January 04, 2010

The Decade in Architecture. 2000 - 2009.

The last ten years of architecture. An approach.

2000, MVRDV, Expo Pavilion, Hannover, Germany


image by harry_nl

The building after the nineties "Super Dutch" generation - aesthetic by pragmatism: Stacking landscapes as a multi-level "public" space. Probably still the best project of MVRDV so far.

2001, Axel Schultes and Charlotte Frank, Kanzleramt, Berlin, Germany


image by aperture7.1

Germany's search for a new architecture of democracy, erected eleven years after the German Reunification. Can architecture take the task of symbolizing certain politics? "The challenge posed by the competition was to coax the soul out of the Spreebogen, the genius loci, to pour its historical and spatial dimensions into the mold of a new architectural allegory." (cit. Axel Schultes, from Capital Dilemma: Germany's Search for a New Architecture of Democracy)

2002, Plot (BIG + JDS), Maritime Youth House, Copenhagen, Denmark


image by Doctor Casino

The first built project of Plot. The genesis of one of the most hotly tipped young practices in Europe. Somehow, architecture gets liberated from ideology: "People do get excited about good ideas. If your ideas start with something people can relate to, not like French philosophy or Jewish mysticism, but if they’re about football fields and affordable homes and parks, people get it." (cit. Bjarke Ingels, source: icon 058, April 08)

2003, Daniel Libeskind, World Trade Center, New York, USA



"I arrived by ship to New York as a teenager, an immigrant, and like millions of others before me, my first sight was the Statue of Liberty and the amazing skyline of Manhattan. I have never forgotten that sight or what it stands for. This is what this project is all about." (cit. Daniel Libeskind, source: LMDC)
Silverstein, leaseholder of the world trade centre site, had previously hired architect David Childs to design the tallest tower of the site.

2004, OMA, Content Exhibition / Book, Berlin, Germany


image by senhormario

"Content is a product of the moment. Inspired by the ceaseless fluctuations of the early 21st century, it, inevitably, bears the marks of globalism and the market, ideological siblings that, over the past twenty years, undercut the stability of every facet of contemporary life." (source: Content, OMA/AMO, Rem Koolhaas, p. 16)

It was OMA's largest comprehensive exhibition (at Mies' New National Gallery, Berlin). Architecture meets globalization.

2005, Lacaton & Vassal, Social Housing, Mulhouse, France


image by bh one 3000

The experimental row house development aims to reverse a social housing trend: maximal instead of minimal space for all: each apartment is more than twice as big than the average social housing unit in France.

Lacaton and Vassal aim to keep architectural interventions to a minimum. "90% of what you need to make a building is already present on the site." (cit. Vassal, source: icon 020) Lacaton and Vassal master simplicity.


2006, various architects, Carchitecture, Germany


image by DHausBT

It was the decade of car dealers – from the BMW Welt Munich by Coop Himmelb(l)au, the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart by Delugan and Meissl to the Mercedes Benz museum by UN Studio. Monumental and complex buildings built by the German car companies. What an irony if we look at the automotive industry crisis of 2009, and its inability to produce vehicles that meet certain emissions and fuel economy standards. The car of the future has not yet been designed.

2007, Shigeru Ban Architects, Disaster Relief Projects (Tsunami Reconstruction Project) Kirinda, Sri Lanka



Shigeru Ban demonstrates that architects can do both: working on major commissions (like the Musée d'Art Moderne Georges Pompidou, Metz, France) and invest resources in refugee houses for disaster victims. Ban is a modernist, an experimentalist, a rationalist and an "Ecological Architect".

2008, Herzog & de Meuron, Beijing National Stadium (Bird's Nest), Beijing, China


image source unknown

The "Bird's Nest" is an icon, a masterpiece – like Sydney's Opera House or Bilbao's Guggenheim. However its client still appears ambivalent. How will China develop? "Before you built, you cannot assume China have the same long democratic tradition like Switzerland - that would be extremely arrogant." (cit. Jacque Herzog, source: Bird Nest - The Movie, by Christoph Schaub and Michael Schindhelm)

2009, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Field Operations, Piet Oudolf, The High Line, New York, USA


image by J-Blue

First, the Highline is an example what a public community – the Friends of the Highline – can achieve. They prevent the destruction and created a rare fusion of urban, historic and environmental preservation. A unique possibility to create green space in New York.