The Style of Substance | Architect Magazine | Architects, Architecture, New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA, Tod Williams, FAIA, Billie Tsien, AIA, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, New York

The history of architecture is often dissembled into the history of styles. Even the modern, whose pioneers explicitly rejected historicist or vernacular forms, was reduced to the International Style—white walls and ocean-liner railings. And we live in an interesting moment in the history of styles. On the screens of my sharpest young students are no longer the parametric pinwheels or blobby billows that were a digitally enhanced memory of the last self-consciously curated consensus style, so-called Deconstructivism. Instead it’s all 1986, all the time: James Stirling, Charles Moore, Raimund Abraham, Oswald Ungers, and Aldo Rossi at his most Giorgio de Chirico.

Some of this is the usual fascination with the aesthetics of the era of one’s birth. (Up next: early ’90s Neil Denari, AIA, Michael Rotondi, FAIA, and Tom Kundig, FAIA?) But the rest is something else. It’s a search by a digitally disembodied and displaced generation for what those titans of the ’80s cared about: a substantial materiality in stone, steel, and glass; a sense of place and position in landscape and cityscape; a feeling for the tactile, the sensory, the phenomenal; and the intimation (often through a classicizing shorthand of arcades and colonnades) that all buildings have not just historicist parts, but historical pasts.

via The Style of Substance | Architect Magazine | Architects, Architecture, New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA, Tod Williams, FAIA, Billie Tsien, AIA, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, New York.

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