Celebrating design leadership in a culture of collaboration. Recently we've seen, in print and online, a reprise of old debates about starchitects. The critic Witold Rybczynski complained that big-name architects don't design their best work in cities that are foreign to them, because they don't understand the context. He proposed turning to local architects, whom he called “locatects.” Not long afterward, the architect and Yale professor Peggy Deamer wrote to The New York Times, arguing that several high-profile architects, through news coverage of various controversies, were giving architecture a bad name.
This past spring, the sculptor Richard Serra was honored with the President's Medal from the venerable Architectural League of New York, which cited his evolution as an artist from the “concerns of matter and materiality to more spatial preoccupations.”
How many ways can architects engage with the communities and wider world around them? Here are some randomly selected news stories from the last month: • Rising temperatures and climate change are already here, contributing to the current extremes of droughts, wildfires, heat waves, and floods that are devastating regions of our country. • A botched execution by lethal injection in Oklahoma caused obvious suffering to the inmate, who then died of a heart attack. • French economist Thomas Piketty's runaway bestseller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century—which posits that global economic inequality will widen with disastrous results, unless governments intervene
New architecture's impact on the urban realm, from Los Angeles to Glasgow to Rio In the pages of RECORD, we like to explore a work of architecture not only for the strength of its design but for the impact on its surroundings. In this issue, we look at several new cultural projects that are having a profound effect on urban sites. Steven Holl's controversial addition to the Glasgow School of Art, opposite Charles Rennie Mackintosh's early 20th-century masterpiece, brings a sense of lightness—with its luminous translucent glass skin—to that gritty Scottish city, where it rains more than half the year.
Twenty years ago, Rem Koolhaas published a fat doorstop of a book, S, M, L, XL, which included his manifesto on Bigness: “Bigness is ultimate architecture,” he wrote. “Only Bigness instigates the regime of complexity that mobilizes the full intelligence of architecture and its related fields.”