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Presty7
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How exactly does an objectivist go about applying the idea of "form follows function," as was seen in The Fountainhead, to architecture and to the critique of architecture? For example, take the Chrysler Building, decorations and ornamentation are present on the building. An example of which is the sunburst pattern on the seven arches at the crown of the building. What is the objectivist stance on decorations such as this. Does it break the rule of "form follows function?"

What was Ayn Rand's stance on the Art Deco style? Is it considered unethical for an architect to model buildings after a certain style if he finds it aesthetically pleasing?

Also, if anyone can give me guidance toward reading material, websites, ect. that can help explain the objectivist view of architecture and questions relevant to architecture as stated above is possible, please do!

Chrysler Building:

post-6439-1241478836_thumb.jpg

Edited by Presty7
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Boy, that's awfully dogmatic.

Form following function does not preclude ornamentation or demand brutalism. It simply means that in Roark's esthetic views function has PRIMACY over form and if there is a choice between them, he'd choose function. But in reality, this is not an either/or alternative, and a functional design is often superior in beauty to an intentionally ornamental one.

As for utilizing elements from existing styles--no, there's nothing wrong with doing so if it is your rational, independent judgment that THESE ELEMENTS ARE SUPERIOR. If you're mimicking Art Deco in order be a.) conventional and accepted and b.) avoid having to make your own esthetic judgments and decisions, you're being immoral. If you're using some elements that are present in Art Deco because you find those elements esthetically appealing and appropriate for a given work, you're being rational. There's nothing wrong with learning from the masters who have gone before. There is something wrong with plagiarizing them.

As for websites and literature, I think you've had more than enough of that already. You need to stop looking for someone else to TELL you what the Objectivist view "should" be and try figuring it out from base principles on your own. Maybe it'll take you a while, but you'll be a LOT better off. If you just read what someone else thinks, you'll have been told, you won't *know*. But if you figure it out yourself, then you'll *know*.

Edited by JMeganSnow
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Boy, that's awfully dogmatic.

Form following function does not preclude ornamentation or demand brutalism. It simply means that in Roark's esthetic views function has PRIMACY over form and if there is a choice between them, he'd choose function. But in reality, this is not an either/or alternative, and a functional design is often superior in beauty to an intentionally ornamental one.

As for utilizing elements from existing styles--no, there's nothing wrong with doing so if it is your rational, independent judgment that THESE ELEMENTS ARE SUPERIOR. If you're mimicking Art Deco in order be a.) conventional and accepted and b.) avoid having to make your own esthetic judgments and decisions, you're being immoral. If you're using some elements that are present in Art Deco because you find those elements esthetically appealing and appropriate for a given work, you're being rational. There's nothing wrong with learning from the masters who have gone before. There is something wrong with plagiarizing them.

As for websites and literature, I think you've had more than enough of that already. You need to stop looking for someone else to TELL you what the Objectivist view "should" be and try figuring it out from base principles on your own. Maybe it'll take you a while, but you'll be a LOT better off. If you just read what someone else thinks, you'll have been told, you won't *know*. But if you figure it out yourself, then you'll *know*.

Haha, not trying to sound dogmatic, I was just curious about how to apply the things I've learned in The Fountainhead to real life in architecture (which i hope to be involved in one day) and philosophically.

I definitely agree with you on reaching conclusions on my own through the basic principles of objectivism. I have a lot to learn, and I'm glad of it. Thank you for your help!

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Haha, not trying to sound dogmatic, I was just curious about how to apply the things I've learned in The Fountainhead to real life in architecture (which i hope to be involved in one day) and philosophically.

Well, in general, if you're not sure how to apply them, you haven't really learned them yet. You've read about them, and they might even be grounded in concretes, but they aren't integrated into the rest of your knowledge yet. That's okay, it can take years to integrate most of your existing knowledge and even once that's done you never stop learning new things that have to be integrated.

A lot of newer students of Objectivism go through a dogmatic phase (and some never get out of it) where they're focused on the "official" view instead of thinking independently. This is an easy trap to fall into because Ayn Rand made so many very tricky integrations in so many fields and wrote or spoke about them that the student can begin to feel helpless to evaluate her words critically. It's like a two-year-old contemplating the beautiful complexity of an integrated circuit. You just don't know where to start; you're not even sure how to break up Ayn Rand's integrations into their component bits so you can study them.

That's okay. Nobody said this was going to be easy. But I, personally, have found that when you are at that "newbie" stage it's almost always better to at least make a stab at answering your own question when you ask other people for help. Not necessarily better for the people who read your post (it's easier for us to just answer your question the way you stated it rather than try to pick your thinking apart), but it's better for YOU because you'll be acquiring habits of independence and starting to integrate on your own.

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"Form follows function" is just one method to design anything in a rational way. I think ultimately what matters most is that you -think- about how something can be designed. This can apply to architecture, designing a user interface for software or even how to design a chair. Don't include a ornaments just because you can. Don't design something based on popular opinion. Base design on what you want to achieve. If you're explaining a design to another person, you should be able to say -why- each element is included.

Also, I would not say "form follows function" is a rule. While I would say it is very common feature of good design, it is not a requirement for good design.

Edited by Eiuol
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Haha, not trying to sound dogmatic, I was just curious about how to apply the things I've learned in The Fountainhead to real life in architecture (which i hope to be involved in one day) and philosophically.

I definitely agree with you on reaching conclusions on my own through the basic principles of objectivism. I have a lot to learn, and I'm glad of it. Thank you for your help!

Perhaps it's easier to understand if we talk about purpose instead. Roark had very clear reasons why he designed the building the way he did, the function - or purpose - was an integration of his whole philosophy(for example his romantic view of man, and life in general). So there was purpose and reason behind every descision he made; he did not just add ornamentation to fit into a certain style or because of popular opinion, and he thought that would destroy the integrity of the design, and he did not just make square boxes because it might have been functional(in a very practical concrete bound sense). He designed the building according to his highest ideals, as an integrated whole.

In real life this means that you should be clear about your ideas and what you value, and also know the science of architecture to design building according to your purpose.

Keep in mind that The Fountainhead is not some sort of design document on how to make great architecture. Ayn Rand presents great ideas but as far as architecture goes it's on a very abstract level. You can certainly use those ideas, and when your understanding and integration of ideas grow i'm sure you will, however... for the practical application of your ideas you must study architecture - that's how you will learn how to make your ideas into reality.

I can illustrate this with an example. Say a painter wants to make romantic art, of things as they could and should be - maybe he just read The Romantic Manifesto and really liked the ideas. What does he need to do? A good start is of course to have clear understanding of the ideas and what he values, but then he needs to bring these ideas into life in his paintings. In order to do that he must understand painting; he most understand value, color, perspective etc. etc. and how all of these aspects relate to what he wants to achieve. The artist is facing a multitude of descisions he has to make and understand what serves his purpose. The final result will be a product of his thinking and his skill. It's the same thing when designing a building, it just takes a different set of skills.

Edited by Alfa
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How exactly does an objectivist go about applying the idea of "form follows function," as was seen in The Fountainhead, to architecture and to the critique of architecture? For example, take the Chrysler Building, decorations and ornamentation are present on the building. An example of which is the sunburst pattern on the seven arches at the crown of the building. What is the objectivist stance on decorations such as this. Does it break the rule of "form follows function?"

What was Ayn Rand's stance on the Art Deco style? Is it considered unethical for an architect to model buildings after a certain style if he finds it aesthetically pleasing?

Also, if anyone can give me guidance toward reading material, websites, ect. that can help explain the objectivist view of architecture and questions relevant to architecture as stated above is possible, please do!

Chrysler Building:

post-6439-1241478836_thumb.jpg

Presty, regarding Art Deco, it's important to remember that it wasn't so much a unified style as it was a philosophical movement, so their could be variations on the type of ornamentation, as long as it conformed to the principle of modernity, cleanliness of design, elegance, etc.. An example like the Chrysler building and its ornamentation, well, the sunburst had a function: to distinguish its philosophy as one of possibility, to suggest rising in its form; a skyscraper is not humble, so there's a bit of a Promethean element there. But the style was determined by Art Deco principles: clean, geometric, modern. They could have put an Art Noveau sunrise and it wouldn't have been the same...so the form and function become intertwined.

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