It seems that America lacks architecture of any appeal to a large degree these days. I am not well traveled, and will not claim that I am. However, decorating and studying design has been a passion of mine for many years and I have grown quite fond of architecture from other regions. What I have come to discover in my studying process and noticing of America’s buildings, sky-rises, etc., is that the very concept of true design and architecture has been lost.
Competition seems to have all but taken over. Look to the cities for this prime example – the sky-lines. Every sky-scraper being built seems to want to achieve the winning gold medal for the tallest building in America. I never equated height with architecture (perhaps it is for the mere challenge), but – I am female and I would rather search for beauty, and I think other females would as well. I don’t mean to sound so blunt here (okay – maybe I do), but doesn’t it almost seem that these large sky-scrapers are trying to copycat erect penises? It’s almost as if it is a war of the egos and we are back on the playground with these architects and designers of these monstrosities while they chant, “Neener neener neener… my building is taller than yours!” Viagra anyone?
America is full of masculine architecture. Don’t get me wrong, I love masculinity to the nth degree… in a man though, not necessarily in a building or structure. I heard a philosopher once say that everything in nature is soft and has movement; there are no hard angles and lines. He is spot on. Then man comes along and tries to put everything in a hard-lined, sharp-edged, make-it-fit box. Seems we’ve done quite well at it too.
The modern built house these days is so unoriginal it just about makes me throw up in my mouth. We now have cookie-cutter, tract homes – where every third house is exactly the same as your own, to the left AND to the right. Albeit, there may be a slight change in color – just a different shade of tan, or off-white.
What happened to the styles and originality back in the day? Granted I did not live back in ‘the day’ (whenever that was exactly, as when we age and get maturity behind us… we all think we indeed lived back in ‘the day’). I am referring to the homes that had class, character, and charm. The Bungalow, the Craftsman, the Tudor, the Spanish style… why have we deviated from these beauties? Those homes had personality and told a story. Nowadays, it’s the stucco dream with drywall interior and bull-nosed corners, and if you pay the hefty upgrade price, you may get crown moulding and coffered ceilings… snooze.
I appreciate that drywall prevents fires from spreading as rapidly and that the tract home was in full swing and needed after the end of World War II, but still… I miss femininity in our architecture. Yes, some older and historic cities and neighborhoods still carry this type of style and grace in this country, to which I fully appreciate and cling to when I see it. But, I believe that needs to still carry on in our buildings today.
If you look at our hillsides littered in unoriginal homes, your eyes want to glaze over while scanning – never noticing anything visually enticing that you want to stop and linger at. Now, if you look at the hillsides of Italy, Spain, or Brazil… man oh man, visual delights – color! America is so afraid of color. What is wrong with the quenching colors of Cobalt Blue on a Mediterranean home, the Orangey Brown Adobe on a Spanish style, and the Chocolate Brown with Dark Green trim on the Craftsman, or the Slate Gray with a Red front door on the Tudor? What is wrong with color? Since when has America toned down and gotten so downright boring and wanted to all blend in with the other so badly? We have become camouflaged amongst ourselves… driving down our suburban streets not even recognizing our own home until the act of our garage door opening tips us off. Don’t even get me started on the one proverbial tree in the front yard concept and only two in the backyard nonsense. We, as a country, have become so rigid in our way of expressing and being individualistic.
Architecture in America is sadly a lost art, skill, and talent when it comes to displaying beauty and character. We are a country of erect sky-scrapers, flat strip malls, rectangular super malls, and boring cookie-cutter homes. I think if Frank Lloyd Wright were alive today, he would just shake his head. Now there’s a man that new what to do with angles and hard lines.