24 October 2007
Podcast #7: Brian and I talk about architecture

Particularly “modern” architecture.  Hmm, one wonders if that phrase will ever come to mean contemporary architecture rather than architecture from age that sanity and taste forgot. 

Main points: Modern architecture was, indeed, awful.  It even represented bad economics.  Things are starting to get better.

Brian wanted it to be known that he wasn’t coming to this as a complete amateur and so e-mailed me with the following:

At the start of the conversation I forgot to say what got me interested in architecture in the first place.  The answer is that for two years around 1970 I was, briefly, a failed architecture student.  I confused being interested in architecture with wanting to be an architect.  But I had no talent for architecture, and quite lacked the skill of architectural drawing in any way.  I should have realised sooner, but did eventually, and carried on simply being an enthusiastic observer of architecture.

But, having been an architecture student I did acquire and insider knowledge of how architecture people thought and felt.

I would add that the process of me working out what was wrong with the thinking behind the Modern Movement in Architecture and the process of becoming a libertarian were one and the same process.

That bit at the end could make a jolly good podcast in and of itself.  Some other time perhaps.

In case some listeners were unfamiliar with some of the buildings and structures mentioned here are some photos:

Charing Cross
Lemon squeezer
St Pancras


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  1. Excellent listen

    Posted by Blognor Regis on 25 October 2007 at 06:49pm

  2. Well I did enjoy that, but I was a little disappointed that neither of you went beyond just 20th Century architecture. In particular I’d be interested in hearing what thoughts Brian may have about the function of aesthetic judgements of architecture more generally.
      Brian made some good points about attitudes to beauty, but I get the feeling he could say more about that.
    Durham Cathedral, for example, is often cited as Britain’s most beautiful building, yet it seems to me that its’ builders had intended not beauty, but the sublime, the terrible - not too much unlike Brian’s description of certain modern buildings as ‘fascist’. So how these judgements of a building’s aesthetic appearance change over time seems like an interesting subject for another podcast - should either of you find the time or inclination of course.

    Posted by mike on 27 October 2007 at 02:29pm

  3. Architecture is the art and science of designing and constructing buildings and other physical structures for human shelter or use.A wider definition often includes the design of the total built environment, from the macro level of how a building integrates with its surrounding context (see town planning, urban design search engine optimization, and landscape architecture) to the micro level of architectural or construction details and, sometimes, furniture and hardware. Wider still, architecture is the activity of designing any kind of system.As a profession, architecture refers to the professional services provided by architects.Architecture is also experienced through the senses, which therefore gives rise to aural,visual, olfactory,and tactile architecture. As people move through a space, architecture is experienced as a time sequence.Even though our culture considers architecture to be a visual experience home business, the other senses play a role in how we experience both natural and built environments. Attitudes towards the senses depend on culture.[6] The design process and the sensory experience of a space are distinctly separate views, each with its own language and assumptions.

    Posted by web design on 27 July 2009 at 10:29am

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