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16 July, 2008

Great minds

In the Guardian, Jonathan Glancey attempts to defend Zaha Hadid against criticism unfairly ascribed to her for cost overruns at London's Olympic Aquatics Centre.

It's frequently annoyed me that architects tend to be automatically blamed for unforeseen additional expenses in major public building projects, rather than the additional costs frequently being the results of subsequent revisions, by committees of 'back-seat designers'.

I was going to say that architects seem to be the soft target for media criticism: dilettante artists squandering public money on unnecessarily grand designs when 'no-nonsense' brick boxes (with a little pedestrian neo-Classical fluff if the building needs to be 'fancy') would be more than adequate.
I was going to point out that that's distressingly reductionist, and architects have a key role in defining the soul of public spaces; that in terms of usability and aesthetics architecture is infinitely more important on an everyday basis than mere construction.

I was going to, but in the comments on the Glancey article, Antipode has already said precisely that, more eloquently. Damn.

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