Minimalism in Architecture
This might be of interest:
Christian Bonnefoi, "Louis Kahn and Minimalism" in October 24 (1982).
Hugh Pearman brought up the notion of "New Austerity" as the latest architectural trend back in 2000 within the architecthetics list.
When I was a kid, I took piano lessons with Sister Rita at St. Ambrose Convent. I remember the convent interior (at least the few public rooms that I regularly saw) being very austere, although also somewhat modern--the furnishings being like 1940s-50s institutional modern. In retrospect, the place also had a museum-like quality.
Minimalism in Architecture
I visited the ICA exhibition and two of the 36 projects. My favorite was at the Arcadia University Art Gallery. Although not a very large space (approx. 30' x 55', white walls and light gray floor), when first entering the space it appeared as if empty. It was fun and even enlightening to ultimately see the 50 odds works exhibited--kind of nothingness in the extreme.
Going back to the original post, could it be that McMansions really don't have any real competition from the architecture field? Are today's architects even capable of offering what most people want in a home without going against what they are taught? My graduation from architecture school coincided with my parents moving to a new house, and I was given the old house. One of the first things I did to makeover the place was to strip off all the wallpaper, and I found 'virgin' plaster walls. I then decided to not paint any room white, which is when I realized I knew/was taught virtually nothing about color. It took a lot of effort and many hours studying paint chips, and even some repainting, but eventually I learned how to judge color with respect to rooms. Granted, painting rooms different colors isn't architecture, but the experience did demonstrate something that I wasn't taught in school with regard to 'designing' a living environment.
Here's another anecdote:
Back in 1977, I and a small group of fellow architecture students got a private tour of Kahn's Esherick House. You could say it's a nice little minimal work, inside and out--I'd move in in a minute. What was shocking, however, was the kitchen, which is totally a design by the wood sculpture Esherick (who was somehow related to the original owners). The whole room is like a room size free-flowing and curvy wood sculpture. The then owners said they had known Kahn when they bought the place, and whenever he visited he couldn't stand to stay in the kitchen more than a few seconds, and being in the room always made him say something nasty.
A Quondam Banquet of Virtual Sachlichkeit further regards symbolism in architecture and how it is ultimately ignored. Part III, with texts written between 12 October 1994 and 21 March 2006, comprises "Pears Helene," "The Speeches," "Dried Fruit and Nuts," "Australian Port and a Cigarette," "The Ride Home" and "Plop Plop Fizz Fizz." This volume begins with, "I still sense that the notion of a discernible and often strong relationship between reenactment and design is not deemed important enough to be given serious recognition by those that have at least been introduced to the concept," and ends with, "Maybe some architecture courses should be taught by blind people."
Somewhat Incompletely Louis I. Kahn
Louis I. Kahn, Trenton Jewish Community Center Day Camp, 1957.
Aerial view from local.live.com
Louis I. Kahn, Trenton Jewish Community Center Day Camp, 1957. Plan
07050301 Hurva Dormatories plan
07050302 Hurva Dormatories model