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.

I HATE THESE MAGAZINES.

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.

Daily Prompt: Share the Love

Tell us about another blogger who has influenced your own online journey.

image courtesy of treehugger.com

image courtesy of treehugger.com

I’ve actually talked about this before, but recently I’ve had conversations with other architects about their “favorite” architects. I’m always a little surprised that so many architects out there in my own “bracket” (i.e. age and level of professional development), if you will, are still so drawn to the Starchitect class for their role models in the profession. I had always assumed that we’d grow out of that after college, but it seems this assumption was incorrect.

In college I was always drawn to the work of Le Corbusier, Mies van de Rohe, Richard Meier and even Daniel Liebeskind. What drew me to their work was the simplicity, experimentation and honesty of structure and form. Though in Liebeskind’s case it was the sheer insanity of his work that was amazing.

And even after college, at the beginning of my career I continued to try and emulate these architects in my work. I quickly learned that the flashy Starchitect class of architecture is just that – flashy. It’s pretty. It’s shiny. It gets attention. But there are more important questions to ask when deciding what is and is not good architecture. Anyone can be a good designer and get their picture taken. There’s enough software out there to turn any idea into a great image. It takes real experience and real talent to be a great architect. And the great architects that I know and love are not on the covers of magazines, they don’t give national news interviews. Hell, you may not even know who they are or where they practice.

Below is a short list of the few architects that I truly look up to. Not because their work is flashy or shiny or pretty but because it’s GOOD. Their work is thoughtful in terms of design, client needs, construction and budget. They’re not all bloggers, but most are. I hope you’ll check out their work and appreciate them as much as I do.

Bob Borson – Life of an Architect
Lee Calisti – Calisti Architecture + Design
Jason Fisher and Greg Beere – Content Design Group
Nick Renard – Cote Renard Architecture
Keith Palma – Cogitate Design
Aaron Ruby – Ruby Architects
Robert Swinburne – Swinburne Architects