but some of the architects who worked primarily in theory, writing and unbuilt designs are now at the forefront of contemporary architecture.
Quite the case I agree with you on that.
people like zaha hadid, stephen holl, daniel libeskind or un studio are the Mies' and Corbs of our time.
But who is the Louis Kahn or James Stirling of today? Where have all the cowboys gone?
again this not a discussion on whether libeskind is a good architect or not.
I am starting to warm a bit more now to his Ground Zero entry, although I havenâ€™t seen any other entries, and the graphics I have on his entry are quiet sketchy at best. But I think I have some idea what he is doing â€“ the bit I do like is the circular pathways linking the scheme to the rest of the city blocks, over a busy motorway etc, etc. I would love to see that one built. But again, how long does in take, in timescale terms to realize a Daniel Libeskind project? I mean, isnâ€™t Architecture one of the few cases where guys can go on improving well past their thirties and forties?
I mean, on James point there about producing lots and lots of unbuilt designs â€“ I am reminded about Frank Llyod Wright designing thousands of â€˜children of the imaginationâ€™ as he called them. While only struggling with fights with many of his clients, the Morrisâ€™s I think, and a fellow called Jonson, to actually build the 120 or so masterly houses he did build, right up until he was 91 years of age in the 1950s! I mean, it is very interesting to notice how he started building in the 1890s for a totally different world and client, than he built for in the 1920s in LA, or later on for Usonia in the 1940s and so forth.
There was someone who was impossible to work with, because his own son and RM Schindler got next to no thanks. He was a brilliant draughtsman and interested in the actual building technology for his houses. One of his favourite materials ended up being concrete, or 'the gutter rat', 'an architectural outcast' as he called it! Yet despite having great talent working for him, and having all the goods necessary to be a good Architect himself â€“ he still had to work exceptionally hard to leave us with that great repetitoire of buildings which find their way into hundreds of coffee table books even today.
But when I read this:
now im not suggesting that we should all hold back from building just because no client will build exactly as we think is right. i am just arguing that theory and new ideas (not just in built form) are the cornerstone (yes i see the irony) of development in any field. to be dismissive of new and possibly complex thoughts completely in favour of pure pragmatism is extremely short-sighted.
I am also reminded of Frank Llyod Wright and all of his essays about the elimination of walls, of the roof becoming a canopy, of space flowing, or wall being flexible, the beauty of the horizontal and space as an object. I mean Frank Llyod Wright did a most awful amount of bullshitting too, in his time, and struggled to come out of very lean periods, where jobs where hard to find. Yet he managed to come out now and again and build really revolutionary pieces of Architecture, which could be seen indeed, as physical manisfestations of his own theories, R&D or whatever you wish to call it. He was into climatic Architecture and ecological design before the terms were ever even invented.
So I suppose in those terms, one can look back over the decades of Architectural design and realised works by O'Donnell and Tuomey, Bolles Wilson, or any other well known significant Architects, and in contrast to Anthony Reidy perhaps - there is that extra strand of thought about Architecture, continuing on through their repetitoire. That is to say, Anthony Reidy 1970, isn't hugely dissimilar to Anthony Reidy 2003! :-) Poor ould Tony is taking quite a bashing here!
Brian O' Hanlon.