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The phenomena of signature buildings without a signature.

New Year, same blog and more complaining!

Maybe when you get old, you just get cranky and think everything is worse than before and it isn’t! Maybe one day I will look back at this rant and realize I was wrong!

The issue is that  I find myself looking at a lot of architecture, all over the world, and I can’t say I am impressed. The irony of the urge to rant using phrases like “in my day” is not lost on me.

I’ve talked before about signatures (whether it be in jeans, in food, in fashion) – greatness comes from an appreciation of the rules and then an ability to break them. The same, of course, goes for architecture.  It was only a few months ago that I was complaining about the dwell light phenomena!

Between reading blogs, serving on juries and Google image search, I spend most of my free time looking at new, modern buildings. While all the boisterous buildings are eye catching at first, sometimes even imagination, after an hour and a few dozen renderings and photographs, I started to realize I couldn’t tell which architect designed what. I had not one “ah ha, this must be a.” Some of the buildings were so overdone, that I could idea not even tell what country they were in.


More blobs!


(And side note: where are the glass and windows in architecture? Suddenly, in favor of complex geometries, windows are “too difficult” to incorporate. Can you imagine? I almost fainted when I saw some new, modern works that incorporated less natural light than a bird house!)

What I know is that there can be something sexy about star-quality, top-of-the-top, architects. Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, have an air about them that seeps into their work. How can you be a “signature” architect if your buildings have no signature? These architects are the ones that we aspire to be like, so, when did everyone get co-opted by the latest trend?


I hold onto my mantra from Churchill and remind myself: architecture is meant to adapt, to bend: not to overshadow and a great architect can take any project and still leave their impression.

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