Starchitects city building
July 30, 2008, 7:16 am
Filed under: Asia, Europe, Middle East, Urban Design
Zaha Hadid's master plan for the Kartal area of Istanbul, with the Sea of Marmara visible at the top.

Zaha Hadid's master plan for the Kartal area of Istanbul, with the Sea of Marmara visible at the top.

From the Wall Street Journal:

“We are seeing an emergence of a new industry,” says Dennis Frenchman, director of the city design and development program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s urban-studies department. “It’s not real-estate development; it’s not architecture; it’s not city planning. All I can do is name it ‘the city-building industry.’ “

And a name-brand architect can make the product sellable. “It’s just like teapots,” he says.

[. . .]

Name-brand master plans are “an entrepreneurial tool” that are key to getting these large projects built, says Reinier de Graaf, an OMA partner working with Mr. Koolhaas on the Riga and Waterfront City projects. Urban planning is now “a very weird mixture of marketing and urbanism,” he says.

Mr. Chipperfield agrees. “It’s easier to know about architects than architecture,” he says. “A banker won’t know about architecture but will know that ‘Zaha Hadid’ or ‘Rem Koolhaas’ is a brand.”

Roll call:

  • Zaha Hadid: Kartal, a suburb on the Asia side of Istanbul – groundbreaking in 2009
  • Zaha Hadid: 60 hectares of a peninsula in the river in Bilbao; the Zorrozaurre plan will turn the land into an island, with angled buildings for housing and offices following the curve of the river – currently being developed
  • Rem Koolhaas/OMA: Waterfront City, artificial island in Dubai — landworks started, decades to completion
  • Rem Koolhaas/OMA: Riga’s port, 100-acre site — 2006 plan
  • Daniel Libeskind: Orestad, a five-kilometer-long urban area south of Copenhagen – to be completed around 2016
  • Daniel Libeskind: Fiera Milano, 43 hectares of Milan’s old fairgrounds – to be completed in 2014
  • David Chipperfield: new art and technology quarter in Segovia — won competition in March 200

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