Classical and Modern Architecture in Manhattan. By Arun Rau. Part 1. Classical Architecture. The Dakota— former home to John Lennon. A BottomView of The Dakota. A Bottom View of The Dakota. The Metropolitan Museum of Art—from an angle. 5.
A Bottom View of The Dakota
The IAC HQ
Ever wonder why you see new construction sites that you haven’t seen before, an apartment building in scaffolds, or an office building in frames? There is a simple explanation: New York City is always changing very fast—renovating, rebuilding, polishing—but the buildings that hold importance are usually kept. These buildings are the survivors that have escaped any demolishment and cling to special remembrances and various significances. For example, Castle Clinton’s significance was to guard New York from British forces during the Revolutionary War. It was not destroyed because it reminded people of the fight with the British they won, which is basically pride of the country.
All of these buildings represent something, modern or old. Modern and old architecture obviously have differences, but they do have some similarities. One big difference between modern and classical architecture is the materials used in the buildings. It was not until the last century that glass and steel became common. Modern architecture is usually made of simple and flat designs. Classical architecture is another story when talking about the complication. Classical buildings usually have intricate and detailed composition.
Similarities between modern and classic architecture do not have to do with anything visual. A lot of times, you can find two totally visually different buildings but they could stand for the same reason, or hold the same meaning or feeling. For example, the MET Museum and the Guggenheim Museum both are museums, but one is modern and one is classic.
Generally speaking, there are less similarities between modern and classical architecture than differences, but the differences explain the change, which makes them very compelling. You usually don’t see a glass and steel structure with Roman columns. Yes, modern and classical architecture have been conjoined in the past, but rarely. Why did architecture change? Previously, many buildings have been made of wood, stone and bricks. But modern architecture was a celebration of technology—steel, glass and iron were not available back then. So the era of modern architecture came in when people discovered these new materials.