Michael Badu's Comments
Innovation, entreprenuerism, cultural revolution, change....a lot of words which usually mean not very much. This is a well written and informative article giving a view about the potential beneifts of Localism, benefits the author frames in the afore mentioned buzz words. Words / phrases framed in a negative light by the author are led by..'cold financial appraisal'. I think the author (reinforcing a stereotype about architects) has lost touch with reality and is trying to build utopia during a recession. Cold financial apprasial is what we need now more than ever! Also, even if utopia were affordable I strongly disagree with the author's vision of it. The author characterises the further fragmentation and atomisation of the built environment that could potentially result from Localism as a good thing. If there is a role for architects to play in this new era of Localism, it is as expert consutlants who have to educate and make the case for sensible, sustainable, coherent development for the benefit of all to the ordinary folk who have been given this new power, rather than as mercenary opportunists submitting to their every self interested whim (whic is an argument for architects being once again employed directly by local government). This course of action threatens to further marginalise the 'England' that Tony Benn identified as the last colony of the British Empire; an England which is the last Bastiaon of the disnfranchised white working classes who have withdrawn from all engagement feeling that they have been betrayed by the government and are not as practised or adept at lobbying for their 'rights' as their immigrant counterparts who were (seemingly) favoured during the height of multiculturalism (as is so eloquently illustrated by your photographs). More needs to be done to re-engage the white working classes than washing ones hands of it all like Pontius Pilate to save money and calling it 'Localism' And I say all this as a Black British born and educated Muslim convert registered architect, who is married to a woman who wears a hijab (before anyone thinks this is Peter Philips). I'm also surprised that the author, as an architect, has failed to mention the most important buzz word that any architect worth their salt should always be pushing for. Quality. I don't think the word is mentioned even once throughout the piece which says a lot.
Comment on: How to build a new age of beauty
Agree whole-hearedly. But just how do we achieve it when money is tight? Fine (and truthful) words are all very well but we architects have to deal with reality - which most of the time is of the economic variety - a reality that no doubt the architects of the Tricorn Centre wrestled with. The fact is that architects can only build what scoiety at any given time allows them too. All we can do is be every ready to rise to the occasion when it arrives. For quite a lot of us the occassion indeed never does arrive.
Comment on: Love it or hate it, Zaha pushes the boundaries
I think it's unfair to accuse Zaha's win of promoting the commodification of architecture (in the orginal Frampton-esque meaning of the term). She won because of the scale of the ambition of this particular work (as compared to the Neus) and (whatever the judges say) because she had been nominated 3 times before. Zaha has been remarkably consistent over decades. Certain architects who can only dream of receiving the commissions that she does always accuse her of somehow being in league with the dark forces of the world. Is she any different to Michelangelo working for the Medici? No. The fact is that architects have been 'used' for hundreds of years. Lets see if those architects who always seem to talk and write more than they build can remain as consistent should they ever receive commissions of a similar size.
Comment on: Maxxi by Zaha Hadid Architects
I really like this. If the Stirling is really about archtecture and not about sending messages, this should win!
Don't like any of them
Comment on: Thornton Heath Library, Croydon, by FAT
I hesitate to comment too much before I actually visit the place (since I can quite easily, and in fact walked past it not so long ago thinking, 'that looks like a FAT building), but I'm inclined to agree with the above comment. I do think more should be said about the interior and the furniture design which I think (from the photo's) looks really great. The new furniture works really well with the refurbished 19th century interior, not the usual blanf minimalist stuff, but characterful and well judged. Perhaps FAT's work is better suited to interiors (which is something most architects are very poor at)?
It's all about branding. It's about the image on the brochure, fee income from students (perhaps international ones - Steven Holl more of a pull than.....er....Nord & McAlslan?).
I was going to say that this was a pretty lucid defense of the pretty much indefensible, but the end of the article seemed to trail off a bit. Is it really sensible to say that only parametricism could have produced workable solutions to the Nordpark project? I think that there are a number of problems with the premise of this article. Patrik seems to be suggesting that Modernism was a style that we got bored of when in fact it was a style whose limitations began to be understood (cold bridging, leaky rooves, aesthetic poverty in the eyes of lay-people. Modernism was also not really a style; it was an attempt to get to grips with the technological and economic fall out from the industrial revolution. If Parametircsm is a 'proper' (epochal in Patrik's words) style rather than a transitional one (like PoMo or Decon) then it has to be borne of a similar urgent necessity to the one that gave rise to Modernism in my humble opinion. Now I'm no tree hugging eco-warrior, but global warming,as well as the scarcity of fuel and materials is the only 'thing' going in my opinion that compares, in terms of urgency and universality, to the industrial revolution which spawned Modernsim (which is neat because the Industrial Revolution and the Sustainability question are two sides of a very big coin). If we accept that this is indeed the case, then we have to look at the likes of BedZED, the works of people like Baumschlager Eberle, Konrad Frey, The Vales and other Sustainability pioneers as the real harbingers of an epochal style. Parametricsm then turns out to be just another style (and I really like the Nordpark scheme actually) best suited to the high end 'Formula 1' type of market. In fact I think that Zaha Hadid should design the next F1 racing venue if they haven't done so already because that seems to me to be a magnificent fit