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What makes the construction of modern times look plain than ancient in terms of conice finishes?

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Why Modern Buildings Can Look Plain Compared to Ancient Ones: A Tale of Concealed Beauty

From the intricate carvings of Angkor Wat to the majestic columns of the Parthenon, ancient structures often possess an undeniable grandeur that leaves modern buildings feeling, well, a bit plain. But why is this? Is it simply a matter of lost artistic skill or a shift in priorities? The answer, like most things in architecture, is multifaceted and fascinating.

The Lure of the Exposed:

One key factor lies in the ancient approach to construction materials. In many historical periods, stone, brick, and wood were not merely building blocks, but canvases for artistic expression. Skilled artisans carved intricate details directly into the surfaces, showcasing their mastery and imbuing the structures with a sense of narrative and grandeur. Think of the swirling friezes on Greek temples or the hieroglyphics adorning Egyptian pyramids – these weren't just decorative; they were stories etched in stone, telling tales of gods, heroes, and empires.

The Rise of the Concealed:

In contrast, modern construction often prioritizes functionality and efficiency. Materials like steel, glass, and concrete offer undeniable advantages in terms of strength, speed of construction, and cost. However, they also tend to be more uniform and less amenable to intricate detailing. As a result, many modern buildings rely on cladding, paint, or prefabricated elements to achieve their aesthetic. This can create a sense of sterility and uniformity, particularly compared to the expressive, exposed materials of ancient times.

Beyond the Surface: Beauty in Subtlety

But to declare modern architecture inherently plain would be a grave oversimplification. Modernity has its own unique forms of beauty, often residing in the interplay of light, form, and space. Architects like Mies van der Rohe championed the "less is more" philosophy, creating minimalist structures that derive their elegance from clean lines, precise proportions, and the interplay of natural materials. Similarly, the Brutalist movement embraced the raw, exposed textures of concrete, celebrating the inherent beauty of the material itself.


A Matter of Perspective:

Ultimately, whether one finds modern buildings plain or beautiful is a matter of personal preference and cultural context. What appears simplistic to one eye might be a sophisticated expression of minimalism to another. The key is to appreciate the different approaches to form, material, and expression that each era brings to the table.

Moving Forward: A Blend of Old and New

Perhaps the future lies in a synthesis of ancient and modern approaches. Contemporary architects are increasingly drawn to the expressive potential of exposed materials, incorporating elements like textured concrete, reclaimed wood, and even living walls into their designs. This creates a dialogue between the past and the present, fostering a sense of connection and cultural continuity.

So, the next time you gaze upon a modern building, don't be so quick to dismiss it as plain. Look beyond the smooth surfaces and prefabricated elements. Seek out the subtle interplay of light and shadow, the clever use of materials, and the innovative ways architects are pushing the boundaries of form and function. You might just discover a hidden beauty, a testament to the ever-evolving human expression through the art of architecture.

This topic was modified 4 months ago by Samson Adebowale
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