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Deader Than Disco: Architecture

  • Art Nouveau style had appeared practically overnight and flourished throughout the early 1900s, swept Europe from end to end, and died just before World War One, never to be fully revived but rather to influence and evolve into Art Deco. It remained so different than either its immediate predecessors or modern styles that in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy of the 2000s it has been chosen to depict Elven architecture, specifically because they were supposed to be different from Men in tastes and way of thinking. The Other Wiki notes that "... it was inspired by natural forms and structures, not only in flowers and plants but also in curved lines", which would also fit nicely with the perception of Elves as more in tune with nature.
  • Art Deco (Art Moderne during the 1920s), with its symmetrical and futuristic designs, was popular and widespread throughout the world during The Roaring Twenties and the 1930s, influencing everything from skyscrapers to furniture to fashion. After the Depression lifted during the late 30s and as World War II broke out, it declined, and its style didn't help out much during the war. During the 1960s, it was revived due to a resurgence of interest.
    • A New Yorker cartoon circa 1980 says, "Do you realize we're living through the second time people got tired of Art Deco?"
  • Mid-20th Century Modern (often jokingly referred to as "Brady Bunch Architecture") was derided for many decades. Only in very recent times has it begun to be admired. It had been invented and perfected throughout an age which barely escaped from World War One to plunge itself in another war, an age that struggled with either mass poverty of the Great Depression or simply poverty during the Civil Rights clashes, where the cleanly designed majestic buildings were aimed to create a sense of hope - they came right from the future as people envisioned it. Not incidentally, in the form derived from Art Deco above, they were enormously popular throughout the Eastern Bloc and newly-decolonized countries, where they came to be derided as "Stalinist Architecture". A lesser known fact is the country which admires it most and fights to implement it wherever possible is North Korea — easy to guess why. Once the people began to realize the gigantic glass areas are very poor heat insulators and climate control systems built with no regard to environmental advantages are terrible energy eaters, the style began to subtly change to incorporate modern materials and building techniques.
  • The "McMansion" style, with its soaring ceilings, open plans, enormous rooms, and enough square footage to comfortably hold one of those huge families from a TLC reality show, was an incredibly popular style of American home construction from the late 20th century up through around 2005-07. But in the wake of the late '00s recession, those same attributes made the costs of heating and cooling them prohibitive for a great many people. The fact that most McMansions were built in exurbs located up to an hour's drive or more from the nearest major city — and where land was cheap enough to put them within financial reach of people who weren't named Trump or Kardashian — also hurt them when gasoline stopped being cheap. (Such exurbs themselves often found themselves going from boom towns to dying towns virtually overnight.) Finally, McMansions made up a majority of the houses foreclosed upon during the subprime mortgage crash, as their sheer size often made them too expensive for most people to purchase without a loan.


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