Re: Re: Sam Stephenson Old 1980s Documentary on RTE

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It is interesting to note, in the documentary how Frank McDonald and Ms. Farrell from Grafton Architects speak a lot about the urban context. But none of them manage to express the cultural and information context of the times. Because Sam Stephenson, in how we understand the man, is as much a creation of the media as he is of architecture. The media needed a singular individual to become the STAR-chitect or the enfant terrible, depending on how you look at it. It isn’t fair to say Sam Stephenson did not respect the existing urban environment, when he dovetailed perfectly with the existing cultural context. In many ways, the public as their voice grew stronger felt the urge to take a dig at modern architecture, and created Sam Stephenson as a straw man to knock down.

It is hard to blame Sam Stephenson for being the way he was at that time. If Sam had worked in any other creative industry at the time, such as advertising, TV or Radio, journalism or movie making – Sam would have been a role model. But architecture was never suited this ‘point to many’ approach. In the end, the architecture of Stephenson would look inappropriate, but the twentieth century was a time and a place which produced many figures like him. I think it is important to understand, the Sam was only applying an approach towards creative production, which was very common in the twentieth century in all of the other creative industries. I hate to use the word ‘creative’ as it means basically nothing, but I only use it to convey a simple point.

Brian O’ Hanlon.

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