I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but when it comes to architecture, I believe that there is a guideline of common sensibility that is universal. Beyond interpretation and individual artistic license, there is fundamental good design and bad design. If you are a modernist and love the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, you
can still appreciate the integrity of the Pantheon. Much in the same way that scholars of Gaudi can appreciate the beauty of Phillip Johnson’s body of work.
But, over the past decade, in New York City, and from some of the pipeline of buildings being designed, it seems to me that we have lost the barometer of common sense(ibility). We are witnessing some of the worlds ugliest buildings being built. Yes, there have been some gems, but in large part, our social artistic cultural conscience seems to have disappeared.
We have the landmarks preservation commission which oversees the design of new buildings being built, but this is reserved for the select neighborhoods that have historical significance. (There also seem to be some political loopholes when it comes to certain “situations”). Where is the zoning board that oversees the design of the new skyscrapers (and low rise buildings)? Where is our social conscience? Where is the inspiration? The driving force behind most of these buildings seem to be driven by value engineering and one goal of achieving the highest dollar return on investment.
It is high time that we start to acknowledge that what we build today will become a reflection of our culture and create a fingerprint for future generations to be inspired by.
Shaun Osher is the CEO and Founder of CORE.