Internationally renowned architects have been at center stage in public debates, not only with reference to designing esthetically striking artifacts, but also for urban regeneration programs and city branding. Since the 1990s urban policy-makers and stakeholders have apparently been competing in collecting spectacular or branded buildings such as museums, corporate skyscrapers or luxury residential towers and hotels. This has recently attracted the attention of architecture, planning and geography scholars, though we still have limited understanding about the critical urban implications of starchitecture.
Starting from the question of what impact globalisation has had on architecture and contemporary cities, Davide Ponzini and Michele Nastasi provided evidence, images and interpretations drawing on their ongoing research in Abu Dhabi, New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Milan and other cities. They called for a more local understanding of how similar and global economic, political, media and cultural mechanisms sourround the work of internationally acclaimed architects and how the latter can better contribute to the diverse urban landscapes.
The EIREST (Equipe Interdisciplinaire de REcherches Sur le Tourisme) of Université Paris 1 Panthéon -Sorbonne organized a day-long seminar on the relationship between “Starchitecture and Tourism”.
The contribution by Davide Ponzini concentrated on how the use of iconic and spectacular architecture affects diverse planning processes and how problematic urban effects can derive from it.