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Thread: What's so great about Old Buildings?

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    Senior Member petromax's Avatar
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    Default What's so great about Old Buildings?

    There is a presumption that most old stuff is good stuff; that sees either side of 1900 as a golden age (George's Hall, Liver Buildings, Three Graces, Water Street).

    Actually this Architecture represents the upper end of a class system that 'suppressed the workers', so what's so great about it?


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    Senior Member Davec's Avatar
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    Think you could apply that reasoning to just about every worthwhile building anywhere in the world at any time in history.

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    Architecture?

    I do not know Liverpool, I have seen here many pictures and movies of Liverpool's past, would I know the place now from these sources?

    Within the space of all too few generations much of a people's history is lost and without land-marks the geography of a place can also be lost.

    I do despise these country houses for much the same reasons as you have put forward; labour cost etc. And how one is supposed to marvel at the costs envolved in their building WITHOUT being asked to consider the human cost not only of the build but of where the money came from too.

    I have worked on a few 'prized' examples of times past and I do admire the effort required in the build. Right angle? Whats that?

    We should rejoyce in them if they are put to public use. For they do show the effort and expertise shown by a by-gone age of astizan.

    Lastly; What are the time-scales of modern buildings? Perhaps we cannot match the past in their efforts, but we can do much to continue history on into the future using architecture as mile stones. My mother was insured by the Liverpool Victoria (if I remember right) and soo I have long been aware of the Liver Building and if that were to go how could I judge what the Liverpool of today is all about?
    What use Liverpool has for it's past is up to you all now. I think that the whole thing hangs on what use the present can find for these efforts of yesteryear.

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    Senior Member lindylou's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Oudeis;198983]
    I do despise these country houses for much the same reasons as you have put forward; labour cost etc. And how one is supposed to marvel at the costs envolved in their building WITHOUT being asked to consider the human cost not only of the build but of where the money came from too.
    QUOTE]



    My dad was always of that opinion. re stately homes, he says why should we pay to go in and 'view' the affluence and luxury that was built from exploitation of the less well off. It was bad enough that the affluent were greedy with their the vast amounts of land and wealth, and had the poor labouring for them for a pittance .. now they want us to pay again !!
    My dad won't pay to go in a stately home

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    Well said lindylou's dad.

    He will be one of the too few who have read, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

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    What a load of leftie bull.Tell me,were these buildings built by slaves or by a paid workforce?
    Modern architecure is about architects.I put these things up and it's all about 'the look'.If there are any cutbacks to be made because money is getting short it's NEVER on the externals or foyer area as they are the bits that go in the portfolio and win awards.

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    Senior Member lindylou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oudeis View Post
    Well said lindylou's dad.

    He will be one of the too few who have read, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.
    he has too ! and been to see the grave of Robert Tressell

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    ...and the money GNASHER. Where did that come from?

    [had the Nazis formed a statue for some foyer out of the gold teeth and spectacles they had to hand, that too would be OK?]

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    Quote Originally Posted by lindylou View Post
    My dad was always of that opinion. re stately homes, he says why should we pay to go in and 'view' the affluence and luxury that was built from exploitation of the less well off. It was bad enough that the affluent were greedy with their the vast amounts of land and wealth, and had the poor labouring for them for a pittance .. now they want us to pay again !!
    My dad won't pay to go in a stately home
    He was an astute man Lindy. The preservation of stately homes, which are out of sight of the vast majority of people hidden in the country, was a way of the well connected ruling class to maintain their lifestyles. WE pay for a lot of it. They put about propaganda that these piles of bricks were essential, as a key part of our heritage - although few had ever seen them, never mind been in one. They also put about propaganda that the lifestyle and social structure, of which they were at the top, was essential to our way of life - lots of romatic scenes of happy people working in the fields and walking to to the pub in a chocolate box type of village. Few villages were like this being mainly full of mud and animal mature on the streets with cows and sheep being driven through them. Then the wealthy, privileged ruling class, who made their wealth by taking rent, went for state aid to maintain their lifestyles. It was 100% successful. The governments and people sucked it in.

    The finest buildings are, and were, in cities. Ground around buildings make them stand out and more appealing. If the David Lewis' Building was in the country with some Lord living in it, would it have been demolished? Would the Custom House been demolished? I think not.

    Stately homes are a reminder in brick of gross exploitation of people. Not one penny of public funds should go towards these stacks of bricks.
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    [QUOTE=Oudeis;198998]...and the money GNASHER. Where did that come from? ]

    The Royal Mint .
    The same sources as now,loans,investment,grants.A tip,never use your own money.
    had the Nazis formed a statue for some foyer out of the gold teeth and spectacles they had to hand, that too would be OK?

    WTF has that got to do with it?

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    A lot of Liverpool's architecture was functional, with decorative embellishments to represent power and wealth. Their are exceptions, the Dock Office is one and the towers on the Liver Buildings. Take off the towers and the building looks like functional buildings seen on NY & Chicago at the time.

    The Cunard Building was pretty functional as was the India Buildings - although the architect had a sense of humour and put a Roman villa on the roof. St. George's Hall was a 100% functional building, however copied Greek classical designs as a statement of the city's wealth.

    Tall, large, grand looking buildings have and always will be used as an outward means of displaying wealth or a go-ahead image - and a form of corporate advertising. The buildings may give the impression a company was richer than it was. Banks and insurance buildings wanted to display solidity, so tended to build strong traditional looking buildings - hence the plethora of oldish looking buildings in Liverpool.
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


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    ...not sugar, cotton or the slave trade directly?

    I do not see the facts of employment at those times as much of a step up from slavery itself.

    A man was an asset on the one hand and a liability on the other.

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    George
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    What's so great about Old Buildings?

    in terms of the common mans house they are/where/...had character,take todays and those of the last 20 years...they're lego/boxes and nothing more ie depressing buildings that are a lot smaller inside than a terraced house.

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    I don't care about who built them and how little they were paid, as it's exactly the same nowadays. Look at some of the incidents that happen on todays building sites because the building company cuts corners to save money. They don't really care about the safety of their workforce and pay them as little as they can get away with

    The reason why I'd say some old buildings are great is they look amazing and considering the lack of technology, compared with now, they'll still be standing when alot of todays buildings are starting to crumble.

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    Scouse Smurf,

    Mausoleums we do not need. Surely it is the life within that matters? And if a new life can be found for these land-marks all well and good.

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    That suggests we should forget and destroy everything from the past, if it doesn't have a use nowaday. If we thought like that, we'll end up with more stupidly shaped concrete and mirrored buildings which will need replacing again in 50 years.

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    ss,
    Only if we began with stupidity could we end up with it.

    Where is the confidence in ones neighbours? Wher is the imagination? The foresight?

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    What's so great about Old Buildings?

    in terms of the common mans house they are/where/...had character,take todays and those of the last 20 years...they're lego/boxes and nothing more ie depressing buildings that are a lot smaller inside than a terraced house.
    The matchbox size of the house has nothing at all to do with it being old or new. Give me this eco beauty any day that some old Victorian pneumonia home. BTW, it comes in a kit.



    The reason we have tiny pokey homes is the land laws and the planning laws. Read this:
    How land affects the Average Person
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scouse smurf View Post
    That suggests we should forget and destroy everything from the past, if it doesn't have a use nowaday. If we thought like that, we'll end up with more stupidly shaped concrete and mirrored buildings which will need replacing again in 50 years.
    This is a major problem. The notion that buildings must be a permanent structure and be there for centuries. It is a functional structure. They outlive their usefulness and in most cases need adapting to cope with needs, by extending and the likes, as time moves on.

    We do not think a car needs to last 200 years, so why do we have this attitude towards buildings? Pre-fabbed buildings can look terrific - it is just design. Want to to look Tudor? You got it. Want it to look like a Cornish cottage? You got it. When the useful life is over they are cheaply replaced. I see nothing wrong with that.
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterways View Post
    The matchbox size of the house has nothing at all to do with it being old or new. Give me one of these any day that some old Victorian pneumonia home:



    The reason we have tiny pokey homes is the land laws and the planning laws. Read this:
    How land affects the Average Person
    I agree with you on some points WW, but the use of the land we have needs looking at. In the towns and cities, all over the UK, there are vast tracts unused. The so called brown sites should be freed up. We have a hospital over here, Arrowe Park, it was built on parkland. Miles from the population. Yet Birkenhead has vast tracts going idle. It's been idle for years. I think we should use what we got before we decimate more of the countryside.

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pablo42 View Post
    I agree with you on some points WW, but the use of the land we have needs looking at. In the towns and cities, all over the UK, there are vast tracts unused. The so called brown sites should be freed up. We have a hospital over here, Arrowe Park, it was built on parkland. Miles from the population. Yet Birkenhead has vast tracts going idle. It's been idle for years. I think we should use what we got before we decimate more of the countryside.
    Of course brownfield land should be utilised, however this land will account for only about 14% of the homes the UK needs. The myth all brownfield land can solve all problems while the stinking rich keep hold of their lucrative acres gets stronger by the day.

    The Myths of the Planning System

    How has this situation come about? In a country that was
    among the first to roll back the government?s role in the
    economy, why do we still plan our housing in the way we
    do? And why do we accept the outcomes of this system,
    which forces us to live in crowded, old, small and expensive
    housing of a type we do not want?

    One reason is that the political alliance to save the
    countryside is very strong, but to be successful there
    have to be a number of arguments that resonate with
    voters. By analysing these arguments we discover that
    they are as much folk myths as the view that British
    housing is the best in Europe:


    ? Britain is a small, overcrowded country ? in fact only
    around 7.5% per cent of land in Britain is urban, half the
    figure in the Netherlands and lower than Belgium, (West)
    Germany and Denmark. We are living in crowded and
    dense cities, not a crowded and urbanised country.

    ? Southern England is especially crowded, so new development
    should take place in the North ?
    in fact the
    North West is the most urbanised region in England,
    and the South West and East Anglia are among the least
    urbanised.

    ? But the South is full of towns? ? development is
    usually near major transport links, giving the impression
    of over-urbanisation. In addition, there is the
    psychological effect of travelling between cities ? one
    travels slowly through urban areas but speeds through
    rural ones, giving a false impression as to the level of
    development.

    ? We?re all getting older and will want smaller houses ?
    in the last 32 years the number of households has
    risen by one-third, outstripping the growth of the
    housing stock. Besides, many older people do not
    want to move out of their houses, and nor should they
    be forced to.

    ? We need agricultural land to be self-sufficient ?
    Britain has one of the highest proportions of land
    given over to agriculture in the world, and we produce
    agricultural surpluses. We are fully integrated in the
    world economy and rely on imports for almost everything,
    especially energy ? being self-sufficient in food
    alone is pointless.

    ? Cities are bad for environment ? interestingly, it seems
    that the kind of low rise, low density housing that
    planners and guardians of the countryside dislike is
    better for biodiversity than monocultural farmland.

    ? We need to live at high densities to protect the global
    environment ?
    the planning system?s emphasis on
    using brown field land often increases fuel use, as these
    sites are not always near existing development or
    people?s work places. Taxation is a much more effective
    tool for reducing fuel usage.

    ? Building on brown field sites is always better ? the
    number of brown field sites is heavily restricted,
    perhaps only 14 per cent of the houses we need could
    be built on them. If we are only going to use these sites
    then house prices will continue to rocket and we will be
    living in very dense, crowded, high rise accommodation
    ? just what we do not want.

    ? There are lots of empty buildings we could use ? our
    vacancy rate is very low internationally, and some
    vacancy rate is required for the market to be flexible.

    --------
    Countryside organisations are demanding all city brownfield sites be built on.
    This should be resisted as we now have an ideal opportunity to leave most
    of these sites vacant, cleaned up and made natural again by turning them
    into parks, woods and encouraging wildlife for the local population to enjoy.
    This is an ideal opportunity to improve brownfield areas, improving the
    quality of life of urban dwellers. Righting the wrongs of the incompetent
    planners of the past. Areas like Hampstead Heath should be actively
    encouraged. Woods in towns and cities would also be a great bonus. The
    deliberate differentiation between town and country requires abolition as the
    Town & Country planning act attempts to divide. Using the words town and
    country sets the tone. It creates conflict. It creates two separate
    societies. It creates distrust.

    A good read. Opens your eyes....Unaffordable Housing
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


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    Pablo42 pablo42's Avatar
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    You have a point WW, but turning the countryside into huge estates is not good. You can have small high densith housing in towns. there have been some great examples. I believe London has one development that resembles a Spanish town.

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pablo42 View Post
    You have a point WW, but turning the countryside into huge estates is not good. You can have small high densith housing in towns. there have been some great examples. I believe London has one development that resembles a Spanish town.
    More myths. Concreting over the countryside. Urban sprawl. Emotive terms used by the large landowners, to keep you hemmed up in a tight urban communities. The implications are that we do not have any land. As only 7.5% is settled we can't sprawl anywhere. If all towns and cities were twice the size that is still only 15% of the land used.

    About two thirds of all new housing is built within existing urban areas with the remainder mainly built on the edge of urban areas. Very little is built on open countryside.

    Land reform must mesh with decent relaxed planning laws that allow the population to build on all land. Laws passed relating to land are rendered sterile if relaxed planning laws are not implemented. Areas of natural beauty, SSSI's, national parks, industrial and commercial sectors, etc, of course should have restrictions, which still leaves a vast amount of subsidised field Britain to build on.

    Building on a larger mass of land will eliminate the unappealing high density, high impact developer estates; the sort that make people shudder, with many having to buy as they have Hobson?s choice. Many against building on the countryside envisage high density, high impact developer estates. The vision of these estates stirs negative emotions. That clearly would not occur if the people are allowed to spread out on the land. With cheaper land, people would build larger houses on larger plots for less money. Having the large developers curtailed will result in a mixed assortment of higher quality homes.

    "We are living in crowded and dense cities,
    not a crowded and urbanised country"

    "Planners have created a system
    that has led not only to higher
    house prices but also a highly
    volatile housing market?


    Best read the links I give. It will become clearer.
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


    Giving Liverpool a full Metro - CLICK
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    Senior Member danensis's Avatar
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    To return to the original question "What's so great about Old Buildings?" its about scale and context. There are one or two modern buildings that give a nod to their surroundings, but most architects want to be noticed, and New Brutalism never really disappeared.

    John

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danensis View Post
    To return to the original question "What's so great about Old Buildings?" its about scale and context. There are one or two modern buildings that give a nod to their surroundings, but most architects want to be noticed, and New Brutalism never really disappeared.

    John
    In the case of Liverpool the planners make sure they do not want any building to be noticed. The Caesar Pelli building is a non-entity as the planners lopped off about 7 to 10 floors reducing impact. The Brunswick Quay Tower is another prime example, which was rejected.

    The Liver Blgs can be described as brutalism. It was meant to be noticed. The Capital Building is pure brutalism - although this is a highly functional eco building before eco was fashionable.

    Which leads me to, why aren't all buildings facing water using a heat pump to heat and cool using the dock or river water as the Capital Building did in 1973? The city has much innovation in these matters, and even St. George's school, Wallasey. St. George's Hall being the world's first air-conditioned building. The city should insist on these being implemented.
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


    Giving Liverpool a full Metro - CLICK
    Rapid-transit rail: Everton, Liverpool & Arena - CLICK

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    Senior Member GNASHER's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Waterways;199050]This is a major problem. The notion that buildings must be a permanent structure and be there for centuries. It is a functional structure. They outlive their usefulness and in most cases need adapting to cope with needs, by extending and the likes, as time moves on.]

    I know lets fill in the docks and canals and build on them.

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GNASHER View Post
    I know lets fill in the docks and canals and build on them.
    We could do. We could fill in the River Mersey as well and make the city like Manchester. Leeds & Birmingham. Fantastic! Then we can be notorious as Swindon.
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


    Giving Liverpool a full Metro - CLICK
    Rapid-transit rail: Everton, Liverpool & Arena - CLICK

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    Senior Member petromax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danensis View Post
    To return to the original question "What's so great about Old Buildings?" its about scale and context. There are one or two modern buildings that give a nod to their surroundings, but most architects want to be noticed, and New Brutalism never really disappeared.

    John
    Surely there's more to it than just 'fitting in' (if you just fitted in to say, Slough, you'd have to worry). Where does this need to conform come from?

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by petromax View Post
    Surely there's more to it than just 'fitting in' (if you just fitted in to say, Slough, you'd have to worry). Where does this need to conform come from?
    Bath is all Georgian, except where they stupidly demolished parts in the 1970s for shopping malls, etc.

    The attraction of Bath, which is not that big, is that it is all the same style of Georgian buildings.
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


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    Quote Originally Posted by danensis View Post
    To return to the original question "What's so great about Old Buildings?" its about scale and context. There are one or two modern buildings that give a nod to their surroundings, but most architects want to be noticed, and New Brutalism never really disappeared.

    John
    Check out the work of Le Corbusier for some ideas on Urban Development.

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