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Op-Ed Critiques Architecture: from 'Infinitesimal Specks' to 'Sprawling Dreck'

Steven Bingler and Martin C. Pedersen pen a withering critique of the architecture profession's obsession with glamorous contracts at the expense of context-sensitive, community-focused designs.
December 17, 2014, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Writing an op-ed for the New York Times, Steven Bingler and Martin C. Pedersen identify several negative consequences for the state of the architecture profession.

The problem, according to the article, arises from the profession's obsession with grand artistic statements by "starchitects": "The problem isn’t the infinitesimal speck of buildings created by celebrity architects (some arresting, some almost comic in their dysfunction), but rather the distorting influence these projects have had on the values and ambitions of the profession’s middle ranks."

The op-ed identifies the consequences as architecture becomes a cultural sideshow for the wealthy: "We seem increasingly incapable, however, of creating artful, harmonious work that resonates with a broad swath of the general population, the very people we are, at least theoretically, meant to serve." The inability to serve most people incurs costs at incredible scales, according to the op-ed. "In the meantime, we’ve ceded the rest of the built environment to hacks, with sprawl and dreck rolling out all around us."

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Published on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 in New York Times
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