Will contemporary architecture stand the test of time?
Robert Stern, the Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, is an American author, architect, and preservationist. Stern's buildings have something of a throwback style, and he draws inspiration from early American to late Deco.
Stern received degrees from both Columbia University and Yale University, where he graduated from the School of Architecture in 1965. After finishing Yale, Stern worked for Richard Meier before founding his own firm, Robert A. M. Stern Architects, in 1977. His firm, now 300 strong, is responsible for projects around the world, including the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, the Disney Feature Animation Building, in Burbank, California, and the future George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
Stern, who has taught at Yale and Columbia, was appointed Dean of the Yale School of Architecture in 1998. Among other books, he is the author of New York 1880, New York 1960, and New York 2000, a series that documents the history and evolution of New York City's architecture.
Question: Will contemporary architecture stand the test of time?
Stern: Yes. I mean certainly some, of course. Like naming obvious ones of our immediate moment, a building like Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is an extraordinary object in the city. It may not be the most ideal museum inside, but it’s certainly something that if you haven’t seen Bilbao firsthand in his setting, you really haven’t . . . haven’t lived so to speak. There are probably other buildings like that. I don’t want to get in trouble with my professional colleagues; but you know buildings stand the test of time that aren’t extraordinary. Sometimes ordinary . . . ordinary using the right sense are every day. You go to a city like London – and London is my favorite city to visit; and indeed I’d like to live there if I could rearrange my life – you just walk after . . . on street after street not only in the traditional Georgian squares, but in neighborhoods all over a vast, vast area and you see wonderful buildings. And they just . . . Sometimes they look like the one next to them. Other times they’re quite distinct. And they make a fabulous fabric of the city. So . . . And then some of them go back to the 19th century, many to the 18th century; and what survives from before after London was bombed. And London was . . . rebuilt itself for other reasons – fires and so forth. But no, I’m not so worried about that. I was worried about that when I was 25. I don’t worry about it so much anymore.
Recorded on: 12/5/07
Gehry's museum in Bilbao definitely will, says Stern.
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