Jerde Partnership - what's your take?

Jerde Partnership

personally, I'm torn. Jerde is absolutely prolofic, but much of his work centers around consumer culture, benefitting from our epoch's over-saturation of consumption...BUT...

at the same time, many of the environments created by Jon Jerde and the Jerde Partnership are spatially stimulating and promote
public interaction.

Two examples that I particularly appreciate are: Roppongi Hills in Tokyo and Beursplein in Rotterdam. Beursplein is especially fantastic. IMO

what's your take on his work / apparant stance?

Sep 26, 05 11:21 pm




Sep 26, 05 11:55 pm  · 

well i personally admire the intelligence of the Jerde Partnership, if u or us are smart enough to take away preconceived notions of what should b done as an architect (which usually is based in aesthetic principles) we can recognize how well Jerde generate spaces of interaction... even if we like or not to accept how majority of ppl conceive a "nice and comfortable space and enviroment", myself i think he's quite intelligent and i've been studying him a lot lately (strategies, ways of aproach, ways ppl react to the spaces he generates, etc).... mmhh stance?? Jerde analyzer

Sep 27, 05 3:32 am  · 

thanks for the response...

ya, his spaces always seem alive with activity, so that speaks to their success, but I can't help but have issue with his proliferation of shopping space. I know that's inarticulate, sorry...that project in Rotterdam (above) is amazing, both as a solution to a circulation problem and as an imaginative spatial condition. I want to dislike his seemingly branded, disney-like malls and such, but he's doin' something right...

Sep 27, 05 3:37 am  · 

yeah i have exactly the same problem. aesthetically the architeture is seriously awful, and i am not comfortable with the exclusivity of his projects, but they do work in many ways that i didn't expect.

i go to roppongi hills fairly regularly and also another development in shiodome (the one where jean nouvel did the super boring skyscraper...) and they are pretty good, but they are isolated entirely from the surrounding fabric. not only isolated but difficult to exit in fact. whenever i go to the mori gallery at roppongi i get trapped, by design, in the shopping mall that forms the exit route. it is incredibly ennaoying but because it is a mall the exits are not easy to find and i spend far too much just trying to find my way back to the subway.

many of the developments here (tokyo) are based on the jerde model of consumer culture supporting urban housing and lifestyles, but the tendency tends to be towards keeping folks away from the area who are not wealthy. So unlike the italian plazas that he models his designs on we get a very rarified atmosphere that is stifling after awhile. roppongi works, but leaving it is a relief, and it shouldn't be. It's like visiting a north american suburb, everyone the same age, the same clothes, the same economic group, the same car, the same home, the same, the same, the same...whichmay not sound awful to you folks in NA, but one of the great things about all of japan's cities is the lack of segregation by social status. poor and rich all live in the same place. young and old, too, and that makes for a very rich life.

While jerde has done some good things in tokyo, arguably creating places to g to that simply didn't exist before he did his magic, the truth is that he is also erasing a very important part of japanese (and human) culture. So, while i admire his work for its place making i rather dislike the cultural repurcusions. not his fault you might say, and you would be right in some respects, but he does make the places very closed on purpose, and that his choice...

sad thing is that urban planning has fallen to such lows (in the form of new urbanism and other counter-revolutionaries, etc etc etc) that we actually have to admire jerde for not being a total waste of would be nice if someone would raise the standards a smidge...

Sep 27, 05 5:55 am  · 

I hear they've got an interesting business model. That's cool and should be looked at more often. Basically, they get the projects, design, and have others do the CDs.

Now that's my style of business!! Probably would have stayed in architecture if I could have worked at a firm like that.

Sep 27, 05 8:15 am  · 

don't say that so fast...CDs are a key part of getting what you want in a project. I worked at Jerde for alittle while. it's definitely got an interesting model in their meshing of urban and architectural interests.
but their working model is standard for many offices doing international projects (basically doing the SD and DD then handing off for CDs and CA) This is partially why most of the projects rely on big formal moves with zero detail in execution...
When I was there they were getting a few ex-Koolhaas people and were trying to ramp themselves into doing experimental urban projects that utilized what they had learned in retail...i think that went kaput when the market in LA did about 4yrs ago, but it would be interesting to see if any of it continued.

Sep 27, 05 11:35 am  · 

It's aweful crap. The fact that people like it does not mean it's good in any way. McDonald's mass marketed foods also appeal to people...
However it is true that it is so bad that it becomes quite fascinating. I know that it's time for us architects to give up our complex of superiority but perhaps people should also be educated to realize that 99% of the buildings that are being served to them are bad, Jerde's shit included. Then maybe they woukd start challenging the generally accepted standards of what is architecturally acceptable and interesting...

Sep 27, 05 11:47 am  · 

jump, thanks for weighing in, knowing you were in Tokyo, I hoped you would share your thoughts on Roppongi...

doberman, I still think there's something to learn from him...

Sep 27, 05 12:47 pm  · 

As I understand it, they just completely changed the firm. Most of the upper management left and now they are focusing on international large projects and hiring local firms to do the CDs. From what I hear, it's much more ambitious now. I hope to hear more about it.

I understand you need some control, but I've also worked at a place the outsourced the CDs (overseas) on a HUGE building. Saved TONS of money (that they have in their pockets) and keeps the firm at a stable size.

I am a designer foremost, so spending the majority of the time on CDs is not something I care to do.

Oh, and I am not saying I like anything they've done, in fact, all of it that i am familiar with I hate. BUT, I like the business model and think many will follow suite.

This will be part of the future - talented designers getting paid well to design, then others hired (that are experienced in that aspect of building) to do most of the rest.
It's happening in other fields and it works, makes those that are good designers more money and allows you to focus on the design. People can argue this, and it will weed out many in the profession, but I think it's good for architecture in the long run.

Prefab is a perfect example. No need for CDs. Just hand off the design and bam! you've got your house done and delivered in a few weeks. I like that.

Sep 27, 05 1:20 pm  · 


Sep 27, 05 1:22 pm  · 

slightly off the point, but the Jerde partnership seems on a downward spiral. Some (read 'a') senior HR guy fired a lot of the better staff and the office is a fuck-all mess now.
Our office worked on a project with them and i have to say that the people there were some of the worst, pompous assholes we ever dealt with.

Sep 27, 05 7:10 pm  · 

the work, the work...

Sep 28, 05 1:32 am  · 

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