Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Brains Behind the Buildings

I first came to Europe as a third year architectural student in 1968 and after a year working for Building Design Partnership in Manchester, I set off with my friend Eli Harari to tour Scandinavia and much of Northern Europe. One of the things I discovered on this trip was that architects appeared to be held in much higher esteem in Europe than in Toronto!  I've subsequently discovered this could be extended to most if not all of North America.

I thought of this earlier this week as I walked past a major development site in Frankfort. There on the hoarding were photos not of the marketing agents, or future residents, but the architects!  Now I assume they were the architects, since they looked like what the public expects architects to look like!

(I'm reminded of the NewYorker cartoon of a very meek looking fellow being introduced to a very handsome, intelligent looking guy with the caption "Charles, this is James.  His picture will be featured on the back inside cover of your new book.")

At any rate, architects are celebrated in Germany; there's a museum of architecture in Frankfurt, and architects seem to be allowed to do some very impressive, and ridiculous things. Here are just a few photos of new buildings I noticed travelling around Frankfurt.
I must say, while I didn't love all the new commercial developments illustrated (above top), I did admire much of the new mid-rise housing featured above. I also liked this painted concrete tower, since I thought it was something SFU might consider doing to the water tower that was once in the middle of nowhere, but now is in the middle of UniverCity!

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