Sustainability of Modernism

The question of the sustainability of Modern building is what I have been rolling around in my head for the past few months. Modern buildings were developed when there was a surplus of energy. Modernism also acted as a tool to showcase new manufactured materials. Today, we are realizing that these manufactured materials have a low lifetime and cannot be refurbished or reused. Also, the whole ideal of modernism is to have a new look. Should we preserve the original design that is not energy efficient and constantly replace windows, facades, and interior furnishes? We must give up the restrictions of preservation in order to comply with the needs of our future. This is my tentative conclusion.

Historic Preservation & Diversity

American Historic Preservation has some cases need to deal with the issues of diversity. For example, the article by Foley and Lauria tells that the preservation work in New Orleans' French Quarter brings some problems for the adjacent black neighborhood. Although historic preservation is a good thing to do and protect people's memories, different people have different evaluation standards to define what is acceptable. When a preservation project makes the place become unattractive for the people, who have already been in this neighborhood, or even against them, it actually hearts others' rights. Thus, it should be questioned when there is a preservation project comes out. That is because different people's rights and benefits should not be attacked by the preservation. In addition, the preservation of historic structures cannot be associated only with the whites' value. That is because the diversity can bring more values into the historic preservation, create a comprehensive view of American history.

Donovan D. Rypkema tells that there is no neighborhood is static, but changing by time. The changing can be a good one, also can be a bad one. For example, when the changing attack some residents, it is difficult to have a good result. Historic neighborhoods usually want to against the changing to protect their original setting. However, because the environment is changing, the historic neighborhoods may also need to change. For example, those historic neighborhoods are usually good neighborhoods that people want to get into. Additionally, because the population become larger in these neighborhoods, they have to change.

As an example of neighborhood changing, gentrification makes people move back to cities from suburban. The reason people back to cities to live usually has two reasons: the cultural one and the economic one. According to Smith, the economic reason is more significant than the one of culture. The capital investment in cities can created much benefits that people look forward to. Thus, people are actually moved by the capital back to cities.


Weimin He
Arch 3641
Nov.22nd, 2010

Woods' Vision

I found the article From crafts to professions to be very interesting. The article does an excellent job at covering the history of the architecture profession. However, I don't feel the article addressed the most prominent solution to make architecture a more successful business. In times of poor economy, I believe people will not want to spend the money on someone that only has a design degree. If one was short on money, they would spend it wisely - on the necessities. They would want someone that could promise a functional building for the cheapest cost. Money runs business, not art.

Coming back to the article, the author states the profession began as a craft, as an apprenticeship. Apprentices would not only become skilled in design, but also had direct understanding of the client and project limitations. I can understand how people became successful. Currently, it seems University-based education has drifted from teaching architecture as a business, and sees architecture as more of a focused design interest. Middle ground has to be met, and teach architectures the engineering, and business statistics aspects of the profession.

I was very interesting in the Tolmen article. I think Americans take space for granted, and freely construct and destruct buildings at a whim. Americans do not have the structural ancestry like every other continent. I think preservation of buildings is very important, both sustainably, and as a symbol of a culture. I am not personally interested in pursuing this type of architectural field, but can understand its importance.

Academia, Preservation, History

Daniel Bluestone's article was interesting in the sense that other than having differing views of what is important for preservation and what is not, I would not have thought too hard about the conflicts and disinterest between architectural historians and historic preservationists. However, Bluestone states clearly many of the differences between their thoughts and backgrounds. There are three topics I found particularly interesting within this article.

It is noted that along with the professionalization of preservation also came the marginalization of woman in the field. I believe this is true, however, in what ways did it also raise the standard of work for the women? In some ways, maybe due to the "woman's role" of the time, women were unable to live up to these increase standards. I think that it is possible that with the changing times, not so different than women in politics, women could again be major players in and bring new ideas to historic preservation.

Walter Gropius is quoted in this article stating that the 19th century was a "particularly insignificant period". Can one claim something like this? Maybe to the Greek population, the architecture of one generation past was insignificant because of the changing times. Can one compare American Architecture to Greek Architecture?

Others may have read this differently, but I found it interesting that the designing of a place was said to have been an effect of the collaboration of architectural academia and historic preservationists. In contrast to this, Tomlan writes in his article that this concept of designing a environment was helped to foster the growth of historic preservation education. Are both ideas equally valid?

Preservation: Bluestone

The historical significance of a woman's role in Architecture and Preservation is what caught my attention through the three readings. Specifically the mentioning of a large famale culture in the Historical Preservation Movement. This makes me wonder how the movement itself might have been altered had women been as involved in academics of Architecture and Architectural history as a professional as they were in the advocacy of Historical Preservation. Men created the the path to Historic Preservation and the divide between preservationists and historical architects seems to also contain gender disputes. Preservation seems discredited because of the wired-haired ladies in tennis shoes.

Response to Woods "From Craft to Profession" reading

The switch over from the artisan to the employee represents a shift in how the capitalist system has supplanted the traditional mode of patronage and creativity of the arts. If architecture is still considered an art form, It does not seem that way in how the curricula is presented in the university setting. This may just be my own personal biased opinion since I am not an architecture major, but my education in the visual arts is not so dissimilar. Woods illustrates this point well by using the medical profession as a model of the personal practitioner to employee, he sets a grim example of what can happen to any artisan position in the working world. If this is to be the norm, something must change, and it must be from the students themselves. They must be the ones to challenge the old system.

"A strong art but a weak profession."

In response to the Woods reading.

In many ways this reading articulates many things I already feared were true about the field of architecture outside of the university setting. In fact, I wish this was a required reading in one of the freshman level, architecture prerequisite classes (Design fundamentals 1, arch1701). Indeed this article would carry significant implications as to what goes into choosing architecture as your major and addressing the lies you might be telling yourself (such as "I know the market is bad, but it will improve eventually, I still have a few years").

Some particularly infuriating quotes:
"Today the production of graduates far exceeds the profession's ability to absorb them into private practice."

"Collaborative projects, technological studies, administrative skills, business knowledge, interdisciplinary work, and history as anything except formal precedent and design analysis are generally marginalized in architectural schools today."

I can't guarantee that having read those quotes as a freshman would have caused me to reconsider the major altogether, but it sure would be nice to know the weaknesses of a degree in architecture instead of solely the strengths.

Knowing that I have yet to line up a job for post-graduation this May, my intention is to utilize my degree. I wasn't sure how many jobs were available knowing the current state of our economy, but reading this provides further discouragement.

Furthermore, I'll be registering for spring semester classes tomorrow. In looking for an elective outside my major, I'm am trying to seek out marketing or business classes so that I can become a more well-rounded potential employee. The second quote I cited reminds me how not simply the architecture program, but the university as a whole, has made this difficult for me.

Did you know that all marketing classes require a prerequisite that most architecture majors haven't enrolled in? Did you know that most architecture professionals site marketing skills as one of the greatest weakness among architecture graduates? I think we're working with a broken system here. Can the love and adoration of this field help move it forward before the twenty-first century leaves us behind?

Value of Preservation

When reading the Tomlan article, I found it incredibly interesting how little education Architecture students are exposed to preservation. I think this speaks a lot to the importance and value that society places on the idea of preservation. We live in a society that is constantly obsessed with the "bigger, better, faster" mindset, and I think this is starting to have an effect on how much people value preserving existing buildings. Why spend money keeping up an outdated piece of architecture when we can just build something better suited to our needs. I think this is really disappointing, but unfortunately I don't believe that upcoming generations in society will continue to place as much value on preservation.

I wonder what can be done/ what is being done to reverse this trend and pattern. How can we educate society to place value on architecturally and culturally significant places.

The Beginning of Education in Preservation

Tomlan's article on the history of preservation education offered a very clear and enlightening explanation of how preservationists found their niche in the education and free market job world. Some quick questions that I thought of while reading..

Where would the preservation job market be without major programs such as HABS, or the National Preservation Act of 1966? Many of these programs developed before (HABS) or during (National Preservation Act) the time that education in Preservation was beginning to finds its foothold.

Would Preservation have remained a grassroots initiative without the combination of the programs and education interest combined during the 1950's to 70's?

Without the development of these programs and acts to propel Preservation demand and education, would the field have been accepted into standard Architectural education as quickly or to the level it has today?

Michael Job

preservation V.S. architectural value

Bluestone quotes from Banham's dismissal of "Idioitic Preservationist Panic", it reminds me the relationship with Green architecture. Since there are so many historical buildings that is against the notion of environmental friendly.
The architectural value and global trend sometimes have already determined that some historical buildings are actually not qualified to be preserved, despite its cultulral importance. Are there any solutions that help us to preserve the old buildings while maintaining its architectural value such as going green?