Message - Re: ArchWeek - Piano's Hermès Tokyo

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Posted by  Paul Malo on September 11, 2002 at 12:54:20:

In Reply to:  ArchWeek - Piano's Hermès Tokyo posted by Kevin Matthews on September 11, 2002 at 00:04:50:

Piano's minimalist trend seems hopeful, as a sort of classicist antidote to the frenetic expressionism of some of his contemporaries. Piano's forthcoming New York Times building should further persuade us about the promise of this direction, which seeks elegance as economy of means.

A caveat, however: Lever House, when it first appeared in the context of brick apartment buildings on Park Avenue, was stunning in contrast. When adjoing buildings adopted the glass curtain wall, much of the Lever building's eloquence was lost in the reflective blur. Similarly, imagine that the SONY building across the street from Hermès had a similar, quasi-monolithic surface, and as did other buildings in the neighborhood. The propspect is a bit freightening, isn't it?

Designs may be effective in an initial, given context--but when conditions change, the value of the work may diminish. We tend to respond to new buildings according to how they work in a given situation. They may be successful in that context, but may not serve as a precedent for general application.

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