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Eastern eyes


Is the new Gold Medallist obsessed with the power and the rulers who are in a position to exercise it, Alejandro mused?

Hadn't he described George Bush Sr as having an 'aura'? On the contrary, said Rem, George Bush had no aura whatsoever, and shortly after he had met him, the president had vomited at an official dinner in Korea. On the other hand, there was no denying the connection between power and architecture in many forms (though he said he was just as curious about powerlessness). What interested him about, say, Lee Kwan Yew was the way in which he had imagined the entire state in order to arrive at ideas about its buildings; other exercisers of power included John Portman, who had produced megastructures in 'freefor-all environments'; and Jon Jerde, whose 'one-size-fits-all'work meant that the idea of public life could not be supported. At a wider level, he believed that the 'pervasiveness of the market economy'was preventing a critical position in architecture: 'You can only criticise detail.' Hence his new-found interest in communism and China.

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