architectural rant

Ok. So I get into the office this morning and there is a brand new stack of magazines in my inbox to read….or rather to add to the other stack of magazines that I still haven’t read. Included are the latest copies of Arch Record and Architect. On the cover are the latest and greatest shiny projects for all us monkeys to drool over.


Seriously. I can not stand the over dramatization of architectural design and the friggin “Starchitect”. For the record, I do not like the work of Billie Tsien or Santiago Calatrava or Daniel Liebeskind or Frank Gehry or any of the other shiny new up and comers out there. Anyone, and I mean anyone, can design a great building when they have no real budget. When you’re spending over $1,000 per square foot on a project everything looks good. Why? Because it’s the best of whatever is out there. No expense is spared.

What architecture do I enjoy, you ask? REAL architecture. Architecture that has a budget, a real budget, of $250 per square foot or less. These are real projects. Real architects have designed them. Real architects have poured their heart and soul into creating a good work of architecture that will perform according to the client’s needs, stand the test of time and still maintain the project budget and schedule. THAT is successful architecture. THAT is architecture that should be celebrated in magazines and at award ceremonies.

Ugh. Ok. I’m done. Rant over.

9 thoughts on “architectural rant

  1. I have had that same rant many times. Good post.

    Sounds like an opportunity for a new magazine, or at least a curated web magazine.

    Sean J. Tobin, AIA, NCARB LEED AP+ BD&C, GGP, GPCP Architect & Sustainability Consultant 4929 Brookhurst Place Raleigh, NC 27609 919-518-3677


    • Thanks, Sean. That’s not a bad idea. I may have to look in to what it would take to put together my own magazine and showcase REAL architecture. You might be on to something. πŸ™‚
      Thanks for the comments! It’s great to know I’m not the only one ranting out there. πŸ˜›

  2. I actually laughed out loud. I do like the work of TWBTA but other than that I’ve said those same words so many times.

    It’s really no different that Cosmopolitan Magazine or the food magazines or any other magazine that says “you can look like this”—NOT. I find Architectural Digest to be most offensive and I’m afraid ones like Dwell who started with a really good mission are falling prey to the same temptations and desires.

    Shame. I agree with Sean, start our own magazine…but would we fall victim too?

    • I would not fall victim. At least I haven’t fallen victim in my own tastes over the last 10 years. If anything I’ve pulled more and more away from the “shiny and new” over the years and actively seek out real architects doing real work.
      I’m liking this magazine idea more and more. Some real research may have to be done soon. πŸ™‚

  3. I’d still like to see the shiny fashion object of the day, they make me laugh. However, I’m more interested in the no-name architects and what they’re doing. I’ve seen the starchitect’s work and know what they’re doing, they did it on the last project the mag published…and let’s not get started on the quantity of ads in these publications.

  4. When I see the buildings you are talking about, I feel the same way – but from an engineer’s and owner’s view. Who has the budget for these monstrosities? What does it take to make them work structurally and mechanically? During construction how many change orders are written to cover stuff that had to be unforeseen and not adequately covered in the plans.

    I always imagine some egotistical “Starchitect” waving his arms around while presenting his renderings to an audience of ooohs and aaahhs at some wine and cheese party. Of course he never gives credit to his staff for doing all the details, finding the products, reviewing the shop drawings and so on. There is also the remainder of the team that make this work, the engineers that design the structure, HVAC and electric, the contractor, the subs, and the suppliers that all team together and make it work. Yet the Starchitect always is portrayed as building the whole thing by himself.

    Sorry, but I had to add my own part to the rant.


  5. You’re preaching to the choir, Jeremiah, and I’m shouting, “Amen!”
    (I posted this on LinkedIn for good measure.)

    My proposition is that “Architecture Holds a Thousand Stories” ~ that our profession is a closed book to our society and culture. So the idea of a magazine to tell the untold stories of real architects producing real architecture for real clients is right up my alley!

    I’m working to develop my novel-crafting skills, but if I can help with this magazine, please let me know.

    Collier Ward
    Architectural Storyteller

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