Luma Arles arts tower by Frank Gehry

Frank Gehry's Luma Arles tower "is a crime" says commenter

In this week's comments update, readers are unimpressed with the Frank Gehry-designed Luma Arles art centre and discussing other top stories.

Gehry revealed a tower for the Luma Arles arts centre in southern France ahead of its public opening last week.

Aptly named The Tower, the building is clad in stainless steel and references Arles' Roman architecture, nearby mountains and Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night painting.

"It's showbiz guys" 

The story has attracted 69 comments so far from divided readers. "Another extraordinary building by an extraordinary architect," said Stuart Netsky on one hand.

Alfred Hitchcock disagreed: "Like having Disneyland in the middle of your beautiful historic town. Just plain wrong."

"This was done for the 'Bilbao effect'," continued Kevin McGrath. "A starchitect trophy to give photo opportunity on a tourist trail. It's showbiz guys."

"It is a crime," replied Jaxon Pollock. "Not only from Gehry, but the authorities too. 'Its central drum echoes the plan of the Roman amphitheatre.' So deep Frank, but how so?"

Jean-Yves Rehby thinks the tower resembles something else: "You know when you put some leftovers in the fridge wrapped in crinkled aluminum foil?"

Are commenters being harsh? Join the discussion ›

A bamboo tensegrity structure at Hoxton Docks
Antepavilion building "smashed up" and staff arrested in police raid on design workshops

Commenter likes art installation but thinks its creators are "arrogant"

Police have sparked debate by raiding the building that hosts the annual Antepavilion architecture commission, arresting a number of its staff, and threatening to remove an installation on its roof. The raid was intended to target climate activist group Extinction Rebellion.

"It is on private property," said Jaimie Shorten. "Only a threat to people that believe in thought crimes."

ML was confused: "It seems police performed arrests and confiscated building materials based on the suspicion that they would be illegally used in a future demonstration. I'm surprised speculation about a future criminal offense is presented as the base for an arrest."

Jacapo disagreed: "This is art in a public space and for some reason, they think they are above requesting a permit to erect it. What if it falls on someone's head? Other artists follow rules if they want to put up art in public. I like the art but I don't like how entitled and arrogant the creators are."

Should police have made arrests? Join the discussion ›

A visual of pedestrianised Oxford Circus
Transformation of Oxford Circus into pedestrianised piazzas will "create rival to Times Square"

"You do not compare a London street to a major New York square" says reader

Commenters aren't convinced by RIBA's plans for a design competition, which would see the winner transform the Oxford Circus road junction in London into two car-free piazzas "that will become a rival to Times Square".

"This sounds like a Little Britain statement," said Stefanos S. "You do not compare a London street to a major New York square. You make it sound desperate."

"Isn't Piccadilly Circus a rival to Times Square already?" continued Ati-st. "And what does rival mean? For a tourist trying to decide where to take the best selfie? Oxford Street is a unique brand and should be designed accordingly."

"Times Square? Really?" asked Ham Respinger. "I'm not quite sure if the world's mecca of 5'4" fake superheroes is anything to aim for. If you're going to change it then you have to look at Oxford Street as a whole. That means pedestrianising it, replanting and changing the ridiculous laws on what businesses can do with the new space."

Is the competition a good idea? Join the discussion ›

Apple Tower Theatre
Apple opens store by Foster + Partners in Los Angeles' historic Tower Theatre

Commenter admires Apple "for saving a number of extraordinary buildings"

Readers are discussing the Apple Tower Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles. The new Apple Store was designed by Foster + Partners inside an abandoned 1920s movie theatre, which was originally designed by American architect S Charles Lee.

"This still feels like a huge waste of a very special building," said Rowan on one hand.

Chris disagreed: "Apple is a pretty good client for this type of project –  the company does what it can to invite the public in for free presentations, free concerts, etc. As the building has sat empty for over 30 years, my guess is that it took a client with deep pockets to make anything happen at all."

"Hats off to Apple for saving and repurposing some fine architecture," concluded Jack Woodburn. "Apple isn't one of my favorite companies, but I admire it for saving a number of extraordinary buildings."

What do you think of the renovation? Join the discussion ›

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