As the final submission for this class I would like to say that I have never been in a history class that has been so interactive and engaging to the student. Patrick stated that he was striving to make history an active continuum and not a passive recollection and I truly think he succeeded and changed the way we see the past not as a vague memory, but a dynamic participant.
The Explorations unit is by all means the most expressive and fast paced section of history that eventually reflects the lifestyles we live now where design has become disposable and lazy, much like everything else in our society. But at the turn of the 20th century, design was striving to break free from the classical mold that seemed impossibly glued to every structure in some form or fashion. Instead of remaining complacent with the same architectural idioms of the past, designers were turning to the arts as a way of giving the mundane uniformity of architecture a face-lift. Art Nouveau and Art Deco are the first and most celebrated of these design styles grounded in the grandiose visual sensations of art and theatrics. Examples include The Daily Express Building, Hotel Solvaye, and the Palace Strand Theatre. These styles celebrated asymmetrical proportions, shiny, metallic surfaces, and new or exotic materials that flaunt irrationality and glamour, all of which contradicts the classical roots of western civilization.
In blatant contrast to this irrationality, there arose the Bauhaus, International style, striving to come up with a design approach that was sensible and could be applied to everyone anywhere. Examples include the Villa Savoye, the Tugenhdat House, and the Schroder House. Ironically, their designs which were meant to be functional and accessible to all actually revolved around a ostracizing minimalist ideology where, according to them, less became more but what really happened is less personality became more frigid. In an attempt to break this polarity, Softer Modernism tried to minimize crisp lines and delineate spaces with expressive curves and cantilevers. Examples include the Sydney Opera House, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and JFK Terminal. While the delight of these structures increased, it only escalated the commodity of the building as form rather than function became the primary goal until these were only monumental sculptural pieces that we could walk through. It was during this time of unconcealed disrespect for the client’s wishes and comfort that the rise of interior design became prevalent as a profession, to provide warmth and personality in an otherwise beautifully uncomfortable building.
Since the 1970’s, Post-Modernists have been left with the responsibility of picking up the ball and running with it and what we have received are three divided sectors, Historic Preservation, Regionalism, and Deconstructivism, all of which are focused on a sustainable future in one way or another. Historic Preservation obviously enough focuses on the maintenance, renovation, and retention of significant buildings and reviving that experience. Regionalism is perhaps on the surface the most sustainable of the three, focusing on local materials, traditions, and styles that fit the character of people in that particular region as opposed to the stark coldness meant to suit everyone in the International style. Deconstructivism is my personal favorite as it focuses on the potential of the ever changing technological realm. It is from this field that real inventiveness and playfulness occur and it is the new frontier for interior design to make a name for itself. I also feel that this will be the most sustainable form of design because structures are built almost exclusively on computers and the material can be structurally tested as well as tell you how much of the material will be needed for the project. Furthermore, computer aided designs can help pinpoint structural issues prior to the building process, which could help eliminate excess use of material and transportation cost.
With all of these exciting fields, it is sadly disheartening to look at modern suburbia because it is more of a Nightmare on Elm Street in terms of design features than a domestic refuge. Yet these design issues are a result of social issues going on in media sources like HGTV that are promoting laziness and spawning a new generation of reality shows that are flat out gaudy and not in the 1900 Barcelona way. But hope remains in the small but true design circles that few listen to because true design is a contemplative and analytical art that does not pump out fast and mediocre results that offer a bland sense of instant gratification the public so ignorantly desires.
I believe this is a beautiful example of morphing a decontructive post modern extentsion into an International style building. The transition from a titanium surface that still holds the form of the previous, brick building which then morphs into this degenerate complexity also adds a sense of unity to the overall compostion of the structure. In context, this image displays a holitic theme to the explorations unit as it combines a hodge podge of design styles of the 21st century (Bauhaus, Post-modernism, and Deconstructivism) made possible only through technological advancements of the machine.
As Blakeni so briliiantly put it,
Need I say more?