The Starchitect Debate Continues: Locatecture, Public Art, and Branding
Earlier this week, James S. Russell's blog post made it into Architizer, spurring more conversation around starchitecture and American cities. This topic has received much fanfare, kicked off by, "the Times running a starchitecture story by author and emeritus professor Witold Rybcynski. That story led to a 'Room for Debate' forum offering a variety of solicited points of view, and another more recent forum in which the Times asked readers to respond to a thoughtful letter by Peggy Deamer."
In his piece, Russell critiques current debate surrounding celebrity-architecture skepticism, by insisting that, "architecture is a public art. No architect can build a spectacular museum, concert hall, or skyscraper without a client willing to underwrite it, a city willing to permit it, and a public that wants it." However, many cities stifle unique architectural expression due to "an endless public process that tries (impossibly) to please everybody. These cities have mostly driven out homegrown talent because they are never hired," leading to architects' reliance on national or international jobs.
Russell also stabs the notion that celebrity architecture is a franchise. Indeed, he believes it is a form of branding, as "branding is repellently ubiquitous, and it is pure romanticism to think architecture can escape a trend that so powerfully guides spending."