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Versailles Vs Favelas

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There's an heady back and forth underway on the Huffington Post: Cameron Sinclair, co-founder of Architecture for Humanity and the Open Architecture Network, has posted an essay essentially praising the end starchitecture, noting that the voice "of the architecture profession has mainly been drowned out by the computer generated sky-piercing towers of luxury," and it's time, given that "1:7 people live in unplanned settlements, favelas, refugee camps or internally displaced camps," to return to an era of architecture of relevance. Not so fast, argues KCRW host/Dwell editor Frances Anderton, explaining that without architecture of ego and excess, there'd be no Versailles, no Taj Mahal, no Eiffel Tower. Additionally, Sinclair is in fact a starchitect himself, a "'starchitect for humanity,' every bit as sought out for public attention by the media and schools and museum curators as the zany artist-builders he abhors." And in defense of starchitects, she argues that Gehry doesn't just do big and grand--he also does smaller projects like "the modest but life-affirming Maggie's Cancer Center in Dundee, Scotland." The argument of excess versus relevance, believes Anderton is " an irrelevant conflict that ignores the full scope of architecture and its role as built manifestation of all our human tendencies." Things get more interesting in the comments. [Huffington Post]