Robert A.M. Stern on How American Architecture Compares to Europe's

The sustainability issue has led to a certain sophistication of approach in European architecture.
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Question: How does American architecture compare to Europe’s?

Stern: Well American architecture in . . . in my formative years as an architect was, without question, because of the end of Second World War – we had the money but nobody else much did – was at the forefront. And we really developed the corporate style of architecture which I think comes into some considerable question both in historic terms and in contemporary terms at this moment. I think Western European architecture, some of the most important buildings and architects have come out of Western Europe. And part of it goes back to the sustainability issue where the cost of buildings is in such a different ratio to the . . . to the building itself that architects have been forced to examine certain issues much more carefully – functional issues, mechanical issues, ventilation issues – which have given rise to a certain sophistication of approach that we got rather lazy and slapdash about in this country.

Recorded on: 12/5/07