Empire State Plaza

Some Tuesday Modernist Links-Empire State Plaza Again

Full post here (from Althouse, with photos).

It looks like the ‘International Power Style’ of the 50’s and 60’s landed its mothership in downtown Albany.  I appreciate Robert Hughes’ near hyperbole in describing the Empire State Plaza:

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What if there was a Wisconsin motor court/supper club with global ambitions?  What if you fused a local motel with the U.N. internationalist style, you ask?

Click here to experience ‘The Gobbler.

After taking the photo tour, I remain convinced that ‘The Gobbler’ exists in its own realm of awesome badness.  Such a shag-covered, abandoned love-child of the late 60′s and early 70′s is challenging just what I thought I knew about American culture.

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Donald Pittenger, at Art Contrarian, and formerly of 2 Blowhards, has been looking at modernism.  From the banner of his blog:

The point-of-view is that modernism in art is an idea that has, after a century or more, been thoroughly tested and found wanting. Not to say that it should be abolished — just put in its proper, diminished place’

They designed a city in the heart of Brazil that really doesn’t work for people: Brasilia: A Planned City

Check out the ‘Socialist Cybernetics‘ of Salvador Allende.

In working towards a theme, check out Buzludzha, the abandoned communist monument in Bulgaria’s Balkan mountains, which still draws up to 50,000 Bulgarian Socialists for a yearly pilgrimage.  Human Planet’s Timothy Allen visited the structure in the snow and took some haunting photos.  You will think you’ve stepped into a Bond film and one of Blofeld’s modernist lairs, but with somewhat Eastern Orthodox tile frescos of Lenin and Marx gazing out at you, abandoned to time, the elements and to nature.

From Althouse: ‘The Atrocity That Is Empire State Plaza’

Full post here. (with photos)

Of course, it may not be an atrocity in your opinion (and could be quite nice), but it is presented as a top down, anaesthetic, or compromised aesthetic, piece of architecture placed there by the government in the name of the people…regardless of what came before.

It reminded me of Brasilia:  Brasilia: A Planned City

Also On This Site:  Roger Scruton In The City Journal: Cities For Living–Is Modernism Dead?

Le Corbusier’s work here, examples of Modern Architecture here.

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