The purpose of placemaking – form or function?

We have been fascinated by a recent blog piece that we found covering a debate at the Aspen Ideas Festival. The blog covers a heated exchange between Frank Gehry and president of the PPS, Fred Kent.

Read it here.

Places and people

On one hand you can argue that dismissing Gehry as a “Starchitect” is insulting to one of the most influential designers of our time. On the other, you can be forgiven for concluding that Gehry’s lack of appreciation for “context” shows that high profile architects have forgotten the people that bring their buildings to life.

Gugenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain

Gugenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain

Public response

Despite the pompousness of the argument, the exchange raises an interesting question – to date has iconic architecture delivered useful public spaces? And more importantly, while designers, journalists and critics get rather excited by high design, does the public care about the aesthetic detail, or are they more interested in places that fulfill their needs.

Read the full blog here, the comments at the end of the piece are particularly interesting.

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One response to “The purpose of placemaking – form or function?

  1. It is really about creating destinations where people have many reasons to come and come often. We think great destinations need 10 places within them with ten things to do. If you look at great destinations many of them come close to achieving those numbers. Then if a city has ten such destinations, then you would rank pretty high on the list of best cities. The trouble is that these iconic building have very little to do except look at them, take a picture…and maybe go to the museum. It amounts to a pretty thin experience.

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