Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Plugging away...

Just thought I'd plug this month's contributions to ICON. I've written about the new Morphosis building in China. It's strange; when I was an undergraduate I got really into the deconstructivist lot, which even then was pretty retro, but I was intellectually fascinated by it all. Before I'd read enough to call him out as a dipstick, I thought that Eisenman was spot on (and even now, I'd be prepared to mount a defence of 'House X' and the 'Guardiola House', and possibly a few others, despite him), and I had the typical egotistical architecture student's infatuation with Zaha Hadid style-extravagance. Not so high on my esteem list were Gehry and Thom Mayne, but nowadays they're the ones actually deserving respect, partly because they are both constructors who show their working, as it were, and partly because they're not half as pretentious as the other late-80s lot. The 'Giant Group Campus' by Morphosis is another of those sprawling suburban corporate centres in China, much like Steven Holl's Vanke Centre, which I also wrote about last year. Think of an out of town business park with ambition and a budget, and you're almost there - a typology that doesn't seem to have much of a correspondence in Europe any more.

I also write about Foster, for the first time in a non-academic/historical context. They've built a zero-energy building in Abu Dhabi which they are all obviously very pleased with as it resonates with the technocratic Bucky Fuller-esque dreams that Foster started out with before he became the corporate architect of choice, and before he made the airport typology his own.

And finally, I have reviewed Patrik Schumacher's Autopoiesis of Architecture. I've been writing a more full critique for the blog, but I haven't been able to finish it yet due to work commitments. I promise I will try, although people have insinuated that perhaps I am the only person who would have actually bothered to read the book even if they weren't reviewing it.

There's also some great writing from Sam Jacob, Nina Power, Will Wiles, Kieran Long & Charles Holland, and features on Ai Weiwei, Olafur Eliasson & Dan Graham. Worth the price, I reckon.

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