Architect Barbie

"Giving a prize to a woman purely because she is female is insulting"

Comments update: inequality in architecture was back on the agenda this week, as readers responded to Dezeen columnist Alexandra Lange, who argued that sexism and prejudice were still a deep-rooted problem within the industry.

Positive discrimination: the American Institute of Architects' decision to give its highest honour to yet another mature white man – Moshe Safdie – was a jumping off point for Lange's wider discussion of the industry's inequality issues. Her argument sparked a strong and immediate response from commenters.

"Moshe Safdie is a very worthy winner and congratulations to him," wrote Kate. "I am a female architect and I'm going to read the next Dezeen article before Ms Lange insults me any further".

"Gender should not be considered when awards are given," added Kieran. "Surely giving a prize to a woman purely because she is female is just as insulting as excluding her for the same reason?"

But others felt the issue was more nuanced. "I think the point is that there are numerous females deserving of such an award and yet go largely unrecognised," wrote Ariel. "We're all hoping for a situation sometime soon where it isn't unusual for a female to receive honours and not conspicuous when yet another male is awarded". Read the story and comments »

Main image: Architect Barbie by Mattel

Amethyst Hotel by NL Architects
Amethyst Hotel by NL Architects

Crystal castles: described by its designers as a "slightly insane project", this hotel designed to look like a geode acted as a red rag to readers.

"Trying to tear my eyes out in an attempt to unsee this," said Tom, while a commenter calling themselves vdfs described it as "one of the worst projects ever seen from an architecture firm".

"Hilarious architectural comedy," stated m.zed, one of a number who decided that the project was not to be taken too seriously. Others rushed to defend the project from the torrent of negative remarks.

"Wow, all the haters are having an orgasm here,"said why not guy. "I mean, the world needs diversity."

"I actually like the fact that I will sometimes see questionable design here," agreed Denise Grayson. "It adds some humanity to an industry that can come off as super slick". Read the story and comments »

Bjarke Ingels Worldcraft Future of StoryTelling movie
Bjarke Ingels Worldcraft Future of StoryTelling movie

BIG deal: following the publication of a video where BIG's founder Bjarke Ingels explained how he aims to turn "surreal dreams into inhabitable space", readers reassessed his firm's architectural impact.

"Bjarke Ingels is very good at marketing, but I don't think he's even close to revolutionary," claimed Maxwell Peixe. "All his buildings use the same strategies: topographic manipulation and fancy promenades".

Not so replied Sam, defending BIG's architectural projects as a force for good in the lives of residents that live with and around them. "I'm from Copenhagen, and I can tell you that all of BIG's public projects are thoroughly enjoyed by the people here".

But others continued to claim BIG's success was due to its slick PR machine, not its projects.

"It’s not that important whether you're good at architecture or not," wrote Михал Куница. "What’s more important is how good you can sell yourself. Architecture nowadays often resembles to me prostitution... There's no love in it".

Sgto. Coimito responded by asking how an individual can "stay celibate in a profession where the job is to 'sell yourself' and your image in order to keep on living". Read the story and comments »

Architecture photography workshop by Maxime Delvaux
Architecture photography workshop by Maxime Delvaux

Render or reality? A project that challenged students to construct architectural models that would appear realistic when photographed – offering an alternative to 3D renders – prompted a discussion on the role of physical models in today's digital era.

"Brilliant," exclaimed GFJ100. "Down with renderings and up with reality". "The model allows a steady and controlled exploration of an idea," added The Liberty Disciple. "Some of my best solutions to architecture problems came from a hand-built model".

But others were more pragmatic about the role of visualisations in design, citing cost and efficiency as reasons why scale models weren't as useful today.

"If models weren't so expensive and time consuming to make, I would go with them over a render any day," wrote Jon. "However, justifying the invoice to a client is another thing entirely". Read the story and comments »