Nicolai Ouroussoff Responds to Starchitect Haters


Well, we think maybe we’ve helped prove something: that Nicolai Ouroussoff reads blogs and/or has a Google or Technorati feed for his own name (if so: hi, Nicolai!). We say so because the timing couldn’t just be coincidence that his latest NY Times piece, “Let the ‘Starchitects’ Work All the Angles,” seems to be in direct response to what we were talking about last Tuesday, about another site taking on his love of big name architects, disliking the little guys and being pretty mean in the process. Though we could be wrong here, as it’s also supposed to be a response to John Silber’s Architecture of the Absurd — we’d just prefer to think we aren’t. Anyway, in our world, Ouroussoff works out a beautifully composed response, sticking up for what he likes and what he does for a living. Here’s a bit:

But in general I find these attacks perplexing. For decades, the public complained about the bland, soul-sapping buildings churned out by anonymous corporate offices. Meanwhile, our greatest architectural talents labored in near obscurity, quietly refining their craft in university studios and competitions that rarely led to real commissions. If their work had any impact, it was in the realm of ideas, where the designs served as a cutting critique of a profession that seemed to have lost its way.

Today these architects, many of them in their 60s and 70s, are finally getting to test those visions in everyday life, often on a grand scale. What followed has been one of the most exhilarating periods in recent architectural history. For every superficial expression of a culture obsessed with novelty, you can point to a work of blazing originality.