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So You Want to Be A Starchitect

(image of Sony Design Center, Santa Monica via George Yu Architects)

Chris Hawthorne, architecture critic for the LA Times, looks at the state of LA's burgeoning architecture scene for the new crop of young architects in the 28-38 age range. Sorry to those of you in the 39-death age range, but you are old hat. What we find in today's younger architects is a precociousness that knows no bounds - but has little to show for it other than a few miniscule projects ("a reception desk for a cable TV channel.") But the potential that these pre-starchitects hold may help reshape Los Angeles and the way we all live, that is unless we bore them into the ground with cutthroat criticism and shameless attacks through blogs like, ummm, us.

[Young architects] are often tagged as potential stars before they turn 30. Their early work, predictably uneven and overstuffed with ideas, is immediately dissected and analyzed by critics and bloggers. (The Internet has taken the idly mean-spirited cocktail-party chatter of 30 years ago and amplified it into quasi-public discourse.) Diaz Alonso's pavilion for PS1 in New York last summer got nearly as much attention among young architects here as Mayne's Caltrans building — much of it in the form of rather bitter criticism from local designers who'd seen the pavilion only on the Web. Hawthorne notes that while many of the younger architects haven't been tested by actually putting together large projects, nevertheless their smaller works generate just enough attention to give these youngsters the name recognition that seems to be such a huge commodity in a crowded field of up and comers. So to the young architects mentioned in the piece - George Yu Architects, Escher GuneWardena Architectutre, Hernan Diaz Alonso, Gnuform, and all the rest, we say keep building shit for us to look at and critique and maybe, just maybe we'll learn to appreciate it.
· Watching L.A.'s Young Architects [BusinessWeek]