Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Most Significant

Today Vanity Fair posted the results of their World Architecture Survey. The magazine
"asked the world’s leading architects, critics, and deans of architecture schools two questions: what are the five most important buildings, bridges, or monuments constructed since 1980, and what is the greatest work of architecture thus far in the 21st century."
The results of the first question -- compiled in a slideshow -- are not surprising, with Frank Gehry's Guggenheim in Bilbao easily topping the list. The rest are recognizable buildings by household names like Renzo Piano, Peter Zumthor, Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, Tadao Ando, and so on.

But I'm more intrigued by the second question, if certain buildings stand out from the rest in a decade that really didn't have its own "Bilbao." Well, there was a clear-cut winner and a surprising runner-up:

[L: Most Significant: Beijing National Stadium by Herzog & de Meuron | R: Second Most Significant: Saint-Pierre, Firminy by Le Corbusier]

First place is probably the most media-saturated building of the last ten years, thanks to the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing: the Beijing National Stadium (Bird's Nest) by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. Second place is a church designed by Le Corbusier and completed in 2006, 41 years after his death; construction began in 1971 (six years after he died) but was inactive from 1973-2003. So first place is a building in the spotlight and second place is one only architects know about. Here is the list of buildings that received more than one vote (# votes):
Bird's Nest by Herzog & de Meuron (7)
Saint-Pierre Firminy by Le Corbusier (4)
Seattle Public Library by OMA (3)
CCTV Building by OMA (2)
Disney Concert Hall by Frank Gehry (2)
Large Hadron Collider - CERN (2)
MAXXI Museum by Zaha Hadid (2)
Scottish Parliament by EMBT (2)
And the EGO Awards go to these architects who chose their own buildings as the "most significant work of architecture created so far in the 21st century":
Wolf Prix of Coop Himmelb(l)au for the BMW Welt
Hans Hollein for the Architecture Pill
James Stewart Polshek for the Rose Center for Earth and Space
Bernard Tschumi for the Acropolis Museum
Any other takes on the list? There's plenty to nitpick in the buildings picked by the "52 experts."