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Architectural Monstrosities in New York


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#31 StephanieL

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 04:56 PM

At least with the tenements, they were built during an age when ornamentation was added to the outside of even the most modest of buildings--cornices, carvings, etc.
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#32 Rail Paul

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 04:56 PM

I am a preservationist and my impulse is to save old buildings and yes, what is being done in Queens has no justification on any grounds except the bottom line of greedy developers.


But, developers tore down older buildings on Park Avenue in the 40s and 50s to create Lever House, etc. That was a maximization of profit which resulted in both profit and art.

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#33 Lex

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 04:57 PM

Architecture is about more than aesthetics, though (although that is what strikes us first.) It's also about meaning, social commentary and cultural values that change over time. The Eiffel Tower is a good example of that kind of change. We think it's a beautiful symbol of Paris at its most romantic. When it was built, it was a technological marvel. Aestethics had nothing to do with it. We came 'round.

Sometimes we come around, sometimes not. The "newness" of something sometimes serves as a cover for it's banality.

Here we have Nelson Rockefeller's Plaza in Albany -
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Remarkably similar to Albert Speer's model for Hitler's new Berlin -
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#34 Lippy

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 05:00 PM

Yes, I agree completely.

#35 Stone

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 05:00 PM

Is the Rockefeller Plaza much different than four Seagrams Buildings in a row?

#36 StephanieL

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 05:02 PM

Post deleted--I'm not reading things closely enough.
"Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires." --John Steinbeck


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#37 Stone

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 05:02 PM

I've been trying to find a picture of the Iris and Gerald Cantor Film Center on 8th Street. It's a squat, silver box with an NYU-purple band. Now, I grant you that 8th Street is kind of ugly, but this building looks like a poorly wrapped birthday present.

Speaking of poorly wrapped, here's a picture of Iris Cantor:

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Was she in "Brazil"?
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#38 Daisy

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 05:03 PM

I'd say yes to Stone because with architecture context matters so much. The Rockefeller plaza is repetitive, boring, banal. I think the way the Seagrams building relates to its site is a big part of its aesthetic. Athough I prefer the Lever House.

Edited to add: That Cantor film center is an eyesore. NYU has a lot to answer for where the uglification of the Village is concerned.
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#39 Lippy

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 05:06 PM


Architecture is about more than aesthetics, though (although that is what strikes us first.) It's also about meaning, social commentary and cultural values that change over time. The Eiffel Tower is a good example of that kind of change. We think it's a beautiful symbol of Paris at its most romantic. When it was built, it was a technological marvel. Aestethics had nothing to do with it. We came 'round.

Sometimes we come around, sometimes not. The "newness" of something sometimes serves as a cover for it's banality.

Here we have Nelson Rockefeller's Plaza in Albany -
Posted Image

Remarkably similar to Albert Speer's model for Hitler's new Berlin -
Posted Image


Here's what I said in the What I'm Reading thread about a book on this very subject:
The Edifice Complex, by architectectural critic Deyan Sudjic, explores architecture as a means of political expression. This book is a good companion piece to The Architecture of Happiness. It is very different in tone, intellectual and analytical (but not academic) rather than ruminative and poetic. Both books are about the same thing, though: meaning in architecture and not just aesthetic and technical issues.

#40 Lex

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 05:11 PM

I'd say yes to Stone because with architecture context matters so much. The Rockefeller plaza is repetitive, boring, banal. I think the way the Seagrams building relates to its site is a big part of its aesthetic. Athough I prefer the Lever House.

You can tell them apart?

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“I have a dream of a multiplicity of pastramis.”

"One of the Evil Twin beers I tried smelled like a foot." - LiquidNY

"Sorry about your cookie." - Steve R.'s response to Jim Leff's epic rant.


#41 Lippy

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 05:13 PM

You mean you can't?

#42 g.johnson

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 05:16 PM

Like she said: context.
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#43 Lex

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 05:28 PM

You mean you can't?

It's like being able to tell penguins apart. It's important to other penguins but not to me.

Funny, I never have any problem distinguishing between the Chrysler building and the Empire State.

“I have a dream of a multiplicity of pastramis.”

"One of the Evil Twin beers I tried smelled like a foot." - LiquidNY

"Sorry about your cookie." - Steve R.'s response to Jim Leff's epic rant.


#44 Stone

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 05:33 PM

Seagram building is on the East side of Park. Lever House on the West. One is slightly darker, the other slightly narrower. Seagram sits on a promenade (?) of white marbel which people claim reminds them of a music hall (no doubt because it looks pretty much the same as Lincoln Center). Apparently, the borderless pools on the Seagram site are to die for. The restaurant in the Lever House was rescued from the trash bin behind the set of Sleeper.

But let's not waste time on old buildings. Let's stick to the new crap. There is another science-fictions blob down near 3rd ave and 3rd street if I recall correctly.

#45 lovelynugget

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 05:52 PM

I absolutely hate the facade of One Union Sq South with the giant Metronome piece. (Art, not architecture, I know, but since they slapped it onto the front of a building, it's fair game in my book.)
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