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Modern architecture

A set of building styles with similar characteristics, primarily the simplification of form and the elimination of ornament.

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What some view as a masterpiece others see as an eyesore.

  • Nov 12, 2009
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I don't know about you but I for one find most modern architecture to be quite hideous.  I know that taste in architecture is an extremely subjective thing but not only do I dislike most of these structures I find that some of them actually make me sick to my stomach!  

Knowing absolutely nothing about this profession I am probably a bit naive but shouldn't the goal of an architect be to create a structure that is not only optimally functional but pleasing to the eye as well?  Moreover, shouldn't the architect take into account the surrounding landscape and the existing inventory of buildings in the area when he designs his/her building.  It seems to me that all too often one of these grotesque new structures slips through the zoning board and winds up sticking out like a sore thumb with the result being that ambiance of an entire area is negatively affected.  This is certainly true here in Rhode Island and I imagine that the same situation exists in cities and towns all across America.

Now being a rather traditional Catholic I get especially annoyed when I see the new Catholic churches that are being constructed nowadays.  For the most part there is nothing uplifting about these structures at all.  The parish where my wife come just built a new church that actually looks more like a barn than a church!   In his 2003 book "Ugly As Sin:  How They Changed Our Churches From Sacred Places To Meeting Spaces And How We Can Change Them Back Again" author Michael Rose describes the problem with most of the new churches being built these days:  "They resemble auditoriums or theatres but rarely do they look like a church. There is nothing sacred or inspiring about them."  I would concur.  In the book Rose also presents page after page of photographs of some of these new churches.  In many cases they are incredibly ugly and I simply cannot fathom why pastors and parishioners actually agreed to build them. 

Now I realize that there are circumstances where architects are forced to think outside of the box when designing a new building.  And every once in a while I happen upon one of these buildings that I actually do find appealing.  But for the most part I dislike most modern architecture.  I know that this is a topic that will probably elicit a wide variety of opinions.   Looking forward to hearing yours!
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November 12, 2009
I'm with you. Seems like lots of architects are simply trying to outdo one another. The more bizarre the better.
November 12, 2009
I agree! I'm sure there are many beautifully design modern buildings, but many I see just looks as if they are trying to be different. I especially have this problem at my University, Loyola Marymount. We have a beautiful chapel and office buildings all in the same style, built around 1950's, but then all the new buildings are eye sores and make our campus look like a hodgepodge of uglyness.
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review by . September 12, 2009
posted in Icons
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Paul Tognetti ()
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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Modern architecture is art with similar characteristics, primarily the simplification of form and creation of ornament from the structure and theme of the building. The first variants were conceived early in the 20th century. Modern architecture was adopted by many influential architects and architectural educators, however very few "Modern buildings" were built in the first half of the century. It gained popularity after the Second World War and became the dominant architectural style for institutional and corporate buildings for three decades.

The exact characteristics and origins of Modern architecture are still open to interpretation and debate.


Some historians see the evolution of Modern architecture as a social matter, closely tied to the project of Modernity and thus the Enlightenment. The Modern style developed, in their opinion, as a result of social and political revolutions.[1]

Melnikov House near Arbat Street in Moscow by Konstantin Melnikov.

Others see Modern architecture as primarily driven by technological and engineering developments, and it is true that the availability of new building materials such as iron, steel, and glass drove the invention of new building techniques as part of the Industrial Revolution. In 1796, Shrewsbury mill owner Charles Bage first used his 'fireproof' design, which relied on cast iron and brick with flag stone floors. Such construction greatly strengthened the structure of mills, which enabled them to ...

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