Columbia GSAPP (Daniel Linder)



Sep '05 - Feb '06

  • anchor

    polemic versus contemporary german architecture

    By Daniel_Linder
    Feb 2, '06 5:34 PM EST

    after realizing that the time of my studies would soon be over i took a look at some german offices that a friend of mine was friendly enough to recommend to me and i got profoundly sick. when hearing that we germans were known for owning the latest design knick knacks including the latest and fastest design car, only to park it in the newly built 50s-afterwar-style-shoebox-garage i laughed politely, only to realize now how painfully true that sentiment was. i have no idea when it all went wrong - why is everybody building cool avant - garde stuff only we germans stick to brutally stupid utilitarian cubic architecture? its not even modern style anymore, more like pure banalism in steel and glass, throw in a bit of unfinished concrete. what is wrong with the taste in building of the people who were once known as the thinkers and poets? what is wrong with our profession, to offer such banal and highly uninventive designs? who in the world still uses nemetschek for doing renderings? the time has moved on, except in good old germany, where drawing with an inkpen still seems pretty smart to most of the teaching profession. even the websites look as though they were designed by first grade architecture students during a lecture break. no wonder the funky buildings are commissioned out to foreign architects - i wouldn't like to build with people whose idea of design is to cut as windows two different sized squares next to each other in a big square of wall.

    honestly - i feel sick - ich habe fertig.


    • droog

      'cuz we all know good architecture is about "funky" designs and bad architecture is about utility.

      Feb 2, 06 7:50 pm

      that is not what i meant. i think i can very well discern between a 'form follows function" utilitarian design and a design that is no design but the genuflection before the banal and the ugly. on all those websites i looked at today there was only one form represented: the cube. in thousand variants but that was it - i was just being bored to death. that is what i mean with "utilitarian cubic architecture". please read before you criticize and keep your tone friendly. the condescending attitude displayed in the comment is one that brings us architects to the place were we are: bitching around and arguing instead of designing. and yes - in my eyes it is the place of the architect to design funky stuff, otherwise why study it? become an engineer and do squares...

      Feb 2, 06 8:09 pm

      Sounds a lot like how I feel when I visit home in California. ...Except that californians were never known as "thinkers and poets." ha!

      ...but, I feel your pain. Try Portugal perhaps. The most interesting stuff is often accomplished in "frontier" areas... more freedom to design.

      Feb 2, 06 11:15 pm

      Thats a very interesting sentiment, it reminds me of a thing Neal Stephenson says about his main character in his novel "snowcrash": "...Hiro like borders, areas between, where things were in motion and happening..." (I quoted from memory, so please don't rip my head off...). I think that it has a lot of truth to it. I would even like to go to areas even more remote that are in even greater need of development - but then there is always the question of money - a question that was asked by myself the moment I enrolled at Columbia and accepted to pay the tuition. There are also personal reasons why I want to return to Europe and be a bit closer to germany than momentarily, but as far as I see it it will be Switzerland or London at the closest, maybe the Netherlands or even Spain. Although I heard that the salaries in Spain are not worth mentioning and are even worse in Portugal, which must on all other respects of life be a dream to live in... The main question is for me why for all the nice stuff only foreign offices are commisioned, in my experience really reflex-like. We want a cool building? Get Foster! ...or so it goes. So the need for at least a few nice designs seems to be there, I wonder why there is not even one big office that specializes in non-linear forms? Ferdinand Heide in Frankfurt was making a start and built a small non-linear-designing group one year ago when I was leaving the country but he is the only one known to me to actally employ people with those skills. I hope he has success and that this might be an encouragement to others to do the same. At that time when we spoke he told me that he looked all over Germany to find people who were familiar with Maya and he nearly came up blank (as far as I remember he found two graduates with maya skills and one more who was actually able to design with dynamic systems). Here at Columbia this is standard. Also in Denmark, England and Austria the free form architecture is flourishing. So again - what is wrong with Germany?

      Oh, and by the way: I was told that the californians were even more beautiful than the people of New York because many of them are working out a lot and because it is always sunny - so being known for that beauty could be the compensation for not being known as the "thinkers and poets"... :-)

      Feb 2, 06 11:56 pm

      What do you think of Stephan Behnisch

      Jul 7, 06 5:02 pm

      Block this user

      Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

    • Back to Entry List...
  • ×Search in:

Affiliated with:

Authored by:

  • Daniel_Linder

Other blogs affiliated with Columbia University:

Recent Entries