Message - Re: tradition and innovation and authenticity

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Posted by  Paul Malo on September 16, 2002 at 12:32:09:

In Reply to:  Re: tradition and innovation and authenticity posted by Kevin Matthews on September 16, 2002 at 10:14:14:

Stern, of course, is another "straw man" here, merely a case study identified for purpose of discussion. I'm not proposing Stern as the Great Hope of Architecture--merely suggesting that his approach is reasonable and his work is of good quality, reagrdless of varied style. Is the Modern work as distinguished architecturally as that of Piano? Probably not. Or as that of Aalto? Certainly not. The houses shine as more illustrious, perhaps because less has been done (or has been noted in the media, at least) in these electic styles--but in fact, the great preponderance of American residences in this luxury-villa class are being designed in such traditional idioms. Stern is a useful case study because he has decided to work with, rather than against, user preference.

I agree that Stern's larger projects, whether urban office buildings or suburban campus projects, seem less integrated. The problem is not style--the Modern projects share some of the same weaknesses as the "traditional" designs. I think that it may simply be that Stern's natural métier is the small building. This may be true of Mier as well.

We can think of other architects who seem more naturally adroit with large projects--Saarinen or Roche-Dinkaloo, for instance. Did they ever even do any houses? Surely they must have, but the iconic images are of large public or corporate projects. For those unfamiliar, I'm linking the Pritzker Prize web page for Kevin Roche, an architect whose work deserves to be remembered.

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