Tradition in Modern Architecture

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Architecture can be described as, a profession or rather a discipline that deals with designing of buildings, other respective artificial constructions, open areas and communities while regarding the aesthetic effect. It generally includes supervising building work and remodeling, selection of design and decorations. Architecture started being practiced since time immemorial in ancient states like in ancient Egypt including other numerous others. Architecture is believed to have been born out curiosity by man to want decent dwellings. The pioneers of architecture had diverse ideas when coming up with it. Since then, architecture has evolved gradually over the time into the complex forms of architectural styles that we have nowadays. This essay will argumentatively discuss the modern architecture and relate it to traditional practices on the basis of, if it is still a reflection of the old traditional practices or not. And explain whether one can create an idea that does not reflect anything and finally explain examples of old and modern architectural designs while considering Le Corbusier influence on architecture.

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The world of architecture is very quiet dynamic, this fact facilitated innovations in the area of construction, to be specific on individual buildings. At the moment you cannot compare building that was erected back in 17th & 18th, for example, the ancient Roman architecture of 1st century AD. With the massive architectural designs in the 21st century a good example being the skyscrapers of America and China. The bitter truth or rather the sweeter truth is that modern architectures have forgone the ancient art of making buildings. That’s why there has been a rather constant change of house designs and other buildings. This rejection and migration from designing buildings with the reflection of traditional thematic designs can be attributed to the wake of the 20th century and at the apex of the 19th century.

During this particular time, there were massive and numerous revolutions in the following fields; building materials, technology, and Engineering (Robertson, 1969). The revolutions were spearheaded by various reasons, the aspiration to break off, from traditional designs which were felt awkward, very common and the longing for a purely functional design. The revolution of materials, came in this way, first, the use of cast iron was put in place during construction. This is basically the use of fabricated iron to build structures like bridges that have been built in whole or in part. A good example of this design is the US Capitol dome like, in Washington DC. Upon invention and realization of the architectural style, it was most notably practiced in Britain. Secondly, there were also noteworthy innovations in technology which aided coming up of new architecture designs. A good example is the ability of some computer programs that auto-generated modern designs upon feeding the computer with raw data of specifications the buildings which you want to come up with. Then surprisingly the computer would process the data and unveil a new and a unique architectural design.

Engineering, particularly civil and structural engineering come up with vital innovation like the invention of concrete mixer and more personalized cranes, this eventually fuelled the transition process. After that invention, it was now very easy to come up with very sophisticated architectural designs that had little similarity or no similarity at all to the old architecture. By mid-20th century many new infrastructure designs had taken a new pattern, therefore, giving the old architectural styles like beaux-arts, a bruising battle. In fact, there was no old style that could stand the influence of the newly developed modern architectural designs.

Humans are known for their behavior to fancy new things and to conform more to uniqueness. This tendency has aided the transition and setting up of the modern architectural designs and hence rejecting the traditional ones, just like not majority of people can wish to be seen driving an old 404 Volkswagen car when we have the likes of Bugatti, Aston Martins etc. That’s the same feeling being in a rather old designed building when other people are enjoying the newly architecture buildings. This fact made many people embrace the modern styles while ignoring the old practices.

There is this famous saying that “what goes around comes around” basing my argument on the saying, this conclusion can be made that people are somehow looking back and they are kind of turning back and focusing on the traditional architectural designs this has been enabled especially on the 21st century. Most people presume that most modern architectures put more efforts to bring styles that are just appealing to the eye but forget to theme the buildings accordingly. Several people feel old architectural styles were, very cozy and comparatively far away less expensive to build. On contrary, places like the USA are abandoning some of its old building and seeking refuge to the modern ones. Traditional architectural designs tend to be loved by many people in this century, this tendency, surprisingly scares some people who need to be unique and hence they advocate for the new styles. In conclusion, the best way to end this antagonist, the two architectural designs should be incorporated so as to maintain the good aspect that is associated with old buildings and have the new attractive looks that are appealing to the eye.

A keen analysis of the second part, on “which extent can one break with a tradition without taking a stand from fundamental principles of the discipline” the natural law should be put in place in analyzing the context of this statement. It is believed that in life there exists some form of law, which governs all men and that cannot be changed, which is presumed to exist till eternity. The law summons people to the performance of their respective duties and in most case restrains you from doing what is deemed wrong. The extent by which an individual can break with a tradition without taking a stand from fundamental principles of the discipline may vary significantly, but on the long run, it will remain constant as a matter of fact the extent is well defined by time. For instance, if we base the argument on the architectural transition it is very clear that modern architectural styles took their own way back in the 19th century and achieved a lot of significance over that time, but as of now, they are going back to the foundations, the fundamental guidelines of architecture. This aspect is governed by the law of nature.

Coming up with an idea deduced from the person’s cognitive thinking can be right under very limited conditions. By limited conditions I mean, it’s almost impractical within normal human precepts. This can be deemed so because, even the great inventors who came up with the most exciting inventions, they made them after a keen observation of a certain behavior, basically an idea based on a particular behavioral change. For instance, the Wright brothers who invented the airplane had deducted the idea from seeing birds fly freely. To conclude it is not possible, to just come up with an idea out of vain.

As it was said earlier ancient architecture, traces its origin from many years ago. The ancient architecture was limited to two main functions which included, consolidation of security and power, and then to please God. The following is the analysis of some traditional architecture;

Egyptian architecture

Great civilization in the Mediterranean region first occurred in Egypt. Their architecture was referred to, Egyptian architecture and was inspired by their way of preserving the dead. This lead to coming up with pyramid-like structures where royal family members were buried upon death. For example, there was one great architect, the pyramid of Khufu which is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the World. They later constructed many palaces at around 1530 BCE. The building was painted with hieroglyphics and other symbolic animals. (Robertson, 1969)

Sumerian architecture

At around (c.3200-323 BCE), Sumerian civilization was putting efforts together to come up with their own style of architecture which they later referred to as, the ziggurat. The ziggurat resembled the pyramid style of Egypt but theirs were not meant for tombs. The main aim of the ziggurat was to bring the people together and take them closer to godliness. This was at around (c.1500-612 BCE)

Minoan Architecture

Another group of early individuals whore practiced architecture were the Minoans, which was the first European art of classical Antiquity to be created based on island Crete. They used a mixture of stone bricks and mad to build sumptuous palaces including doomed chambers for burial purposes. The Minoans decorated their buildings with fresco paintings and murals. Their architecture was later destroyed by an earthquake. (Hitchcock, 2000)

Greek Architecture.

The Greeks were one of the best architectures, their architecture is therefore divided into three basic eras; Hellenistic period, classical and archaic period. The onset of architecture commenced at around 600 BCE after being inspired by Egyptians. They came up the following, buildings, temples, theaters, sports stadiums, and municipal structures.

Their architectural method was the Greek architecture. This was simply, normal post lintel constructing techniques. The Greeks built houses with a typical rectangular base like. The buildings were famously decked with a huge of Greek sculpture. The Greek architectures had some notable principles that enhanced their architecture, first, they had specific orders that included Corinthian, Ionic, and, Doric. Doric was mainly practiced at Greece’s mainland. Ionic was applied in Ionia particularly the coastal region of turkey. Corinthian came later, it represented an improvement of Ionia. The notable difference between the styles was only the base ratio height.

Roman Architecture.

Romans had a hint of engineering, military matters, and construction. They usually borrowed some of the art of architecture from other states including Greeks whom they felt they were their superiors. (Anderson, 1997) The need for architecture was to impress and cater for the rapidly growing population. Romans succeeded in coming up with very consistent drainage systems. Eventually, they ended up building a variety of buildings including roads. Several other states also had their styles of architecture, like the Romans, Byzantine, and Gothic among others.

After the ancient architecture, there come Renaissance-style architecture at around 1400-1620. The occurrence was facilitated by the commercial prosperity that the states had gained. During this duration there broke out continuous building. For instance, the Catholic was almost bankrupted by popes who were who were funding fine buildings.

According to (Watkin, 2005) several schools of thoughts have led to establishment of various types of modern architecture which include;

Guggenheim Museum.

This was the work of a Frank Lloyd Wright who adhered to a philosophy of organic architecture. He tried to work in harmony with humanity and the environment. Lloyd designed several other structures like the falling water Residence.

The Chicago marina apartments

They were designed by Bertrand Goldberg back in 1959. The buildings have got a completely modern look, they are incorporated into modern facilities which have no reflection on traditional architectural designs.

The Geisel library in California

It was built in 1968 and was built for two years, is a good representation of modern architecture. The architectural design was William Pereira’s work which consists of multiple cantilevering levels that protrude and glistens with their smooth teeth like the wall sized windows.

The Seagram building in New York.

This building was a pure representation of modern architecture. Its functionality, simplicity, and outlook portrayed modernism.

Modern architecture is manifested in so many types, styles, and themes which ranges from skyscraping boxes of New York to the deemed futuristic saucer shapes of L.A including the settle. (Watkin, 2005)

A keen look at Le Corbusier architectural works, we find very many aspects which he incorporated from the traditional architecture to come up with exciting architectural styles. Initially, he made some pivotal architectural discoveries which have influenced the modern architecture in various ways (Le, & Goodman, 2007). Le Corbusier observed the importance of the geometric forms and the use of landscapes as an architectural tool. This logic has inspired so many modern designs of architecture, for instance falling water residence by Frank Lloyd borrowed this aspect very much, whereby the background landscape gives the architecture design a good view.

Le Corbusier also made some observation in on the difference between large collective spaces and classified spaces. This remark formed the basis for designing most inhabited houses up to date. Finally, he deduced the classical proportion via Renaissance architecture. This has had vast influential effects. He envisioned the concept of prefabricated houses, a good example is the Maison Citron which showed characteristics by which architects would later refer to a modern architect. In the 1930s, he reformulated his urbanism theories, where he adopted building of houses with respect to the family size. This is influential in such that, it economizes on the floor size. Modern architects have borrowed on this aspect very much. (Le, Cohen, & Goodman, 2007)

In conclusion, architecture is a vital aspect that affects and influences the way of life of all humanity. Since it has been in place since time immemorial its application should be based on clearly defined ideals. there should be intensive research on the old architectural design which should enable harmonized incorporation of desirable aspects from the old designs with the presumed good aspects of the modern architectural designs, so as to come up with a distinct architectural design that is neither ancient nor modern but one with desirable aspects all through, and that can be loved by everyone.


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