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Julius Shulman, RIP

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He was the photographer of architectural modernism, and a one-man advertisement for the dream of Southern California living. Three pictures:

A case study in Case Studies
Palm, meet Springs
Not a still from Mad Men

UPDATE: More on Shulman from the Deeply Glamorous former Reason editor Virginia Postrel.

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  1. One of those looks like Troy McClure’s house.

  2. Cracked.com just posted an Ayn Rand Character Flowchart. Don’t know why that seems relevant here, but it does.

  3. Picture no.3, I like the furniture. I like the clothes. The house is epic fail. Solid white walls and floor? Ceiling made to resemble corrugated sheet metal? And is that the sewer vent pipe I spy?

  4. Warren,

    To each his own. My reaction was exactly the opposite. I wouldn’t pay ten bucks at a yard sale for that furniture and those clothes, which is probably the only place they can be found these days.

  5. I’d love to live in the world of # 3.

  6. Warren,

    It’s a light fixture. The corrugated ceiling would baffle sounds nicely, a problem I’ve always found in those open steel and windows-type houses.

    Speaking of Troy McClure, I had a friend in high school would lived in one of those UFO houses. It’s was cantilevered off a short cliff and not on a pole, but it was the same thing. It was kind of strange, but it wasn’t all sterile white. And it had dark orange 70s deep shag carpeting that was great to walk barefoot on. My memory of the house is only marred by inadvertently having to listen to my friend loudly lose her virginity in one of the bedroom while at a party and then trying to get her out of the closet she locked herself into for a two-hour crying jag.

  7. Note the first two pictures are of houses hanging on cliffs with great views. Arcitectural modernism worked where the buildings were separated from the world around them. Once in a while you will see a modernist skyscaper sitting alone away from a downtown area rising majestically above the buildings around it. In that format, especially on the plains, they can really be quite majestic. Put the same building in the middle of a downtown surrounded by other syles of buildings and crammed into a small lot and it just looks awful. The same is true of modernist homes. Take those same houses off of their remote cliffs and put them in a tree lined neighborhood next to a few capes and colonials and they will be ugly step sisters. But in the right environment, they look great.

    Ultimately, I think this is why modern architecture failed. It is too separate from its environment. Too hostile to the people who are supposed to use it. Take the third picture. Yeah, the 50s babe looks pretty swank posing on that couch, but that couch looks about as useful and as comfortable as a hospital waiting room. Modernism was always more about the vanity of the architect and making a statement than the plebs who were supposed to use the buildings.

  8. Oh I love the clothes. I’m waiting for the classic shirtwaist dress to come back. Not the crappy 80s version, no. The original, circular skirt and all.

    I wish people still dressed for everyday outings.

  9. SugarFree, look to the left of the light fixture. The pipe is what Warren is talking about.

  10. Ah, I see. I think that might be a pipe of some kind. Looks a little small to be sewer.

  11. My memory of the house is only marred by inadvertently having to listen to my friend loudly lose her virginity in one of the bedroom while at a party and then trying to get her out of the closet she locked herself into for a two-hour crying jag.

    Of course that’s exactly what the architect was going for.

  12. I thought that was the stripper pole in the rumpus room, Bronwyn.

  13. “I wish people still dressed for everyday outings.”

    Agreed.

  14. Bronwyn,

    The truth of my junior partner stasis in my marriage is that I cannot find any way to get my wife to dress like Betty from Mad Men, even just for a special occasion.

  15. Ultimately, I think this is why modern architecture failed.

    I think that modern architecture failed for two reasons:

    1. The materials that came to dominate it age poorly.

    2. It was primarily a tool of the state, so it is associated with the sort of dead spaces states tend to create [like City Hall Plaza in Boston].

    That being said, if we’re going to talk about what “looks awful”, I would say that houses built in an ultra-modern style after, say, 1985, virtually all look better than almost all post-1985 residential construction in traditional styles. Modernism did not achieve its aims, but all the other architectural styles became hideous with even greater speed.

  16. I wish people still dressed for everyday outings.

    No kidding. I am sick unto death of people going out in public in saggy shorts, wrinkled t-shirts, and flip-flops. To my mind, anyone who dresses like that in public has no self-respect and no regard for who they interact with.

  17. I want to live in picture number 1. I want to dress like the chick in picture number 3, and I want a husband who looks like Robert Mitchum to make me a martini promptly at 7 pm every evening.

    If I can’t have the house, I’ll take one of the NY apartments Frank Sinatra characters lived in in 50s or 60s movies. The Robert Mitchum husband is mandatory, though.

    Bronwyn, see the dresses at ModCloth. I like the retro feel to a lot of these.

  18. That being said, if we’re going to talk about what “looks awful”, I would say that houses built in an ultra-modern style after, say, 1985, virtually all look better than almost all post-1985 residential construction in traditional styles.

    I would tend to agree, mostly because post-1985 construction lacks the detail work necessary for traditional styles but unnecessary for modernist styles.

    That said, here in West Texas we have a very agreeable genre of house being built based on the old ranch houses – stone, big windows, deep porches, simple layouts.

  19. Fluffy,

    The horrible brutalist city hall is another example of what I am talking about. That building is totally hostile towards human beings. It is sterile and completely unwelcoming. Contrast that with Thanial Hall just down the hill. It is much warmer and more welcoming. It is not so much that modernism was a tool of the state. It is that modernism was at war with the people who were supposed to use it.

    I think it is associated with the state because modernism was always about utopian ideas and the will of the architect so it naturally appealed to planners and bureaucrats.

  20. The Mcmansion styly is pretty awful. They look like giant doll houses. But RC is right, the ones that look more like ranch houses look pretty good. They have a few of them back east to.

  21. RC: I really like the architectural style you describe – I think of it as the hill country, or Austin, look. Don’t see much of it in Houston, of course.

  22. Take those same houses off of their remote cliffs and put them in a tree lined neighborhood next to a few capes and colonials and they will be ugly step sisters. But in the right environment, they look great.

    I dunno, there are a lot of flat suburban streets in Palm Springs where the Modernism looks just fab, and perfectly in tune with the flat desert surroundings. In the post-war floodplain suburb where I grew up, the very occasional Modernist house always looked better than stucco tract homes and faux-Swiss chalets. In my book, all you need for a good Modernist setting is some flat ground and room to breathe.

  23. “In my book, all you need for a good Modernist setting is some flat ground and room to breathe.”

    Exactly. They need to have space to be seperated from their environment.

  24. i like that other people want to get dressed up in public – and lord knows it seems to help to wear a suit when flying – but i work too fucking hard to play dress up every day.

    i would love to live in house 1, 2 or 3.

    “That building is totally hostile towards human beings.”

    i agree, but i like that about brutalism. it’s the architecture of hatefulness. very metal.

  25. Of course that’s exactly what the architect was going for.

    I know! Seriously, what kind of house has closets that lock from the inside?

  26. I am sick unto death of people going out in public in saggy shorts, wrinkled t-shirts, and flip-flops.

    Should I get off your lawn, too? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Don’t see much of it in Houston, of course

    We built one, but it sank into the swamp. We then built another, but it sank into the swamp…..

    (We do tend to make it a point to destroy any building before it gets old enough for some idiot in govt to make it an untouchable historical monument).

  27. “I think it is associated with the state because modernism was always about utopian ideas and the will of the architect so it naturally appealed to planners and bureaucrats.”

    The one’s that didn’t read The Fountainhead maybe.

  28. Exactly. They need to have space to be seperated from their environment.

    Si, y no. The Modernist one-story, like its cousin the ranch house, is (or at least can be) a perfectly harmonious *response* to a flat, outdoor-first environment. Especially at the beginning they took the baton from the Craftsman idea that indoor/outdoor space should be permeable.

    That doesn’t mean you’re hiding from the street, but rather that you assume a bit of open air and rocks and cactusses and (hopefully) swimming pools to be part of the deal.

  29. Suger Free,

    Why did she cry for two hours? Was the sex that bad? Was she that drunk? That is a pretty dramatic reaction to sex.

  30. The ugliest building I have ever laid eyes on is the main library in downtown Orlando. Anyone else familiar with that monstrosity?

  31. Since Citizen Nothing is incapable or too lazy, I’ll do it.
    Main Library, Orlando.

    But does Citizen nothing tip me at Christmastime?
    Noooo!

  32. Sorry Jsub. I couldn’t find a photo that sweet. Look for a little extra something in your stocking.

  33. I love his photographs of the Bradbury; such a cool interior (which is why it is has been milked so much by the movie industry).

  34. So Matt, a good modernist rambler looks okay on a big lot in the dessert. Can’t really disagree, but that is a pretty thin defense of modernism.

  35. Citizen

    When I lived in Orange County I used to go there quite often. I always rather liked it, but then I’ve never had a real problem with the brutalist style in the right setting.

  36. Okay, I’m a big sucker for modernism in most of it’s incarnations. Yes, it doesn’t work sometimes. Brasilia (the entire city) is a classic failure of modernism. There are plenty of modernist houses sprinkled throughout West U. and they always look better than the bullshit faux whatever houses they’re sitting next to. They don’t need a lot of space, they just need appropriate landscaping. The harmony between the indoor and outdoor spaces is easier to achieve with modernism than, say, Victorian or Federal. You also can’t cram 6000 square feet of house onto a 1/4 acre lot, but that’s something everyone is guilty of these days no matter your preferred architectural style.

    Of course, part of my problem is my general disdain of traditional house styles. I live in the beginning of the 21st century and my house should reflect that, not some idealized recreation of 100 or 200 or 300 years ago.

    Now I’m off to read my back issues of Dwell.

  37. There are plenty of modernist houses sprinkled throughout West U.

    Is anyone on this thread NOT from Houston?

  38. Ah, I see. I think that might be a pipe of some kind. Looks a little small to be sewer.

    I wonder if there’s a kitchen on the other side of that partition. If so, I’d guess that that’s the waste vent from the sink.

    I sure wouldn’t want to live in a house that had only partial walls around a bathroom. And i don’t think anyone else would, so I rule that out.

  39. In photo 3: I saw that same sidebar at Ikea.

  40. John,

    She was a sweet girl, but pretty fucked in the head. Alcoholic father, mother-in-denial sort of fucked in the head. She was little drunk, but they had been dating for a few months, so it wasn’t a skeevy hook-up or anything. She proceeded to get hammered post-sex and ended up crying and screaming and had to be talked out of the closet. Never would talk about it afterwards, but my bet was always on repressed sex abuse trauma. Her fucktard dad always struck me as the type.

  41. So Matt, a good modernist rambler looks okay on a big lot in the dessert. Can’t really disagree, but that is a pretty thin defense of modernism.

    I prefer old-fashioned desserts, actually. Bada-BING!

    My last word, since we’re talking past each other: Modernism looks *great*, not “okay,” in a well-populated suburb.

  42. Sideboard!

  43. “The harmony between the indoor and outdoor spaces is easier to achieve with modernism than, say, Victorian or Federal.”

    I totally disagree. All a federal or a victorian needs is a nice green yard and a fence. A modernist needs perfect landscaping to look even acceptable. It look okay, if the setting is perfect, (and an old neighborhood with big trees is never a perfect setting) and you do awesome landscape. Matt is right. A good modernist in Palm Springs over looking a dessert view wtih cacti and a good swimming pool looks better than a victorian would. But in a tree lined street in an older east coast suburb, the modernist will look terrible.

    “I live in the beginning of the 21st century and my house should reflect that, not some idealized recreation of 100 or 200 or 300 years ago.”

    Why? An Italian Villa or a French Chateu could be 100s of years old, but I take one in a minute. That is terribly antiquated thinking. In the mid 20th Century we tore everything down and wanted everything “new”. Now we have figured out that we can modernize old buildings and get the convienence of the modern life but keep the architecture. Only in Japan do they bulldoze the old and replace it with concrete.

  44. Let the wait staff wear ties; I prefer pajamas.

  45. “Modernism looks *great*, not “okay,” in a well-populated suburb.”

    Meet you someday here in Washington and I will show you 50 houses that put lie to that.

  46. Has anyone done a caption for that last photo?

    “Honey, really, could you stop fiddling with that and come work on my vagina please?”

  47. Sugerfree,

    I would say your guess is a good one. I had a girlfriend in high school who had been abused. We dated for a while and everything was great. Then right in the middle of a really great make out session she totally freaked out and was inconsolable for hours. Took three days to get it out of her what was going on.

  48. Hey John, you can go around the suburbs in Scandinavia and see great modernist homes amongst traditional, and even historic, ones. Very flat landscape too.

  49. Damn, SugarFree, I went into your 11:14 am expecting more slash fiction. Boy, did I feel bad about half-way through.

    I live in the beginning of the 21st century and my house should reflect that, not some idealized recreation of 100 or 200 or 300 years ago.

    Then go right ahead. I tend to like the older homes, myself, although I find myself appreciating top-drawer modernism more than I used to.

  50. My last word, since we’re talking past each other: Modernism looks *great*, not “okay,” in a well-populated suburb.

    Damn skippy it does.

    Is anyone on this thread NOT from Houston?

    Spring, actually. But close enough.

  51. Only in Japan do they bulldoze the old and replace it with concrete.

    Okay, since half this thread is apparently from Houston metro, who wants to hit this softball out of the park?

  52. R C Dean,

    I’ll try to work up some filth later. I just need the right muse.

  53. Okay, since half this thread is apparently from Houston metro, who wants to hit this softball out of the park?

    The Japanese had most of their old stuff flattened for them in WWII – we do it by choice.

  54. “Then right in the middle of a really great make out session she totally freaked out and was inconsolable for hours.”

    Dude, that’s when you push for the butt-sex with that type of girl.

  55. Okay, since half this thread is apparently from Houston metro

    Maybe we should start arranging our own happy hours.

  56. There is one part of Japan that is old, Keyoto. It was spared by the war. Sadly it is not what it once was and a lot of the beautiful old houses have been torn down. I would encourage people to read the book Dogs and Demons for a good discussion of how Japan in the last 30 years has walked away from nature and any of its older buildings and replaced them with concrete.

    Houston doesn’t have much old because it wasn’t really there until the hurricane destroyed Galviston in 1900 and they build the Houston ship channel. Some of the older cities in Texas, San Antonio and Beaumont to name two have lots of old buildings.

  57. Meet you someday here in Washington and I will show you 50 houses that put lie to that.

    While we’re at it, can I just point out Sturgeon’s Law again? Yes, a lot of modernist homes are poorly done. But drive down any street. Most houses are mediocre at best, no matter what architectural style. It’s just that most of what you see is familiar dreck. You don’t bat an eye at how awful it is because it’s everywhere.

  58. I would tend to agree, mostly because post-1985 construction lacks the detail work necessary for traditional styles but unnecessary for modernist styles.

    It also is due to the fact that builders don’t use the materials originally associated with those styles, but use cheap substitutes.

    And it’s also due to the fact that the proportions originally used in such styles don’t lend themselves to the floorplans consumers now demand, and definitely don’t lend themselves to the two-car garage.

    If you build in the modernist style but bow to the realities of suburban construction in our era, you at least have the chance to achieve something attractive if you’re talented. You have no chance to do the same in a historical style. It just looks stupid.

    I certainly would love to have a French chateau or a English country house. The originals aren’t the issue. It’s the bad building done to try to ape the styles of those originals that’s the issue.

  59. Meet you someday here in Washington and I will show you 50 houses that put lie to that.

    Washington state? Yeah, I’m not sure I’m seeing clean horizontal lines and indoor/outdoor goodness in Gloomy McRainforest. (Relax, my ancestral home is Portland, Ore., etc.) Though there are some nice-looking Moderns up on the Northern California coast, I think the Southwest is where the style makes far and away the most sense.

  60. T,

    That is true. But I don’t see any modernist houses around here that are not dreck. I see lots of non-modernist ones that are quite good. Outside of the really spectacular modernist ones out west that are in the perfect setting, they are all bloody awful. Yeah, there are lousy federals, but they got it right a lot of the time. Federals are easy to do. Modernists in contrast are impossible to do and are done badly most of the time. And even when they are done well, they are not particularly livable. It is of course a matter of taste, but I think a lot of people who love modernist houses would feel differently if they ever had to live in one.

  61. I certainly would love to have a French chateau or a English country house. The originals aren’t the issue. It’s the bad building done to try to ape the styles of those originals that’s the issue.

    Exactly. It drives me nuts when I see townhouses with fake beams and whitewash on the outsides like it’s some Tudor relic left over from the 1500s. It’s a townhouse in suburbia, you schmuck. And your next door neighbor who shares a common wall redid his in Hardie plank and painted it yellow.

  62. NutraSweetie, you finance some dress purchases (stubby’s found a gold mine at ModCloth) and I’ll wear them for you.

    Every day. Promise.

  63. Matt,

    No Washington DC. As far as washington state, I would point to Queen Ann’s hill in Seattle. A modernist would look terrible up there next to the craftman and older homes there. It would never work. In Washingotn, or anywhere on the Pacific Coast, unless you can hang the house on a remote cliff, I will take a funky bungalo built with local materials over any modern.

  64. stubby, I must have great taste. All my favorites are out of stock!

  65. “Exactly. It drives me nuts when I see townhouses with fake beams and whitewash on the outsides like it’s some Tudor relic left over from the 1500s.”

    But what about a townhose built in the victorian style? Those are not bad. It is just that you cna’t build a townhouse to look like a Tudor. I know of several giant ass tudors in my neighborhood that look great and are certainly not original.

  66. Modernists in contrast are impossible to do and are done badly most of the time. And even when they are done well, they are not particularly livable. It is of course a matter of taste, but I think a lot of people who love modernist houses would feel differently if they ever had to live in one.

    We must be lucky here in Houston. There’s a lot of them that are well done. I’ve been inside some of them, and would cheerfully sell any one of y’all for the chance to live in the ones I’ve been inside.

  67. Also, no townhouse build in the middle of nowhere in suburb hell is ever going to be very good modernist or not. Why not make it tudor or greek revival for that matter, it is going to suck no matter what.

  68. And I was born in Houston. Until a couple of years ago, my parents lived just inside the northeast quadrant of Dairy Ashford and Westheimer.

  69. “There’s a lot of them that are well done. I’ve been inside some of them, and would cheerfully sell any one of y’all for the chance to live in the ones I’ve been inside.”

    Although I have never lived there, I have spent a good portion of my life in Houston. And I hate the houses you speak of. The Houston burbs built in the 50s and 60s are a barren wastland of crappy ranches, ramblers and split levels. UGH!!

  70. John — Oh please please please tell me about the ugly Modern neighborhood in DC? Oh wait — you mean on the border of Rock Creek park, about halfway up? I *like* those houses…. (Not *love*, but still.) Though most of them are right there on the edge of wilderness, further illustrating your point.

  71. Bronwyn,

    Nah, I’ll just get my work wife to buy some. She’s dressed like Edie Sedgwick half the time anyway. And she and the wife are already friends, so I won’t get in trouble.

  72. ๐Ÿ™‚ Good thinking, smart man!

  73. My skill at CYA is the basis of our happy marriage.

  74. Although I have never lived there, I have spent a good portion of my life in Houston. And I hate the houses you speak of. The Houston burbs built in the 50s and 60s are a barren wastland of crappy ranches, ramblers and split levels. UGH!!

    Well, to each their own, I s’pose. Plenty of quality modern residential architecture in H-town. I will be building my own, since I doubt I’ll live inside Beltway 8 ever again.

  75. I have a 1959 midcentury modern house in Chicago and belong to Chicago Bauhaus & Beyond, a local MCM preservationist group. In 2007 Shulman came to Chicago to photograph some houses, and I had the chance to meet the great man. Amazing guy, the liveliest 96 year old you will ever meet. The photos he took (12 house, the only residential photos he took in Chicago) will be released next year in a posthumous book, which I believe will be his last.

    For a great visual treat, get “Modernism Rediscovered” by Shulman and Pierluigi Serraino, an epic collection of his stuff. I think the next Palm Springs Modernism show in February will have a retrospective as well.

    Sad to hear he passed, but Eva Zeisel is still out there, alive and kicking at 99 or 100.

  76. “John — Oh please please please tell me about the ugly Modern neighborhood in DC? Oh wait — you mean on the border of Rock Creek park, about halfway up? I *like* those houses…. (Not *love*, but still.) Though most of them are right there on the edge of wilderness, further illustrating your point.”

    No I mean the 25 or so moderns scattered through Bethesda. They are multi million dollar houses and well keppt up and they stink. As far as rock creek park goes, those are okay, but anything would look good there. Those houses look good in spite of themsevles.

  77. It’s the bad building done to try to ape the styles of those originals that’s the issue.

    I agree completely.

  78. No I mean the 25 or so moderns scattered through Bethesda.

    Look forward to seeing them!

  79. I will never get some Libertarians’ affinity for modernist architecture. It was decidedly unDemocratic. The people public never liked the stuff and abadoned it as soon as they could get planners and achitects to stop building it. It was utopian and anti-human or everything Libertarians should hate.

    Of course it was also very elitist, which I think explains its appeal to a certain bread of Libertarian.

  80. I will send you addresses Matt. It won’t settle anything though. I am sure you will love the house down the street from me that looks like it should be the Newman Center at some middling college campus.

  81. Okay, since half this thread is apparently from Houston metro, who wants to hit this softball out of the park?

    The Japanese had most of their old stuff flattened for them in WWII – we do it by choice.

    I was thinkinfg that too, Johnny Longtorso. Same for Germany. I think it was PJ o’Rourke who said something about every big city in Germany looking newer that Minneapolis.

    I wonder if Houston does as good a job of bulldozing as Orlando. Hopefully they haven’t managed to achieve the cockup of bulldozing everything to put up buildings that no one wants to occupy.

  82. No I mean the 25 or so moderns scattered through Bethesda.

    I’ll see you Bethesda and raise you everything build in faux historical styles from Rockville right on up.

    Come on, are you seriously going to argue that the modernist houses in Bethesda are uglier than all the ugly townhouse condo complexes in Germantown? Puh-lease.

    I will never get some Libertarians’ affinity for modernist architecture. It was decidedly unDemocratic. The people public never liked the stuff and abadoned it as soon as they could get planners and achitects to stop building it. It was utopian and anti-human or everything Libertarians should hate.

    For me it’s pretty much a function of the fact that I hate the overwhelming majority of post-1950 suburban development more. There’s a lot of ugly out there, but the modernists were less ugly.

    I also tend to argue [as you may have noticed] that the physical layout of suburbia [including ugly faux historical houses] is the result of statist land use controls and the planning process – you could get a project approved easier if you build it in a style that appealed to the bad taste of the local planners. This annoys me, and I take it out on the buildings.

    And there is also a part of me that reasons that if statism is [as we always claim] economically inefficient, then surely the same planning process and social engineering process described in the above paragraph hindered, retarded and skewed our overall economic development, and is the reason we don’t live in some turn of the 20th century science fiction modernist future complete with flying cars and such.

  83. Some of these buildings look offputting from a distance but up close can be warm. Looking up from NKU and seeing the concrete up close and trees all around is uplifting. From the outside, eh.

  84. Sterile photographs of sterile buildings, unfortunately, the people weren’t.

  85. Put me down as a lover of Modernism, both the architectual style and of contemporary interior decorating. The common complaint against it is that it is not “warm” or “soft” enough. Well, some us us aren’t looking for warm and soft, we’re looking for cool and awesome. I don’t want my house/building to blend in with the environment, I want it to stand above it, to say “look at how much better humanity can make things than nature”.

    Modernist buildings certainly look best on their own, but I also think they look better surrounded by other buildings. Sure, it might not “fit in”, but so what? I have no great desire to “fit in”. I want to be true to myself. One of my favorite stories was of a couple who had a bright purple house, and a sign on the property saying “We don’t like your house either.”

    Yes, I did have to compromise with my wife on this stuff when we were decorating our house. She has more regular tastes.

  86. “I also tend to argue [as you may have noticed] that the physical layout of suburbia [including ugly faux historical houses] is the result of statist land use controls and the planning process – you could get a project approved easier if you build it in a style that appealed to the bad taste of the local planners.”

    Of course you couldn’t sell that project to anyone once approved unless you found someone who liked it. Other than the streets being too wide, I think the layoff of the modern suburb is a response to the market. People wanted out of cities and wanted their own yard away from things. People don’t live in suburbs because of the oppression of planners. They live in suburbs because they like them.

  87. I think it was PJ o’Rourke who said something about every big city in Germany looking newer that Minneapolis.

    He said something along the lines of “Thanks to some high altitude urban planning, there’s nothing in Berlin older than Candice Bergman”.

  88. “I think it was PJ o’Rourke who said something about every big city in Germany looking newer that Minneapolis.

    He said something along the lines of “Thanks to some high altitude urban planning, there’s nothing in Berlin older than Candice Bergman”.

    Depends on the city. Some cities like Frankfurt rebuilt along modern lines. Munich in contrast voted to rebuild along the existing medival street lines. Interestingly, Munich is considered by far the most livable city in Germany. Frankfurt, which is really a parpagon of modernism is way down the list. Given a choice people generally don’t want moderism.

  89. I will never get some Libertarians’ affinity for modernist architecture. It was decidedly unDemocratic….It was utopian and anti-human or everything Libertarians should hate. Of course it was also very elitist, which I think explains its appeal to a certain bread of Libertarian.

    What’s the saying? When you assume you make an ass out of u and me. Sometimes it’s really ok to take a person’s divergent aesthetic tastes for what they are, rather than what you darkly imagine them to be.

  90. Plenty of modernist houses in Houston, yes. Not much made of stone, though.

    I’m not a big Modernist fan. I have a sneaking affection for the big pastel Easter-egg colored stucco monstrosities surrounded by statuary and palm trees that would look right at home in south Florida but look drug-lord fucking gauche when plopped into the middle of Bellaire.

  91. Depends on the city. Some cities like Frankfurt rebuilt along modern lines. Munich in contrast voted to rebuild along the existing medival street lines. Interestingly, Munich is considered by far the most livable city in Germany. Frankfurt, which is really a parpagon of modernism is way down the list. Given a choice people generally don’t want moderism.

    You’re conflating two separate, although related, issues here. You have the building itself and you have the urban planning that went with it. The buildings, while apparently aesthetically unappealing to you, are considered by lots of us to be pretty sweet.

    In general, the urban planning that accompanied modernist architecture sucked ass. As you pointed out above, it was elitist and simply oozed condescending top down control. It’s why Brasilia and Chandigarh didn’t work as originally conceived and only became livable after user modifications to the original plan.

    Damn, where’s joe when you need his non-political expertise?

  92. No Matt I don’t think you are an elist. I am sure you do really like the stuff. But I think there are people in the world who like certine things for no other reason than the masses hate them and it is a way to distinguish themselves. As far as I am concerned claiming to love brutalist architecture is usually the same as people who only like bands no one has ever heard of.

  93. “Damn, where’s joe when you need his non-political expertise?”

    True. I actually liked talking architecture and urban planning with him. As long as the subject didn’t in any way involve the Democratic Party, Joe could be a very reasonable guy.

  94. T,

    Some day I would like visit Brazilia just to see it. What a bizzare idea and place it must be.

  95. At the end of the day, I like visiting modernist buildings and apartments, but wouldn’t want to live there. Just a matter of taste.

  96. At the end of the day, I like visiting modernist buildings and apartments, but wouldn’t want to live there. Just a matter of taste.

    No, it’s scientifically provable modernism makes cleaner, brighter, happier people! Well, that’s the attitude they had in the 50s, anyway. We’re gonna drive that Machine for Living into the glorious post-war future! I just like the buildings.

    I’m also still disappointed in the lack of flying cars and moon flights from Pan Am. I’m still awaiting the future I was promised, but at least I can have the house.

  97. “No, it’s scientifically provable modernism makes cleaner, brighter, happier people! Well, that’s the attitude they had in the 50s, anyway. We’re gonna drive that Machine for Living into the glorious post-war future! I just like the buildings.”

    You have to remember we hadn’t figured out how to update old buildings in the 50s. Old buildings were just crappy. In the 50s a lot of middle class people lived in crappy appartments in the big cities (The Honeymooners was not an exageration) and they wanted out. If you were living in a rundown three room flat in Broklyn, a brand new sleek modern home in Jersey or Long Island was paradise.

  98. At the end of the day, I like visiting modernist buildings and apartments, but wouldn’t want to live there. Just a matter of taste.

    50s Modernist homes are great, provided you update them with truly modern technology like insulation and double-glazed windows. Or you just like living in extreme heat and cold.

  99. I will never get some Libertarians’ affinity for modernist architecture. It was decidedly unDemocratic

    You may not have noticed, but by and large libertarians aren’t big fans of democracy. We prefer limited government to democratic government.

  100. “You may not have noticed, but by and large libertarians aren’t big fans of democracy. We prefer limited government to democratic government.”

    Unless and until you find a philosopher king or Christ returns to earth, democratic government is the only hope for a limited government. There is no such thing as a small enlightened small government dictator.

  101. The people public never liked the stuff and abadoned it as soon as they could get planners and achitects to stop building it. It was utopian and anti-human or everything Libertarians should hate.

    That just isn’t true of the modernist neighborhoods here in the Bay Area. The Eichler homes and imitations were a big hit from the start, and still are a hit. A lot of the appeal depends on having a nice climate where all the glass walls can blend with the outdoors, so it might not translate to areas with rougher climate.

    A lot of builders didn’t get modernism and still don’t.

  102. nice post..
    ___________________
    Britney
    Entertainment at one stop

  103. Ultimately, I think this is why modern architecture failed. It is too separate from its environment.

    Oh, wow. You really got that completely 100 percent wrong.

  104. We dated for a while and everything was great. Then right in the middle of a really great make out session she totally freaked out and was inconsolable for hours.

    Yeah, been there. Geez, when I think about it, every girlfriend I’ve had has had major father issues. That’s depressing.

  105. God I miss that world, and that future. So full of promise and endless horizons compared to this grubby, vapid, eco-whining, fascistic reality we’ve created. ๐Ÿ™

  106. hi,
    everybody, take your time and a little bit.jeyetj

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