Oh Starchitects, How You Just Don’t Get It.

First of all, haven’t we been over this? Who has the money anymore to build these frivolous monuments to excess? Second, those of us in the real world are trying to make sustainability more attainable, more common, and most importantly, CHEAPER. Just yesterday, we posted about the sustainable nature of slums.

Here is Curbed presenting Stephen Holl’s new whatever complex in Shenzhen. HT: my friend Mike in KC, a landscape architect who specializes in green roofs, who added accurately:

A blending of greenwash and Corbusier. This is not a good direction.

But, this is the only way the self-absorbed dinosaur architects representing all that just failed know. And my firm can be part of the problem as well. Check out our website: nothing but flashy, hard to build object buildings. There is nothing more complicated ingrained into the DNA of these places than trying to be different. That is it. They are the opposite of timeless. They are fashion. And, fashions go out of style. Place IS timeless.

And the sycophants of these new, shiny objects are no better than the high schooler wearing a hat with a pot leaf on it or the college kid away from his parents for the first time that keeps all the liquor bottles of peach schnapps and boone’s farm that they finally finished and probably spent the rest of the evening praying to the porcelain Gawd. It is not cool. Get over it. It is juvenile.

There is no goal other than appealing to other architects. Other members of the cult. These are NOT our clients. Our clients are people. Our clients are cities. Our mission should be creating a better world to live and exist in. I fail to see how this is progress.

I was struck yesterday on a client tour of Addison Circle and Legacy Town Center, the moment the lay individuals “got it” when one said, “it’s amazing how many things you don’t know consciously when you’re in a place like this, but you know they’re there.”

It is good to see the majority of people get it. In the comment section:

steven ‘hole’ just keeps getting worse.

the other building that rem did, and that holl did, as well as most of the new garbage built in china nowadays, should have burned with that fire last week

the chinese motto: if it doesn’t suck, we won’t do it

Towers-in-the-Park. Hello 1961. Jane Jacobs, never heard of her.

urban planning travesty

Assuming the sun can get through Chinese smog. [ed: LOL]

This is hideous. In the pretentiousness / ugliness stakes, Steven Holl is now giving long-time front-runners like Libeskind and Eisenman a run for their money. [amen]

Believe what you want. Be as optimistic as you like. What should we care if you want to go around fooling yourself that this is anything other than bullshit. It’s your life to waste as you please.

Heavy, severe, anti-social, anti-human, scaleless, leaden, joyless, drab, prison-like, ….. these are the words that come to mind when I see this project.

And in their quasi-intellectual pretensions, these are the same words Holl’s deluded staff of poseurs will try to say are the project’s virtues. – Yes, I forgot cold, inhuman formalism has always been the stuff of great architecture … right? [ed: This commenter gets my point that this is phony intellectualism. Their language makes no sense if you really break it down. There is no real depth to this other than being different.]

China seems to becoming the dumping ground for these pseudo-theoretical piss artists like Holl and Libeskind. They get suckered into buying ideas that failed in the US. – On the plus side, at least their crap doesn’t get built here any more.

Also, when helping a friend search for a new TV, I was also struck by how the customer comments were far more helpful than the consumer reports or site editor’s comments. Despite their expertise, there was a sense of uneasiness that it could easily be corrupted or bought off by a product manufacturer; that you could no longer trust their information.

We are leaving a place of mass centralization and control by the few, to a much more democratic and meritocratic place, where companies no longer compete against others, but cooperate and conspire against the customer.

This process is the crowdsourcing of knowledge, experience, and information. This is a good thing.


Keep me up to date on the latest happenings and all that D Magazine has to offer.