Britain doesn’t do deep architecture

What are we so scared of finding out?Glasgow versus GlasgowMeanwhile in Glasgow, a spanner in the works from Julian Harrap, who has slammed plans to ‘faithfully’ recreate the Mackintosh library in the city’s school of art.   The same could be said of most British cities. Whereas in Berlin there is a lot of discussion about what things mean.’ He’s right. In London, however, ‘we have given that up. We think he deserves to win. Cheers! Twitter: @roryolcayto

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You must sign in to make a comment. If something is successful, it’s successful. Stifling dreams threaten London and Glasgow, but Guggenheim dream comes true, says Rory Olcayto
‘The town is not really like a natural phenomenon … If it related to physiology at all, it is more like a dream…’London versus BerlinWhat a fantastically obvious, simple, and profound point Joseph Rykwert made when he wrote that in 1963, for his book The Idea of a Town. Thank you for making 2014 such a memorable year. In the German capital, ‘there is still an idea of the public realm,’ he said. The decisions taken at the Neues, which combines new with old so brilliantly, came about after years of contemplation and study.   The rush to rebuild the library as was, from   a distance at least, seems to resemble a fever dream.Helsinki GuggenheimTalking about dreams, Asif Khan’s shortlisting for the Helsinki Guggenheim is the very stuff an aspiring starchitect’s dreams are made of. It came to mind following the airing of David Chipperfield’s view on London, in relation to Berlin, earlier this week. The achievement, even to make it this far, is astonishing. We have declared the public realm dead; the question is how to get stuff out of the private sector. What kind of dream does Glasgow resemble if it chooses to rebuild the library as if it had never burned down?   This is a biggie – like Richard Rogers in the running for the Pompidou. A psychologist might comment that ‘London has trust issues’. As far as architecture is concerned, Britain doesn’t do deep. In other words, one you wouldn’t even remember in the morning. Much of our success is down to your continued support and faith in what we do. A nostalgic, comforting dream, free of risk or adventure … a boring dream? In case we … do what, exactly?Chipperfield goes on to praise Germany’s ‘reflective’ culture and to decry Britain’s lack of sensible, intellectual dialogue on the meaning of architecture and urban design, which he thinks undermines the quality of the places we make. Glasgow needs to rest first; clear its head.

Updated: 05.12.2014 — 17:02