Are Landmark Buildings Ruining Our Cities?

Should we care about what iconic buildings really contribute to the neighborhoods that surround them?
July 26, 2004, 1pm PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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"As competition increases, each image has to be more extraordinary and shocking in order to eclipse the last. Each new design has to be instantly memorable - more iconic. This one-upmanship was, and is, a fatuous and self-indulgent game.

Perhaps we should ask some simple questions before handing out more money and plaudits to "visionary" designers. What is the value of turning functional buildings into iconic ones? Are we simply trying too hard? Is a building's purpose compromised by its style? And what contribution does the icon make to its surroundings?"

"Although we talk of the "Bilbao effect" - how one remarkable building can change the way in which a city is perceived and boost its economy - there is little evidence to suggest that architecture in the form of a single gesture can really have such restorative powers."

Thanks to Traditional Architecture Listserv List

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Published on Monday, July 12, 2004 in The Guardian Unlimited
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