Abandon modern architecture (opinion)


By Justin Nguyen

Architecture is significant in society. We should be more considerate about how it affects our lifestyles in Hawaii.

Justin Nguyen, reporter

Modern architecture in Hawaii includes the IBM building and Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort’s Rainbow Tower, both of which opened in the 1960’s They have a huge impact on citizens and we should be aware of their effects.

This form of architecture follows the philosophy of “form follows function” and aims to remove unnecessary details in a minimalistic fashion. If a feature does not add function to the architecture, it’s likely to be eliminated to stay true to the modern architecture philosophy.  The main characteristics of modern architecture include attempting to expose the true nature of natural materials rather than trying to change it to make it look better. It also emphasizes the use of horizontal and vertical lines.

This form of architecture is ugly. It’s essentially an eyesore. This might be subjective evidence since some people can find different things better looking than others also known as “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. However, we can get objective beauty standards through philosophizing. Let’s examine philosophers. Thomas Aquinas, a popular philosopher, proposes that the main factors of objective beauty are “integritas, claritas, and consonantia” which is Latin for integrity, clarity, and composition or harmony. Integrity means its ability to not be deficient of itself, clarity means it should clearly display human reasoning and intelligence, and composition means it should be composited of parts that correspond well with physical objects or a metaphysical means. Aristotle’s philosophy would add to the last part by that metaphysical means should imitate nature. Modern architecture is not likely to imitate nature. Its emphasis on being squarish and having low detail does not reflect how most of nature is very detailed and not emphasized on being rectangular or cubed. With this in mind, we can argue that if one’s goal is to have a beautiful environment, then modern architecture wouldn’t help meet that goal. If we want Hawaii to look better, then modern architecture and its architectural philosophy should be halted.

The modern-day style of architecture also leads to a negative effect on its environment. Modern architecture usually correlates with higher light pollution. Our Planet compared the night sky of a city to the night sky of the countryside. They notice that stars and other night sky parts that one would see with the naked eye are less visible in cities. Light pollution is often a result of the overuse of light. Modern architecture often takes advantage of artificial light in many instances other than for seeing more clearly in the dark. According to The Decorative Surfaces, artificial light is often used for aesthetic purposes, compliance with state-enforced light minimums, or to help the consumer feel comfortable in the space by making an unattractive space into a more attractive one. Aesthetic based artificial lighting and comfortability based artificial lighting wouldn’t be necessary in the first place if people replaced that lighting with details to the building rather than attaching a light source to it. Both can do the job of helping the aesthetic however having detailed buildings create less light pollution. According to Numbeo, the light pollution rate in Hawaii is currently moderate. If we continue using unnecessary artificial lights such as the IBM building, this problem may worsen.

It’s not something that an everyday person thinks about that, but architecture is significant in society. We should be more considerate about how it affects our lifestyles in Hawaii.