|Starchitects prints from PrairieMod Store|
|Frank Lloyd Wright|
Since the word "starchitect" is really a slang word I thought the Urban Dictionary would be a good place to go for the definition. Here it is:
"The supermodel of building architects who is well-known by the mainstream and whose work often appears in architecture magazines. He is often commissioned large public projects due to his fame, and typically applies his stylistic signature to all his buildings regardless of the characteristics of the surrounding site and/or neighborhood."
|Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao|
|Frank Gehry on The Simpsons|
|Documentary on Frank Gehry|
When Life and Arts columnist Peter Aspden began a recent interview with Gehry, the architect fired a shot across the bow, stating "You are not going to call me a *%#^ 'starchitect'! I hate that." In fact, most starchitects find the term irritating. And most architects share a sentiment expressed by Laura Iloniemi in the blog ArchDaily, who said, "Stardom in the sense of celebrity does not help the cause of architecture." Others think that once architects reach the status of starchitects, they are given an edge in acquiring high profile commissions, further distancing themselves from the field. Some have even insisted that architects extinguish the word from our lexicon.
I have a dissenting opinion. I would argue that the public recognition that comes through fame promotes discussion in the public arena and raises the profession of architecture. No doubt the resulting perception of architecture is inaccurate and incomplete, but at least architecture is part of the public discourse. Why should an architect who has reached star status be treated any differently than stars in theatre, acting, or singing. These stars are recognized by their colleagues through valued awards, such as the Tonys, Oscars, or Grammys. The artists receiving the awards were sometimes established stars but occasionally it was the award that propelled them to star status. The public celebrates the winners of these awards and the artists' careers get an instant boost. Architecture has a similar recognition, the Pritzker Prize. But for some reason architects want to pretend that the winners are not stars, and don't think that these architects should be treated any differently than their mainstream colleagues. Further, many architects claim that this fame should not be a topic of popular discourse because it somehow degrades architecture. I fail to follow the rationale.
The purpose of the Pritzker Prize, as expressed on its website, is:
"To honor a living architect/s whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture."
|Shigeru Ban at Port-au-Prince|
|Hualin Temporary Elementary School|
There is a lot that goes into becoming a successful architect, but I think I've narrowed it down to three primary things. That will be the focus of the next post: Swim, Bike, Run.