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2006 03 29
And The Winner Is…
The Absolute Condominium competition announced its winner yesterday to some fanfare. While I have to admire the developers for making a bold choice, the rhetoric justifying the building's curvilinear form was more than a bit suspect. Architect Yansong Ma of China declared that high-rise buildings have a close connection with technology and culture. I'm with him there. He also said that high-rises are landmarks of culture. Sure.

However, when he says that social relations have more complexity and [therefore] we need more complexity in this building, he steps over into a fantasy realm shared by a certain type of designer who thinks the surface style of his or her building has some kind of mystical effect on the lives of the people who inhabit it. Architecture can have a profound impact on the lives of people. But it is not the specific style of one high-rise that is at the core of that impact. The impact of, say, choices in density and the number and types of elevators serving a tall building have far more influence on the day to day social lives of a building's inhabitants that does the "Marilyn Monroe" like curves of its profile.

Let's acknowledge this building for what it is: a beautiful form - maybe even an interesting engineering challenge - but really a marketing tool to attract people to a suburban landscape typically all too devoid of real architectural choices.
[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 03/29 at 03:50 PM

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