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If there is a "failing" to modernism, it's that the form tends to ignore the psychology of architecture, the need to generate an emotional response in those who look upon it. This is not unversally the case by any means, but far too often modernism gets so lost in its austere functionality that it fails to consider the statement - especially of the whole. Usually, there's nothing within the exterior to arrest the eye, to capture one's attention, at least not in an aesthetically pleasing way. Oddly, that is by design and definition. It is, by its very form, the architectural equivalant of plain white rice.
As an engineer, there are elements of our Civic Coliseum I adore. I think the covered breezeways and skyways from the parking garages and Marriot are brilliant, for example. On the other hand, the structure itself is a squat, hard, uninviting lump of concrete as seen from the outside. It's not an "ugly" building (See Thompson-Boling Arena for an example of a truly UGLY arena), but it is plain, unexceptional, utterly functional... a great example of Modernism.
Modernism, I think, is trapped in an era. Unless one is attempting to create a "period" feel, it's not something likely to enjoy a revival. Like enormous tail fins on cars, it's never coming back. There's nothing wrong with that, of course. The turreted and gabled Victorian mansion and the streamlined opulence of Art Deco are also trapped in their respective eras. There are beautiful examples of all these styles to be preserved and treasured, but we're unlikely to see a renaissance with new construction in those styles.
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