Censorship and Unhealthy Systems

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    • #705114

      To what extent can architecture/poeple be influenced (or controlled) by the socio-cultural and political regime in which it is manifested ?
      How often does the architecture of a particular era, region, or ethnicity become a true expression of the the society, the ideals and collective and/or individual outlook of the people. First of all of those who create this architecture and secondly ,possibly more importantly, those fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to live their lives in the presence of these various regimes/physical worlds ?

      (This may often have been the case in the past, but maybe no longer applies in this modern era)

    • #716998

      Interesting question – several examples come to mind:

      Its worth looking at Tel Aviv in the thirties as a ‘Zionist’ settlement developed to Bauhaus standards in very much a politically left wing ambience.

      However Italy is almost the exact opposite – International style modernists such as Terragni were the darlings of the Fascist party.

      Nazi Germany recognised only pseudo historicism as a ‘worthy representation of the state.

      While the USSR swung between gargantuan Bel Epoque ‘Classicism’ and chicken shed modernism in almost equal measures – pattern book Classical for public buildings and cut and paste international style for Housing.

      Even the new Ireland got in on the act – a state ‘style’ that was quite popular in the thirties was stripped classicism – there are a couple of good examples in Kildare St that you could quite happily swing a swastika from.

      Probably the choice of architectural style has no impact on the society it tends to be more the quality of construction that affects society – eg: the dreadful flat blocks built in the brutalist modern vocabulary in the 60’s as almost generic social housing.

      [This message has been edited by James (edited 25 October 2001).]

    • #716999

      You could swing a swastica from that Credit Union abonination on Mount Street. If that building represents the sociopolitical views of its inhabitants, god help us all.

    • #717000

      how about thinking of the issue from this point of veiw either…..
      how the ISSUES of finance during construction of the sydney opera house caused political (societal) waves in australia, where subsequently Utzon hardly got paid and then the stigma of the whole thing meant he hardly got a comission for decades afterwards.
      Some say theres no such thing as bad press, this case then must surely be closer to Censorship ???
      Just because terrangi was a member of the fascist party for a while and designed that infamous h.q. building, does that mean he wanted to kill jews ??

    • #717001

      I think you’re absolutely right about the role of th state in financing projects (although by and large I prefer to see the state financing them as opposed to developer interests).

      As to poor old Terragni – he was a brilliant architect but an unapologetic fascist for the entirity of his career. In fact his career was by and large built upon the architecture of fascism – meeting halls, childrens centre(believe it or not in both Germany and Italy these were considered central to the states role in the moulding of the citizen).

      Its pretty much correct to say that he was a fascist al of his adult career.

      Incidentally he volunteered for service on the Russian Front and died there of ‘exhaustion’ in (I think) mid 43′.

      As to the issue of the Holocaust, Italy had a differing attitude to the Jews to that of the Nazis – Mussolini was quite happy to murder and terrorise political opponents but even he balked at co-operating with the deportations – which by and large did’nt get going until late 43′ early 44. Its a complex issue and one which is not best dealt with in an Architectural forum.

      That said, the role of Corbusier as a collaborator with the Vichy regime in France has never been satisfactorily addressed. Vichy was certainly hysterically anti semitic yet corb’ seemed to have no difficulty in working for that state.

      In retrospect the role of architects under fascism would appear to have been less than glorious. Concerns for the expediting of building projects seems to have outweighed any moral assessment of the nature of the state. Even Aalto (who by all accounts was a decent man) visited Germany willingly during the war and negotiated several projects there(none of which to my knowledge ever came to fruition).

      Maybe a good starting point for an understanding of the mindset of the architectural profession under fascism is Gitta Sereny’s book on Speer – it certainly sent a shiver down my spine! – it all seems so reasonable “the state / party was a good and desirable client, we had great plans” etc etc.

    • #717002

      It is very difficult to separate the buildings of Sam Stephenson from the Fianna Fail culture in which they were built. So many of them caused huge political controversy – Wood Quay, and Fitzwilliam Square.

      On the other hand the group 91 approach would reflect perhaps the shift to a politics of consensus in Ireland (and the decline of Socialism). The squatting and DIY culture that came with the resistance to the destruction of Dublin was supposed to have been kept in the Temple Bar work but in the cappucino cleanup it was quickly removed.

    • #717003

      Maybe its a thing to notice that it tends to be the architects with the strongest ambitions of social and cultural perfection. Those who desire or strive to create a self styled utopia. They see the things that are wrong with the world and realise that support of a particular style or mode politics is whats most likely to be their one chance at fullfulling these perfectionist dreams ………. is that one of the reasons Eco (or equality) warriors are seen as bad, dangerous or even evil ???
      We have seen in history how those with utopian veiws of the future turn out to be menace.

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