Daily Diigo Public Link 03/31/2008

by Yule Heibel on March 30, 2008

“Star Cities: The World’s Best-Known Architects are Turning to Planning” by Joan Ockman – Architect Online Annotated

tags: architecture, bilbao_effect, joan_ockman, starchitecture, urbanplanning

“Joan Ockman asks: Is a new form of urbanism emerging?”

“THE MID-TO LATE ‘90S saw the realization of several colossal redevelopment projects in which superstar architects were called upon to supply window dressing for the transformation of dysfunctional urban districts into tourist and consumer meccas, from Times Square in Manhattan to Potsdam Square in Berlin. But it was the triumphal opening of Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, in late 1997 that appeared, to architects, nothing short of a miracle. Gehry not only delivered a more optimistic, less intellectualized, and visually ravishing vision of architecture’s potential and one, moreover, that innovatively integrated but was not entirely determined by new technologies; against all odds, he showed that it was possible to regenerate an entire city with nothing more nor less than a single, singular building.”

This is an important article that has some specific relevance also for my concerns around the praxis of a local architect here in Victoria who thinks he can “envision” a certain kind of urbanism (low-rise) for this city. Should an architect be an urban planner? Can s/he be good at both? Ockham’s article suggests it ain’t necessarily so.

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