in togas and stolas.

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

"They came from a culture that evolved from ancient Greek architecture, and there was little chance for them to break away from it." To be fair, that's not what Dan wrote, is it . . .?

S

Tom
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Post by Tom »

I like the idea of the over-scaled nature of the Capitol Building.
I'd never considered that before - always assuming the inevitability of it's correctness.
I think I agree with RG.
Which provokes the question what should that building then be?
"the redefinition of government as a service ...." Very cool.

SDR
Posts: 19776
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Just yesterday I saw an image of the Oregon state capitol, an aerial photograph in color. What I saw appeared to be a building topped with a
truncated fluted column surmounted by a candle, like a giant cupcake. The statue is apparently gilded, abetting the impression of a lit candle . . .

https://oregonencyclopedia.org/articles ... kOLcBrQjVU

https://oregonencyclopedia.org/articles ... kOMYRrQjVU

A little joke perpetrated by an East Coast architect and artists, upon a western state ? Looks pretty decent, inside and out. Hooray for 1939 . . .

The Barry Faulkner mural in the House of Reps seems to extend the sightlines of the space into the distance. If so, it's a remarkable effect.

S

Tom
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Post by Tom »

Keep thinking about the overscaled Capitol Building comment.
Not to knowledgable about the buildings history.
Annapolis was the first capital - GWashington used the State House there.
Wasn't the dome of the Capitol building in D.C. still being built in the Civil War?
RG's comment on it's large scale stikes me as revealing.
As I think about it I see it less as a mistake and more as revealing ambitions or unspoken assumptions of "Empire".
That's the kind of stuff that needs to be consciously and widely undermined - in my judgement.
Would be interesting to compare Wright's Arizona State Capitol with National one in D.C.


(... the Oregon Capitol! Haha. Not sure yet how to talk about that one.)
Last edited by Tom on Wed Feb 12, 2020 9:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

peterm
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Post by peterm »

What ever happened to the less government, less regulation, lower the deficit crowd? Imposing a style mandate, especially a reactionary, regressive one is the most anti-libertarian move imaginable. It’s perfectly unAmerican.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »


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