Wednesday23 July 2014

Vanity Fair reveals vanity voting behind list of best modern buildings

From: News Junkie

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We all know that architects are far too serious to give any weight to an article in a glossy magazine. But Vanity Fair’s survey to find the most important piece of architecture built since 1980 has got tongues wagging both in the US and Europe.


The winner? Frank Gehry’s Bilbao of course. In fact the list of runners up is mostly filled with the usual contenders – Foster’s HSBC building, Zumthor’s Thermal Baths, Piano’s Menil Collection, Herzog & de Meuron’s Bird’s Nest Stadium, Koolhaas’ Seattle Library. So far, so dull.


But Vanity Fair hasn’t just asked the usual bunch of critics. No, the esteemed title has thrown some serious weight behind its survey. Among the 52 people asked to contribute are 11 Pritzker prize winners and some of the architecture world’s most influential figures.


Some of them voted for their friends, some for themselves and some voted for nobody at all, deeming every post 1980s building a waste of time.


Among the latter is Hank Dittmar, eponymous head of the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, which pretty much confirms everything News Junkie always suspected about his views on modern architecture despite his diplomatic statements to the contrary. Also in this category is Leon Krier, critic Martin Filler and James Stewart Polshek of Polshek Partnership Architects in New York.


Meanwhile Peter Eisenmann only nominated one building – Le Corbusier’s St Pierre Church at Firminy – dubbing everything else “all PM junk”.


Tadao Ando, Steven Holl, Richard Meier, Daniel Libeskind, Cesar Pelli, Wolf D. Prix, Bernard Tschumi and Rafael Vinoly were among those who perhaps took the magazine’s title a little too seriously and voted for their own buildings.


In a rare moment of public camaraderie, Britain’s best known architects Norman Foster and Richard Rogers voted for each other. And both got the nod from Zaha Hadid. See, we told you it was an impressive list of voters…


The full list of architects and scholars who took part and all the winners are available on the Vanity Fair website.


To comlpiment the survey, Vanity Fair has a a rather entertaining piece on Gehry by Matt Tyrnauer in which Renzo Piano reveals that “Frank is good friends with my 10-year-old boy Giorgino. They are good friends because they are the same mental age.”


It also reveals that Gehry, whose company Gehry Technologies has created some of the most advanced architectural software, "still doesn't know how to use a computer except to throw it at somebody."

The Bilbao Guggenheim by Frank Gehry

Source: MykReeve on Wikimedia

The Bilbao Guggenheim by Frank Gehry

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