It is hard to know how the current financial crisis will affect this trend. More than once I’ve heard it suggested that the downturn will be good for architecture. The argument goes something like this: The economic tailspin will put an end to the boom in gaudy residential towers that are distorting the city’s skyline. Cheap rents will attract young, hungry creative types. This will spawn a cultural flowering similar to that of the 1970s, when the Bronx was burning, graffiti artists were the norm and Gordon Matta-Clark was carving up empty warehouses on the Hudson River piers with a power saw.

But cheap rents alone won’t do it. On the contrary, the construction slowdown, if it lasts long enough, will likely drive many young talents out of the profession for good. It also looks less and less likely that a government-sponsored, Works Progress Administration-style civic project will revive the profession — another favorite fantasy of the ever-optimistic architecture scene.

Real change will first demand a radical shift in our cultural priorities. Politicians will have to embrace the cosmopolitanism that was once the city’s core identity. New York’s cultural institutions will need to shake off the complacency that comes with age and respectability. Architects will need to see blind obedience once again as a vice, not a virtue. And New Yorkers will have to remember why they came to the city in the first place: to find a refuge from suburbia, not to replicate it. That’s a tall order.

Nicolai Ouroussoff in New York Times, 24.08.2009

O Cozinheiro, o Ladrão, a sua Mulher e o Amante dela.

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