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Hidden strategies

Astragal

There is little point in asking Rem about his architectural strategies, but ask one must. 'My writing isn't a confessional, nor an explanation of what we do, ' he declared. 'If I announce formally my strategies, a fair amount would fail in advance.' Nor was he prepared to confirm or deny a list of his favourite 'good guys' suggested by Alejandro, including Piranesi, Leonidev, Mies, Cedric Price etc. He did confess to having deliberately written both 'heartfelt' and 'dishonest' pieces of criticism.

However, he gave what seemed to be a completely clear answer to the killer question of the night from AZP, in discussing the Prada Tokyo store by Jacques Herzog. The question was, could architecture have an independent value which meant that a building could be a masterpiece, while also being completely dysfunctional? Long pause. 'I would have to say yes? it is one of the absurdities of architecture.' In the crude world of journalism, you might describe this position with a simple headline: 'World's top architect says useless buildings can be great'. Perhaps it was just a back-handed compliment to Herzog & de Meuron.

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