year end roundup

As the end of the year approaches, we look back on the year 2009 and include here  things we would NOT like to see again in 2010. This is not CNN or anything, so you won’t see large cultural trends or anything like that. We are architecture geeks and are smart enough to stick to some things we know at least a little about.  What we are talking about is the excessive  buzz, publishing and posting by the design and architectural press about the same small set of glamour topics.   So, to all you architecture and design blogs, magazines and postings, please, no more, thank you.

the Please No More List:

First, let’s put the super, itsy-bitsy, see-how-small-we-can-make-it, aren’t-we-frugal, little tiny house craze to its death. We all are fully aware that the economy has sucked and that the excesses of the last few decades have … blah, blah, blah. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of huge, wasteful houses and their ilk, but the hip munchkin house has run its course. Maybe this is all clients can afford these days and maybe the ranks of unemployed architects need something to do with all that time drawing in their sketchbooks, but, enough already.

and speaking of the end of an era, let’s hope we don’t have to suffer through any more dreadful, cheesy renderings of dreadful, cheesy Dubai towers, the least said, the better:

I would like to make by pitch for also saying good riddance to the seemingly endless experiments in, and press about, shipping containers turned into hipster houses. We get it by now, very creative stuff, pat yourself on the back for designing a shipping container house. LIKE EVER OTHER ARCHITECTURE STUDENT FROM THE LAST 30 YEARS ALREADY!!   And editors, it’s not cool anymore, it really was for only a month or so.

On any given night I am sure there are plenty of people who really do have to take shelter in containers. Spending many, many thousands of dollars to transform them into ‘houses’ and worse yet, ‘model/demonstration houses’, seems more than a bit ridiculous. We all played with Lego as kids, but stacking blocks only goes so far. Besides, like the costly cool modular house trend of 2007, I’m really not looking for yet another way that carpenters, masons and roofers, etc. can be made redundant from still more imports.

This may be just jealousy, but the slew of stunning photos of amazing glass stairs is getting a bit tiresome. They are beautiful and clear and minimal and a bit empty, like supermodels. Pick up your jaws and let’s move on boys.

The building boom of the Trump empire continued unabated last year. To be honest, each of these buildings by themselves are not any worse than many other things being designed and built out there (see Dubai disasters above). However, in conglomeration, the Trump Scotland golf extravaganza, the Trump Soho and the Chicago Trump Tower, represent a branding more akin to McDonalds than the great series of beautiful Carnegie libraries constructed in the last century.

Trump Scotland, Trump Soho, Trump Chicago

And finally, because they are so simple to put together and as equally empty as the last, maybe the making and publishing of lists as a substitute for real content ought to go out with the trash. We can blame Letterman, circa 1990-something for starting them, but time has come when we all need to do our part and bury them in the meaningless rubbish bin of history. That also goes for the repetitive aggregator blogs and ubiquitous year-end lists (including this one).

Happy New Year and let’s hear it for original thought, content, work and ideas in the next decade.

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