Boring, boring, boring

March 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

So, the shortlist for the Mies van der Rohe award 2011 is out. Those who were enjoying the current moralistic stretch of rants against archistars will be sorely disappointed. It’s good old archistars all over, with household names such as Zaha Hadid, Bernard Tschumi, and Jean Nouvel heading the list.

I was considering writing something about this Mies award, but frankly, the shortlist is simply nothing to write home about. So let’s quit this incredibly boring and unproductive discussion on archistars. Anyway, as the Mies shortlist has underlined, we will never get rid of them. They’re out there, they build, they are wonderfully understandable for the general public. If a pretty prestigious award resorted to nominating the “same old, same old” of architecture, this only means two things.

First, it’s the market. Meaning: wake up, architecture is always an offspring of power. The Pritzker awarded to Glenn Murcutt was a casual deviation into politically correctness – and such deviations never really last, as power is hardly politically correct by nature.

And second, those who think they are outside the market, they’re even more boring in their puritanism than iconmakers are. And yes, the reference to the 2010 Venice Biennale is totally intended.

PS: I have visited both the MAXXI in Rome and the Acropolis Museum in Athens, and much as I would like to say that they are monstrosities, these two buildings are neither better nor worse than many others. They have flaws – some of which are the result of choices that predated even the respective competition briefs. They have some positive aspects – some of which maybe are unintentional. They do not exactly live up to the expectations of the two capitals of the classical world, but, let’s be frank, they are not really that disgusting.

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