More on streamlining
Continuing on Streamline Moderne....
It's generally recognized that the style
of streamlining in the '30s had little to do with real streamlining. If minimum air friction is the only goal, you can get there with squarish forms,
and the most visually pleasing rounded shapes are actually worse
for air drag. It's all about details and angles, and it's mostly trial and error.
The streamline style
accomplished one BIG and natural goal, as a side-effect of the curvy purpose.
Streamlining placed everything inside the cell wall.
I covered this point in terms of cars and radios here.
Cars and radios began as ungainly collections of pieces mounted on the OUTSIDE of a box. Streamlining pulled all the pieces INSIDE the box. When Loewy or Bel Geddes streamlined office machinery like typewriters and mimeographs, the same inward-movement happened. Mechanisms were protected from dust, ashes and coffee. Secretaries were protected from oil and ink. BORDER CONTROL. MODULARITY.
Pulling all the working parts inside an envelope is Nature's way.
Keep all functions inside a WALL, with minimal openings for inputs and outputs and controls.
When applied to houses, Streamline Moderne failed to resonate with Natural Law. SM added some curves, but curves are NOT optimal
for containing the necessary functions of a house. A curved wall means you can keep less stuff inside. SM used flat roofs instead of pitched roofs, again failing the basic purpose of a BOUNDARY in that direction. Pitched roofs exclude snow and rain with much less effort and maintenance than flat roofs.
Older forms of architecture had already reached optimal containment. SM intentionally violated
the experimentally determined forms, with predictably bad results.
Labels: defensible spaces