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← Architexture| Sergei Tchoban| TEDxPokrovkaSt

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Showing Revision 63 created 01/20/2020 by Robert Tucker.

  1. Hello, good afternoon.
  2. I'm ...
  3. ... feeling so excited about attending
    such a remarkable event,
  4. which the one percent
    might find interesting
  5. who have needs beyond food and TV.
  6. That's great!
  7. I am going to tell you about something
  8. about which we all think to some extent,
  9. perhaps, even, without really
    giving ourselves over to it.
  10. What makes a city beautiful,
    how do we go about creating one,
  11. and how do we make one ugly?
  12. And on which criteria is it to be decided
  13. that one building is right
    for one given site, but not another?
  14. Why talk about this, when you're
    probably not all architects,
  15. just a tiny percentage of you?
  16. Well, today especially, architecture
    is a subject of public debate.
  17. Since I conduct this discussion
    with municipalities,
  18. the representatives of the people
    in various cities,
  19. I can see how great
    and how keen the interest is
  20. in regard to which kind of architecture
    we should regard as beautiful.
  21. And when I talk about this,
    I always start by showing this photograph.
  22. It may seem not to be about architecture,
  23. but if we are talking about the principle
    of traditional historical harmony,
  24. then these Smolnyanki, young ladies
    at the Smolny Institute for Noble Maidens,
  25. they just bring it to life
  26. with the harmony here, absolutely uniform:
  27. the ladies in evening gowns,
  28. the gentleman playing the piano
  29. in a tailcoat,
  30. this is a picture of a city
    in tailcoat and evening gown.
  31. It is just like, 100 years ago,
    our cities looked.
  32. They were cities like this,
    in tailcoats and evening gowns,
  33. looking, in fact, the same
    as the city folk did.
  34. When we look at an historical street,
    many of us still think today
  35. that this historical street
    is an example of absolute harmony.
  36. If there is a house of the 18th century,
  37. and you want to put up a house next to it,
  38. then it should reflect the style
  39. of those put up two centuries earlier.
  40. But the world today is developing
    in a different way.
  41. Seeing that,
    as the esteemed presenter said,
  42. I'm not only an architect
    but an active graphic artist
  43. who draws architectural works
    and popularizes this art form,
  44. I always verify my feeling
    for a beautiful city
  45. by analysing my drawings.
  46. And clearly, all these cities here
    are traditionally beautiful.
  47. You all know them,
    or maybe you'll find out more later:
  48. those were Saint Petersburg,
    Venice, Ghent, and Amsterdam.
  49. And here, at the end of the 19th,
    the beginning of the 20th century,
  50. there arises the conflict
    with the modern world,
  51. when a city stops being totally horizontal
  52. and absolutely harmoniously beautiful,
    undeniably beautiful.
  53. This is late 19th,
    early 20th century, Chicago.
  54. I was absolutely delighted
    looking at the photos shown earlier.
  55. Undoubtedly, it was unreal courage.
  56. I was scared to death sitting
    in a front-row seat:
  57. I imagined how scary it must be
    doing it yourself.
  58. That he wasn't afraid
    must have been a superhuman feat.
  59. I had very great respect for that,
  60. but was interested in
    one more point he made.
  61. When looking at the pictures of nature,
    we were all totally persuaded:
  62. it is very beautiful,
  63. nature is always beautiful
    without exception.
  64. But there is so much ugly architecture.
  65. These high-rise complexes may be
    more beautiful or less beautiful,
  66. and it is becoming more subjective,
  67. and the beginning of this subjectivity
    was laid out right there in Chicago,
  68. where the first skyscrapers appeared.
  69. This is late 19th, early 20th century,
  70. and, going forward ...
  71. this is modern New York City,
  72. where the principles of modern beauty,
  73. contrasting beauty,
  74. allow the bringing together
    of the incongruous.
  75. This is the 19th century,
    the first third of the 20th century,
  76. the then state-of-the-art construction,
  77. the trendy SHoP building in New York.
  78. These are engineered add-ons
    over brick buildings.
  79. And here we have the architectural form.
  80. It speaks out in order to stand out.
  81. In order to stand out,
    it needs a background.
  82. If you appear naked or half-naked,
  83. you need to have around you
    people in strict evening dress.
  84. Otherwise, if everyone came like it,
    no one would stand out.
  85. And here, in like manner,
  86. contemporary architecture
    is looking for such a role,
  87. for a city framework
  88. in which it can show itself off
    without restraint.
  89. This wonderful sculpture
    everybody probably knows:
  90. it's by Jeff Koontz, an outstanding
    contemporary artist.
  91. He chose Heracles to say
    modern culture is this.
  92. We need Heracles, not to admire him,
  93. but to admire the fantastic glass ball,
  94. and to appreciate the contrast.
  95. But at that moment,
    as the speaker put it so wonderfully,
  96. when everyone wants to be first,
    problems present themselves,
  97. because when everyone wants to be first,
  98. we descend into chaos.
  99. Everyone cannot be first,
  100. and, unfortunately, modern architecture,
    today, cannot get along with itself.
  101. When we were coming here,
    at least when I was,
  102. crowds of people were wandering
  103. between the different
    separate buildings in this area,
  104. and we were just slaves
    to this most recent architecture,
  105. where everyone lived for themselves,
    and there was no ensemble.
  106. Today's architecture is
    some kind of conjuncture
  107. between the desire to stand out
    and yet to be befitting.
  108. And this is a very important feature
    that I bring out in my drawings.
  109. All this ornament
    of the urban environment,
  110. it's just designed to understand
    the beauty of this bridge.
  111. This is the skyline of a traditional city,
    we know these cityscapes,
  112. of London, of Moscow, of Milan, of Paris.
  113. They exist to make us realize
    that these two buildings stand out.
  114. Or a contemporary structure:
  115. it needs this street
    in order to make itself undeniable.
  116. And these sources of contrasting harmony,
  117. we can be proud of them
    because they came from Russia.
  118. Today, the whole world is using them.
  119. They derive from Constructivism,
  120. because no past trends, no past movements,
  121. worked with such contrast
    to the historical environment
  122. as Constructivism did.
  123. Take, for example,
    Ivan Leonidov's construction.
  124. We know how it should have stood
    in Moscow's structure.
  125. If, today, an architect
    put forward such a design
  126. to the Committee for Architecture
    and Urban Planning of Moscow,
  127. of which, by the way, I'm a member,
  128. I doubt his work
    would be met with applause.
  129. This is what it would look like
    in the historical environment, but ...
  130. we need to realize that
    although this was only a design,
  131. it remains an indisputable icon
    of the 20th century.
  132. And we see that such thinking today
    has a huge impact all around the world.
  133. This is a vista of Paris that you can
    only see from the Pompidou Centre,
  134. but tomorrow it will be
    visible everywhere.
  135. This is another example of Constructivism,
  136. designed by Krinsky,
  137. it was intended for a corner
    of Lubyanka Square.
  138. This is how it should have been seen
  139. from Myasnitskaya Street
    looking to Lubyanka Square.
  140. And these buildings should have formed
    a ring around Bely Gorod,
  141. that is, on the intersections
    of the Boulevard Ring
  142. and the radial streets,
    Tverskaya Street, for example.
  143. This building should have been
    opposite the Strastnoy Monastery,
  144. which has now been demolished.
  145. So, here we are talking about
    contrasting harmony
  146. where the new architecture
    was not built from scratch,
  147. but was unreservedly boldly,
    almost negligently rashly,
  148. inserted into the historical
    context of the city,
  149. a worldwide trend today.
  150. And this is a purely Russian trend.
  151. Neither the Bauhaus, nor other trends
    in the architecture of the 1920s,
  152. entered the fabric of the city
    in such a bold manner.
  153. So here we have
    what that trend looks like today.
  154. This is what's proposed
    for the rue de Rivoli -
  155. everyone's been to Paris
    and knows where it is -
  156. this highly refined location
    by the Tuileries Gardens and the Louvre.
  157. This is how Vincent Callebaut
    envisages the green city of Paris
  158. in the near future.
  159. And in my drawings
    and architectural designs,
  160. I always try to talk,
    to analyse this subject,
  161. to talk about the different
    strata of a city.
  162. In my architectural works, I try to prove
  163. that, today, contrast
    is the most important feature
  164. of the modern cityscape.
  165. Contrast is the the key element
    of the modern cityscape postcard.
  166. This is my building in Berlin,
  167. the Hotel nhow on the banks
    of the River Spree,
  168. before that we saw an aquarium
    at the Radisson Blu Hotel also in Berlin:
  169. a huge construction contrasting
    with its surrounding atrium.
  170. This is a close-up view of the huge,
    21-metre cantilever by the Spree.
  171. Here is another cantilever construction
  172. where there is contrast between it
  173. and the walls of the historical
    brick building it envelops.
  174. We can see that it is
    far from conventional harmony,
  175. but I think it's interesting,
    it's beautiful today,
  176. and we must have the courage
    to allow this in our cities.
  177. This is the Museum
    for Architectural Drawing,
  178. so named by the speaker.
  179. In the historical part of the city,
  180. it doesn't rise above
    the surrounding buildings,
  181. but it is strikingly contrasting,
    it is strikingly sculptural.
  182. And here's what the new
    apartment block looks like
  183. that I built quite recently
    by the Berlin Wall.
  184. I am sure you know
    where the Berlin Wall ran,
  185. on which there are the outstanding
    paintings of Dmitri Vrubel,
  186. the Honecker-Brezhnev kiss, it's there.
  187. The same harsh contrast
  188. of high and low,
    different colours, cantilevers.
  189. And this is when the question arises
  190. of just how we can arrive at
    not having the whole fabric of the city
  191. look too jagged,
  192. of getting the buildings of contrast,
  193. and those of the traditional
    harmonious environment,
  194. to work together
  195. so that the whole city is not far off
  196. the picture we have
    that is close to all of us.
  197. This is just the perfectly ordinary square
    in front of the Bourse du Travail in Nice.
  198. One thing I'll say is that it is only
    with rigid rules and regulations
  199. imposed on the built environment
  200. surrounding these historically
    important buildings,
  201. when not only the height is regulated,
    but all parameters are regulated,
  202. a wall's surface area,
    the number of windows,
  203. the use of the ground floor,
    the availability of public space,
  204. that we can create
    an environmental architecture
  205. that forms the new framework
  206. avoiding the discordance
    that we saw in the first picture,
  207. when everyone wants to lead
    and chaos results.
  208. And here an immense role
    is played by the detail,
  209. so if there are any architects here,
  210. or if most of you aren't architects
  211. you must also bear in mind,
  212. that if we have a Palladian palace,
  213. the Palazzo Thiene,
    or the Palazzo Rucellai,
  214. it is always about detail.
  215. When contemporary architecture
    says that you can do without detail,
  216. it's wrong, and it doesn't work.
  217. But, the detail can be very different,
    as we can see in these pictures.
  218. Here there's the Hagia Sophia
    in Constantinople,
  219. Istanbul today;
  220. a building by Frank Lloyd Wright
    in San Francisco;
  221. a wonderful mansion
    by Palo Portaluppi in Milan;
  222. all kinds of ways to create ornamentation,
    to create a rich pattern structure.
  223. These are my other objects,
  224. environmental, without a specific
    complex structure,
  225. no sculpture,
  226. but there are plastic details
  227. that allow the creation
    of an environment, refined in detail,
  228. not one that screams out,
  229. which later could become a necklace
    into which you can later insert a diamond:
  230. those 15, 20, 30 percent
    of unique developments
  231. around which you can graft an environment
  232. rich in detail like this.
  233. This is very, very important,
  234. as it is also to design buildings
    down to such tiny details as door handles,
  235. because that is exactly
    what someone will notice:
  236. they don't look up 100-200 metres;
  237. they look at a height of 1.5 metres,
  238. towards what lies directly ahead,
  239. where they see all these details
    that they admire,
  240. that enrich their eyes,
  241. and it's like that
    that they embrace architecture.
  242. Here, architecture
    should not be left bare,
  243. it needs to be saturated
    with a fine texture,
  244. which is that which we love.
  245. It should penetrate the interior,
    it must go inside,
  246. to create a refined surface there.
  247. Ideally, with this, a sculptural form,
  248. what we see looking at it from a distance,
  249. and the subtle texture of the detail
    that we only see when closer to it,
  250. should combine with each other.
  251. And, indeed, this is
    what gives us the opportunity
  252. to identify interesting
    architecture from a distance,
  253. and then, getting closer,
    observe the smallest details,
  254. and based on these tiny details,
  255. to love architecture from any distance.
  256. and to love our modern cities.
  257. I wish you,
  258. the architects present in here anyway,
  259. to be daring in your ideas,
  260. but to also always bear in mind
  261. that the lifespan of a building is longer
  262. than the time you took
    to come up with the idea.
  263. We should create a fabric for the building
    that is a fabric that lasts longer,
  264. and, at the same time,
  265. we need to take pains
    in implementing those details,
  266. to be demanding of one's clients
    and others involved.
  267. And I'd like that the majority
    of those involved in the process,
  268. those people who discuss
    the work of architects,
  269. to pay greater attention
  270. to different trends
    in modern town planning,
  271. contrasting trends included,
  272. and not demand that we be
    always pseudo-harmonious,
  273. because to be modern means
    to have the potential to do more.
  274. Thank you for listening.
  275. (Applause)