Planning with the Starchitects

Architects are not just architects anymore. Now they are planners, too, and some high profile projects all over the world show that this trend is likely to continue.

"Famous architects are no longer just in the business of designing signature buildings. They are also increasingly functioning as megascale planners, hand in glove with the biggest developers in the world and with local municipalities, usually with both."

"Daniel Libeskind is at work on a 4.5-million-square-foot, "skyline-creating" waterfront development in Busan, South Korea; a master plan with office towers, condominiums, a hotel, and a cultural institute for a three-mile development corridor south of the historic center of Copenhagen, Denmark; and a huge shopping and entertainment center on the west side of Bern, Switzerland, scheduled for completion this year and boasting a hyperactive menu of amenities such as a theme-park swimming pool, a movieplex, and a senior citizens' residence. In Morocco, Jean Nouvel is projecting a 345-acre low-rise, high-density suburb of Rabat, as well as a new port complex in Tangier."

"Norman Foster has been retained as master planner for the historic center of Duisburg, a deindustrialized city in Germany's Ruhr Valley where he previously completed a renewal project for the inner harbor. He is also working on the first of a series of five hill towns for 15,000 residents on the Black Sea in Bulgaria and a car-free, waste-free, carbon-neutral "green utopia" for 50,000 in Abu Dhabi."

Full Story: Star Cities




oh great, last time prominent architects did urban plans we got pruitt-igoe and urban renewal.

yippee! more cold and impersonal, out of scale neighborhoods of glass and exposed concrete object buildings that try to rethink how humans live.

The Cliches Of The Starchitects

The strange thing is that the starchitects often repeat the same towers-in-the-park cliche that was used as the design of most of the failed urban renewal projects. It amazes me that they can claim to be the avant-garde wave of the future, when they are actually repeating an urban design that was avant garde in the 1920s, that was the conventional wisdom in the 1950s, and that has been discredited since the 1960s. How can they be so ignorant of urban design? See some pictures an commentary at

Charles Siegel

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