Public Lecture // STARCHITECTURE AND THE CITY Radboud University, Nijmegen NL, Jan. 14, 2015

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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.
For different reasons this has recently attracted the attention of architecture, planning and geography scholars as well, though we still have limited understanding about the urban implications of most critical issues of starchitecture.
Drawing on concrete case studies in different cities of the world – such as New York, Barcelona, Milan, Abu Dhabi, Singapore – this lecture concentrates on the spectacularization of architecture and the built environment, the roles of star architects and financial interests in urban policy-making and the circulation of similar branded buildings and master plans.
Davide Ponzini will argue that – despite what mainstream narratives say – starchitecture is often used by urban policy-makers, local and transnational coalitions in order to drive political consensus, maximize media exposure and cover economic and real estate interests, potentially inducing paradoxical and even perverse urban effects.

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Journal Article // The Values of Starchitecture: Commodification of Architectural Design in Contemporary Cities

 

 

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Ponzini, D. (2014) “The Values of Starchitecture: Commodification of Architectural Design inContemporary Cities” Organizational Aesthetics, 3(1), 10-18. Available at: http://digitalcommons.wpi.edu/oa/vol3/iss1/4

In the last two decades international architects have been playing a significant role in city-branding and in marketing real estate products. Both public and private decision makers raised great expectations toward the increase in the value of the buildings and places that star architects designed and toward positive urban and economic effects that could derive from such projects (e.g. new and spectacular museum facilities, corporation headquarters). This paper criticizes the simplistic views representing the starchitect’s alleged added-value in mere economic terms and it proposes to consider a broader set of cultural and political dimensions. Drawing on two case studies of different contemporary cities – Abu Dhabi and New York City – the paper shows that these views do not correspond to decision makers’ actual motivations, but, nonetheless, they have been the means for spreading beliefs and for providing certain actors (such as star architects, cultural institutions, real estate developers) with favorable conditions.

International Seminar // STARCHITECTURE, Architectural Association School of Architecture, London UK, Feb. 28, 2014

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Ponzini D., Nastasi M. “Starchitecture.  Scenes, Actors and Spectacles in Contemporary Cities”,  February 28, 2014, Architectural Association School of Architecture, London.

 

Internationally renowned architects have been at center stage, not only with reference to designing esthetically striking artifacts, but also to urban regeneration and city branding. In some cases cities seem to collect spectacular buildings as they were mere market or media products, having little regard for their context and contribution to the urban environment.

The seminar draws on Davide Ponzini’s research and Michele Nastasi’s photographic work regarding European, American and Asian cities. It shows that the spectacularization of contemporary architecture is potentially inducing paradoxical and even perverse urban effects; it proposes new policy, design and visual perspectives for informing current research, debate and practice.

A rich panel of scholars and opinion makers will discuss the implications of the lecture with reference to London and beyond.

More information : http://www.aaschool.ac.uk/VIDEO/lecture.php?ID=2389

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