The first of two excellent synopses depicts the parallels and differences between the rise of Beijing and the rise of NYC one hundred years ago:
It's Only One Short Step from Wow to Bow-Wow.
The architects of 100 years ago had very different goals than the Starchitects of today, and so they made a very different place than Koolhaas & Co. want to make....they believed the first job of an architect was to make his building reinforce and improve the public realm (here is where every architect gets their hackles up without realizing that it isn't about style).And the second on Ayn Rand's Howard Roark:
The Way We Build Now
Which reminds me of MIT grad and Semiotics expert Ted Goranson's review of the movie Fountainhead on his blog FilmsFolded.com (my personal fave movie review site):
I am hoping the viewing of this movie will end a week of viewing films with bad, even execrable philosophy. But I just couldn't avoid this. It was a big film and based on a best seller, an enormously good seller and an influential book.What young architects, who never failingly cite The Fountainhead as their favorite book, don't realize is that Ayn Rand just needed a medium to carry her super-individualistic ideology, which was merely a hyper-reaction to her youth in 19-teens revolutionary Russia as an emerging communist... nay totalitarian state. It has nothing to do with architecture, architects, or a particular style and she has readily admitted this.
For decades, it was the standard path for a college freshman to read this and imagine himself "different." Probably still the case in Texas. The ideas here are hardly original, but they are presented so boldly and with such panache that the author has spawned countless political religious movements in the US.
I suppose a case can be made for respecting greatness, and another for striving for genius. But this particular presentation is so bogus it undercuts these ideas at every turn. (Disclaimer: I am an architect.)
This movie chooses architecture, possibly the worst example. A writer or any artist would be better. A filmmaker even better because it is an expensive, collaborative endeavor.
But architecture is unique among all the clever things in the world. (These days architecture includes inventing conceptual spaces as well.)
This movie makes the mistake that architecture is somehow equivalent to sculpture, that what results are objects and not environments, that buildings are monuments and not experiences, that creativity somehow sticks to something once it is set free in the world.