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Who’s Your Architect?

By March 31, 2008

Quick, name the architect of your building. Do you know who the architect is? Would your friends know who your architect is even if you did?

Two weekends ago, yes I’m that far behind on dead tree reading, the New York Times had an article titled, Nice Tower! Who’s Your Architect?

Be sure to also check out the slideshow.

Makes you think about the lack of good design here in Seattle and how far behind we are even when you look at the buildings to be built through 2010. Off the top of my head there are only a few truly good designs built or in planning:

Mosler Lofts

5th and Madison

Trophy Building

And the last one isn’t even built yet! And I’m sorry but clicking copy, then paste, then mirroring vertically does not make for striking architecture (sorry Heron and Pagoda and every other twin tower project planned in Seattle.)

The NYT article not just points out the good exteriors in New York but challenges the lack of interior design:

This external bravura, however, makes the mind-numbing conventionality of their interiors so much more disappointing. As a rule, most of the architectural fireworks in these buildings tend to stop at the lobby, and there are no compelling ideas about how social spaces should be organized. The interiors of these buildings could have been designed by real-estate marketers, and in many cases they more or less were.

We of course suffer from the same problem in Seattle. The greatest invention we’ve had since stainless steel and granite is open one bedrooms. Of course Eleven Eleven will challenge this with their sliding puzzle wall but I don’t think that’s the type of social space re-organization that the NYT is talking about. When will the developers push the marketers aside and build something innovative?

But maybe it doesn’t matter if your friends don’t know who your architect is because they wouldn’t know even good design from bad.

Urbnlivn nostalgia: One of my first Urbnlivn posts asked, When will Seattle get a ’starchitect’ designed condo? Two years later we’re still waiting.