Shownotes from Zach

Here are the reading notes from my conversation with Zach. We talked for nearly two hours and talked about a bunch of things. 

2.30 Trad arch: ornamentation, based on old designs. Modernism: clean lines, no ornamentation. 

5:00 Zach’s experience at school: you’ve always got to “reinterpret” the architecture; you can’t just build a building. Notre Dame Architecture school, traditional architecture.  Immersion in minimalism and modernism, how Zach came to like traditional architecture. “Beauty” – the word. How architects reject the notion. 

12:00 – Does objective beauty really exist? Test: any person will look at it and appreciate it. Universal proportions of beauty. There’s also traditional Japanese and Chinese building. You appreciate and sense there’s something special about buildings. 

13:30 – Subjective beauty. The architects are “critical” and don’t like “nostalgia.” Architecture is ‘critical’ for a small cadre of elites, but it doesn’t mean it’s good. The public craves traditional architecture, but architects don’t know how to make it, so they mess up in buildings. 

17:00 – The culture wars. The true point of criticism: trying to improve a system rather than bringing it down. This philosophy in law schools and architecture. Subverting the status quo. All of the architecture professors are radical left wingers. Politicizing architecture – conservatives want to conserve traditional western architecture. Where are the right wingers?

21:00 – NUMTOTS,  and how they’re left wing, but they also love old school buildings! A potential bi-partisan agreement. How many (right wing) twitter pages connect architecture to ethnicity.

23:00 – Is architecture connected to culture? How so? Doesn’t this alienate people who fear that it’s racist? Also, how international students are treated differently in school. Political correctness, *ceding linguistic ground to totalitarians. Eg. Mussolini and fascism’s connection to classical architecture. 

27:30 – A solution to orthodoxy in school: raising your hand, being provocative, and this will create a safe space. 

30:00 – How architecture professors don’t really create buildings for ordinary folk – it’s usually for subversive individuals. Rowhouses. Architecture school projects have astronomical costs! What happens when architecture students go into the real world. It all boils down to money. Clients care about making buildings as cheap as possible. Before modernism, even low-income homes were beautiful. Now, modernism goes hand in hand with cheapness. 

38:00 – Classical architecture lasts for longer. Older classical buildings get repurposed because they are beautiful. Stores like WalMart are built in “disposable architecture” which isn’t made to last. It’s ironic how capitalism, which loves building cheap and crappy architecture, is reviled by modernist teachers, whose philosophy favours profit-maximization. The Laurel Packinghouse in Kelowna, and how old beautiful buildings are repurposed, perhaps because they’re universal. 

43:00 – While Zach worked in an architecture firm, his bosses said that there was nobody was there to build traditional architecture. But it’s also because they’re excluding traditional architects here in Canada. This is different from the Southern USA, where they do have a more vibrant classical architecture tradition. Wrath of Gnon comparing modernist buildings to classical buildings. Also, Christopher *Liberatos.

47:00 – Canadian standards of beauty, traditional architecture in Vancouver or Toronto. The town of lindenburg, Nova Scotia – World Heritage Site may be a solution to bring traditional architecture into Canada. Plus, using zoning laws. 

50:00 – How architecture students were harsh and abrasive towards their students. The problem – forcing the students to see the world in such convoluted and contrarian ways. Zach got the greatest praise for the most convoluted plans, even when he himself didn’t understand them. The public holds architects in contempt because nobody can understand anything. 

54:30 – Peterson and Paglia’s discussion, on the zebra and how academics are just like zebras – they try and hide from the public with a special language. You’re stupid for not getting the convoluted language of architecture. Parents should speak up and say “what is this?!” Average people should be brought in to criticize them. It’s just like “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

57:00 – The issue: modernist architects don’t even consider traditional architects to be architects!!! The latter just want a seat at the table. Palladio awards  The professors don’t even recognize the traditional architects. 

1:00:00 – Trump’s federal order There’s no room for experimentation here too. How should we bring in more traditional architecture? Conservative Parties should be supportive of traditional architecture! Britain’s report on traditional architecture. 

1:04:30 – Back to Zach’s past. He had a true calling – he’s always drawn and looked at buildings since he was very young. That’s how he knew he would be an architect. Wrath of Gnon, once again. Zach came to like classical architecture when he noticed the disconnect between public preference and architecture schools. The Alabama Courthouse built in 2012. It’s so authentic! Feeling robbed when not being shown classical architecture in school. 

1:10:00 – What’s “reinterpretation”? A project must “fit in” with the modern world. It has to “speak to” living in the modern world. Reinterpretation was basically making your art look modernistic. His thesis project – Slavic-inspired buildings.

1:14:00 – Using twitter. There’s a strong traditional architecture community on twitter. It’s a source of inspiration. Architects take older buildings as inspiration and recreate it. You see beauty and then you recreate. Modernist buildings are usually not nice. Their budgets get cut and cut and cut. You see this in windows – there’s a logic to it, a beauty to it. But on modernist buildings, windows are just stuck on. Clients want elements of traditional architecture, so you end up with these ugly hybrid buildings. For example:,-119.6063948,3a,60y,303.1h,82.77t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sJmJWMYcacPfnvsJKcjpUcg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!5m1!1e3?hl=en. It’s a “Frankenstein building.” Professors who critique students by calling them the names of building companies. These apartments don’t have authentic quality. 

1:22:00 – The process behind building buildings. What architects actually do. Multi-family residential buildings are the most common buildings. Low budgets. Developers build as cheaply as possible. Architecture should have standards of beauty. Perhaps if developers should save until they can build beautiful buildings. How city zoning could work better. How accomodating the car has ruined cities in North America, compared to European cities where the scale is to the person. 

1:26:00 – The irony behind how today, traditionalist architects are the contrarians. The avant garde is the establishment now, and this is an issue – Roger Scruton. Adrian Vermeule 9 lane highway vs a beautiful town. Conservative inc. Traditional Construction Patterns: Design and Detail – Rules of Thumb. Architects interested in traditional architecture will have to teach themselves, but the good thing is that it’s easy to understand, unlike the theoretical modernist textbooks used in architecture school.  

1:35:00 – People dropping out of architecture school because they feel like they’re not being taught something convoluted and different from what they thought architecture would be. Architects don’t build buildings – they draw the blueprints for a building. Follow Zach on Twitter

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