Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Starchitect talks sense?

Frank Gehry blogs for the Guardian about designing a new Guggenheim for Abu Dhabi.

The talking sense part? This paragraph:
"I'm really excited by the level of intelligent engagement by the local leaders in Abu Dhabi although there's still a big discussion to be had about the planning of new buildings. What they want from the architecture, by me, by Zaha Hadid and others, is a "string of pearls", stretching to the water to form a new "cultural quarter" to attract tourists; but, there's a bit of tendency to want a nice new building from each of us without enough thought about how they'll all hang together. I'd like to be more involved in the urban planning, but that's a lot to ask; you can't just say, especially when you've just arrived, hey, I'd like to redo your city."
So often it appears that these starchitects don't have enough concern for context. Or perhaps they're not allowed to. I suspect the practices are handed a plot and have very little input on its surroundings. We see that in competitions we've entered at work - someone else has done the masterplan and we get given a plot number to design a building for (especially with housing developments).

Gehry ought to be concerned about the setting of his building. A poor setting will detract from it and poor access will deter visitors. His client won't be happy.

1 comment:

Alice said...

Personally, I love Gehry's stuff, where-ever it is. How many of us indeed have any control over where our clients buy their plots? Don't we all just have to put it where we're told?