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Edinburgh castle reimagined as modernist building by Heatherwick

"Did I wake up in the wrong multiverse today?" asks commenter

In this week's comments update, readers are discussing Thomas Heatherwick's Humanise campaign, which reimagines "boring" versions of UK landmarks including The Tower of London and Edinburgh Castle.

Creative agency Uncommon Creative Studio used artificial intelligence to demonstrate how six UK landmarks would look if designed in modernist styles.

Tower of London reimagined in modernist style Heatherwick campaign
Thomas Heatherwick's Humanise campaign creates "boring alter-egos" of UK landmarks

"Did I wake up in the wrong multiverse today?"

Several commenters struggled to get on board with Heatherwick's logic.

"Woa – hang on – wait, what?" asked a baffled Joe Public. "We're being shown how boring architecture is with examples of some of our most interesting buildings faked up with AI. Did I wake up in the wrong multiverse today?" they asked.

For Clichy, it was "a trite, superficial conceit by the studio". They argued that "replacing historic buildings with carefully selected modernist tropes with no reference to history, culture or society is just plain silly".

Other commenters jumped to defend the modernist style represented in the campaign. Klaud argued that "actually, all those renderings are way more exciting architecturally than their kitsch and genuinely boring and over-consumed real versions".

One of the few commenters to come to Heatherwick's defence was Henry, who wrote "I love this – a very visceral way to demonstrate the mundanity of so much architecture today".

They continued "Heatherwick is campaigning against globally anonymous 'boxitecture' and suggesting that it is texture and aesthetic tactility that give character to our built environment," and put forward "I can't see why that's so contentious".

Which side are you on? Join the discussion

Women working in office – Foster gender paygap
Foster + Partners gender pay gap widest on record

"This is just one aspect of a very complicated topic"

Another story sparking debate in the comments section this week was the news that the gender pay gap at Foster + Partners is the widest it has been since the data was first compiled six years ago despite an overall improvement in the UK's largest architecture firms.

Whateverandeveramen joked "when the male junior architects and interns realise that the pittance they are being paid for their 80-hour work week without overtime is more than the pittance their female counterpart are paid for their 80-hour work week without overtime".

Meanwhile, Z-dog made the argument that "I don't think we can ever close the gender pay gap if mandatory paternity leave that is equivalent to maternity leave is never implemented in the UK". They added "this is just one aspect of a very complicated topic".

However, commenter The Truth highlighted that "Foster's office was clear that both men and women receive the same pay for doing the exact same job" before suggesting "the pretence that there is a legitimate pay gap is not supported by facts."

Franc Lea was on the same page as Z-dog and countered that "until there is maternity/paternity leave equality, there will always be a legitimate gender pay gap."

What do you make of the report? Join the discussion ›

Workshop Architecture prefabricated home Ontario
Workshop Architecture Inc creates "raw and unvarnished" prefabricated home in Ontario

"The plywood interiors with the pops of blue are fun!"

Commenters had mixed reactions to a prefabricated home with an exposed structure and blue-painted elements in the interior, created by Toronto studio Workshop Architecture Inc.

"The plywood interiors with the pops of blue are fun!" admired Butnotreally, before saying "though I can't get over the freestanding bath partially encapsulated in the tiled hob... what an odd choice".

"I do like the resulting floorplan – this house is based on simplicity and is not a show off," praised Leo. "But the tiles on the ceiling do not agree with the desire to reduce the use of resources".

Meanwhile, JZ remarked that there had been "very strange decisions made on this one", before adding "definitely a demonstration that process is product".

What do you think? Join the discussion

Comments update

Dezeen is the world's most commented architecture and design magazine, receiving thousands of comments each month from readers. Keep up to date on the latest discussions on our comments page and subscribe to our weekly Debate newsletter, where we feature the best reader comments from stories in the last seven days.