Friday, 24 February 2012

Heroic Modern Architecture

Why is modern architecture deemed heroic? Well because it is isn't it. Even Gropius, that unlikely source, described the Bauhaus in utterly heroic terms, saying just what it was made of. I'd love to have been there for that, just as I'd have loved to have been with Malevich just after he'd painted white on white, and was wondering what to do next.
But that isn't quite good enough. Maybe we should be more specific, such as wondering what heroism might be, or where it might have gone. Certainly, lecturing once again on the greats of modernism to second year, I'm struck by how much heroism I see myself, and how little I see elsewhere. I do not need excuses for Mies, yet if I root around on the web for amusement on the subject of Mies van de Rohe, most likely I'll find the most asinine of commentaries on how lovely his work is, while I'm brewing up for a storm on how make the stuff fantastically literally shit yourself scary.......because it is! Stand beneath the New National Gallery Berlin and not think that, sit on the bog in the New National Gallery, observe the 5mm grid, and think not.
I found myself in a similar situation today with regard to Le Corbusier. Way beyond Jenck's vision of him representing a tragic view of architecture, I reckon its more of a tragic view of mankind itself, and rolled him in with Homer.
Such contemplations may or may not sit well with the twitter generation. I can't see why you couldn't twitter on the big questions of life itself, it just seems people don't, or more to the point would look stupid doing so, or maybe only do so in Scandinavia. I wonder also if they might eventually crave solitude, hills, poetry and huts in the forest or cliff tops by the sea (with connecting restaurant of course) themselves, or is that a lot of bollocks too?

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