The Case for the Big Box

Joys of a non-expressionist architecture

Now that the irrational exuberance of the past decade has collapsed, where shall architecture go? Shall we build cheaper versions of iconic buildings based on the same templates? Substantially reducing the building cost of new versions of the impressive array of dynamic icons such as those built in China and Dubai may be impossible without losing their formal essence and quality. More importantly, in the current post-economic collapse climate one wonders whether such gestures of irrational exuberance, even when slightly muted, display any content that speaks to society’s condition in its totality. May we instead consider it a form of elitist asceticism? If so, could a high art interpretation such as the ‘big box’ provide a sense of direction? (Alexander D'Hooghe, The Case for the Big Box. Volume 19, 2009)

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