youth of today – mammoth // building nothing out of something

youth of today

One of the best of the print architectural critics, Christopher Hawthorne, writes about his recent visit to Medellin in the LA Times, and offers a well-rounded evaluation of the significance of the notable projects completed there in the past decade.  While the most important thing about Medellín’s new architecture is, as Hawthorne writes and mammoth noted previously, that it has been deployed as social infrastructure for the poorest areas of the city, I find particularly interesting Hawthorne’s insight about the relationship between Colombia’s legally-mandated competition-based selection process for publicly funded projects and the flowering of young, local firms that process has nurtured, which stands in stark contrast to the North American tendency to award public projects to a relatively small shortlist of the usual globe-trotting suspects.

[link via @javierest, @bldgblog]

6 Responses to “youth of today”

  1. faslanyc says:

    thanks for this link! this is one of my biggest aims- to get us “looking south instead of east”. Having Hawthorne vouch for the same is, uhh, slightly more influential than me beating my whiny little drum.

    colombia is not the only place though- the southern cone (chile/argentina) + brazil also have fascinating things going on!

    if you or anyone has read jimena martignoni’s book, I’d like to hear about it. she’s been convering south america for years for LAM (among others) and though she’s not an amazing writer (second language and all) she has been something of a voice in the wilderness.

    • rholmes says:

      I haven’t read Martignoni’s book, but I would love to. We’re right there with you in the desire to “look south”.

  2. faslanyc says:

    also important here are the new forms of collaboration and new project typologies/interventions being deployed.

    Supersudaca is the best example of this (multi-national yet region-specific, with their “direct architecture” projects being a great example of the new types of interventions)

    thanks for posting this!

  3. namhenderson says:

    Wow, Martignoni’s is a great looking book. Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. faslanyc says:

    of interest, and directly speaking to the point you brought up, the architecture league is holding two panel discussions.

    One, on “design excellence” programs in New York City (DDC and DPR) where you have a shortlisted group of star designers in a pool who get chosen for high-profile projects.

    The second, a highlight on the trends and tendencies in Medellin in the last decade.

    I’ll try to check those out and report back. No promises though. Spring is here, after all…