In the heart of a suburb just east of London stands an incongruous red brick villa. With its pointed arched window frames and towering chimneys, the house was designed to appear like a relic of the Middle Ages. In reality, its vintage dates to the 1860’s. This is Red House, the Arts and Crafts home of artist William Morris and his family. Built as a rebuttal to an increasingly industrialized age, Red House’s message has been both diminished by the passage of time and, over the course of the centuries, been cast in greater relief against its context.
Historicism: The Latest Architecture and News
Is there a growing nostalgia pervading attitudes to civic architecture in Europe? From Berlin's new Royal Palace on the River Spree to Turkey's rekindled fascination with their Ottoman heritage, architecture is becoming the medium of choice for exploring a city's roots and a people's past. In this post originally published by TheLong+Short, Feargus O'Sullivan investigates how many governments and developers have decided that the way to future lies in looking backwards.
Reading about Dubai’s Burj Khalifa in the German press, you’d be forgiven for thinking the building was in Leipzig, not the Middle East. “The tallest building in the world is so German,” said Der Spiegel when the tower opened in 2010. “The Burj Khalifa is an Ossi!" shouted Bild, using the common nickname for East Germans. The headlines were partly right: when East Germany’s old parliament building, the Palace of the Republic in Berlin, was demolished in 2006, several thousand tonnes of steel girders were stripped from its carcass and shipped to the Gulf for use in the construction of Burj Khalifa.
For the best part of a century, architectural discussion has been dominated by modernism and other related forms of futurism and functionalism. For some, this constant invocation of the radically new has begun to look quite tired. In the 1980s looking backwards for inspiration famously brought us the adaptive and populist postmodernists, but also emerging at this time was New Classical architecture, which completely rejected any continuity with modernism and returned instead to traditional rules. In the years since, New Classical architecture has evolved into a resurgence of pre-modern forms, with the term also incorporating designs that would never have been considered "classical" in the first place - including Gothic and non-western historicist styles. We've rounded up some of the most surprising, interesting - even high-tech - examples of New Classical architecture after the break.