Starchitecture is Dead

Columnist Blair Kamin says that the Obama presidency puts a nail in the coffin of starchitecture, and introduces an age of sustainable buildings and an emphasis on infrastructure.
January 27, 2009, 7am PST | Tim Halbur
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"Rarely do events so boldly bracket the death of one design era and the dawning of another as they have in recent days. On Jan. 14, the developer of a kilometer-high skyscraper in the Persian Gulf playground of Dubai announced he was shelving the project, the mixed-use Nakheel Tower, which would have been as tall as three John Hancock Centers stacked atop one another.

Then, six days later, Obama issued his blueprint for recovery: The nation 'will act-not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth,' he said. 'We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.'

With the Nakheel Tower, the Chicago Spire and other wannabe icons stopped dead in their tracks and with the new president shining a spotlight on anonymous but essential public works, it's clear that the deepening recession has brought us to something more than just a pause. It's looking more like a pivot point. Or at least it could be if Obama delivers on his promise to reshape the contours of our metropolitan areas as well as revive the economy."

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Published on Saturday, January 24, 2009 in Chicago Tribune
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