eVolo skyscraper competition

"These kinds of proposals are almost the fake news of our industry"

In this week's comments update, a concept for a collapsable tower to be used in disaster zones starts a debate about unrealistic architectural ideas.

Pie in the sky: readers pondered if concepts like Skyshelter.zip, a foldable skyscraper designed to be delivered to site by helicopter, harmed the reputation of architecture outside the profession.

"What is the point of this competition when it completely disregards real-world factors? Design becomes more precise and valuable when more real issues are taken into account," asserted Diego Mascareňo.

"Cartoons like this getting passed off as actual architecture is precisely why so many civilians hate us," groaned HeywoodFloyd.

Jeroen van Lith took it one step further: "These kinds of proposals are almost the fake news of our industry"

"Collapsable tower is a very good name for this design, I have no doubt about its ability to collapse," wrote a sassy Miles Teg.

Steve Hassler believed the design did not work in its context: "Ironically, do you know where a collapsible skyscraper is always not needed? At a disaster zone."

"A collapsable poly-tunnel structure would have made so much more sense!" agreed Jerry Dickman-Wilkes.

Despite concerns, one commentor managed to find some positives in the idea.

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Marbling: the design of the recently completed Qatar National Library by Dutch firm OMA, which features tiers of marble bookcases in an open plan space, seemed to divide readers this week.

"Where is the artwork? No painting, no sculpture, no cosy corners with soft chairs to curl up in while viewing a painting or browsing through a book or having a quiet discussion. The place is sexless, cultureless and colourless," spluttered an unimpressed Marino

"This looks remarkable. An ambitious concept that was well executed. I don't disagree about there being no cosy nooks, but I don't think that should be expected from OMA," replied HeywoodFloyd, who clearly thinks highly of both the project and firm.

Fabian Z had a question for Rem Koolhaas' firm: "Could you do an actual library instead of a hall? It looks like the re-use-scenario for something completely different is already built-in."

"42,000 square metres is the equivalent of a regional convention centre! That's bonkers," added Three Floating Orbs

But JD was all for it: "I like the concept of the open reading room, and I must admit I am a fan of the sunken centre rendering in striated stone which emphasizes the excavated effect. It's nicely executed."

This reader had a different type of question for OMA.

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11 Hoyt by Studio Gang

Lookalike: Commenters discussed whether similarities between Studio Gang's plans for a 51-storey scalloped concrete condo tower in Brooklyn, and previous projects by Frank Gehry pointed to a wider issue in the industry.

"Looks like it fell off of a truck that was delivering to Gehry's office," sneered HeywoodFloyd.

"I'm beginning to feel that everything is beginning to resemble everything else, but I guess that's what 'schools' are about," added a frustrated Chris Becket.

"The state of architecture is very sad, each building offering more gimmicks than the last in order to shout 'look at me'," sighed EvilP

But Rthko thought that other commenters were overacting: "I’ve seen a lot of comparisons today between this building and Gehry's. The two are similar, yes, but this bears far more resemblance to Studio Gang's own Folsom Bay Tower planned for San Francisco. Frank Gehry did not copyright the rippling facade"

This reader had other concerns about the project.

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The Broad photographed by Edmon Leong

Worthy: Diller Scofidio + Renfro co-founder Elizabeth Diller was the only architect named on Time magazine's list of 100 most influential people of 2018, which led to a debate about gender and architecture prizes.

"Imagine the outcry if Scofidio had been named most influential. The contemporary solution to past injustices is to create new injustices," suggested one reader.

"The mere fact that this thought is your initial reaction is unfortunate. A lot of women and other traditionally-sidelined groups can tell you of the sheer frustration of always having their worthiness questioned," explained Jon.

"Polshek was recently honoured with the AIA Gold Medal, and there was no outcry that it was an insult to his partners at Polshek/Ennead," pointed out Kevin.

Sun Gang felt segregation might be a solution: "Architecture should emulate professional tennis, let the ladies play against the ladies. Otherwise, this gender bickering will never end."

This reader was ok with female architects taking the crown but felt it should have been awarded elsewhere.

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