Monday, April 26, 2010

"World class cities: bling and banality"

ARCHITECTURE. With many cities going through rapid growth, there are worries that identity and beauty will be lost to bland modernity in identical developments from Hamburg to Helsinki.
In Stockholm and elsewhere, local politicians want to create “world class cities”.
What’s wrong with that?
“A great deal is wrong. Why? Because it’s yet another manifestation of ways in which cities are beginning to resemble one another all too closely, whether rising from Scandinavian archipelagos, tidal Cockney rivers or great plains remote from the sea”, writes Jonathan Glancey, well-known architecture critic of the Guardian, in a column in BD online, “the architects’ website”.
Glancey has been invited to participate in an international discussion on the subject in Stockholm in early May. He sets the tone in his column, where he stresses that the joy of great cities lies in their differences.
He warns that cities run the risk of being harmed by globalised architecture and planning, when politicians and planners aim for the “world class” label.
“World class cities”, writes Glancey, “spells architectural bombast, bling and banality”.