Even 'Starchitects' Need a Good Pitch to Win

'Starchitects' compete for prime real estate in New York City, and selling their stuff isn’t as easy as one might think. See four famous architects in action as they pitch designs for a new office tower on Park Avenue.

2 minute read

December 15, 2012, 5:00 AM PST

By Erica Gutiérrez


“You've seen them posing in magazines, performing in lecture theatres and maybe even shouting across the office. But it is unlikely you've ever sat behind a boardroom table and given Richard Rogers, Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas or Norman Foster a grilling,” writes Oliver Wainwright.

The pressure was on in “one of the most high-profile competitions in recent years” with designs for a new tower for L&L Holding Company on Park Avenue in New York. It will be the first full tower built there in years, next to iconic buildings such as Mies van der Rohe's Seagram building, says Wainwright. And in the article you can glimpse the presentations from each design team to compare how they rose, or shrank, from the challenge.  

According to Wainwright, though the other design submissions may be just as interesting, and perhaps even more innovative than Foster’s classic approach, the architects failed to deliver in their presentations and attention to detail, not knowing exact dimensions, for example, and relying on power points to sell their proposals.

Alternatively, Wainwright asserts, Foster comes out ahead “because he is one of the few principals of a practice this size with the ability to give the impression of having a personal grasp of every detail of the scheme.” And as they say, "the devil is in the details"-- which is, ironically, a phrase attributed to none other than Mies van der Rohe himself. 

Editor's Note: Soon after this article was posted, the videos were removed from public view. We're glad to see they've been reposted.

Monday, November 19, 2012 in The Guardian U.K.

Aerial view of homes on beach in Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii Passes First Legislation Regulating Short-Term Rentals Statewide

The new law will give counties the power to limit number or short-term rentals and convert existing short-term rental units back into long-term residential housing.

May 13, 2024 - USA Today

Google office building in Virginia.

Virginia Data Centers Draining State’s Water Supply

Being the world’s largest data center hub is having a severe impact on local water resources.

May 9, 2024 - Grist

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state.

Northwest Power Demand Could Surge as Data Centers, Transportation Electrification Ramps Up

New estimates project a steady increase in electricity demand due to population growth, data centers, and the shift to electric power in homes, buildings, and transportation.

May 17 - Governing

Blurred traffic speeding by on freeway with Los Angeles skyline in background.

California Testing Per-Mile Gas Tax Alternatives

A summer pilot program will test the fairness and efficacy of collection mechanisms for mileage-based fee options.

May 17 - Newsweek

Close-up of 'Pay rent' note in red marker on day 1 of monthly calendar.

After Months of Decreases, Rents Nationwide Are Going Up

Average rents rose by $12 around the country so far this year.

May 17 - Smart Cities Dive

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.