Important Architecture

Vanity Fair present this list of the most important architecture since 1980, and the most important works of the 21st century so far, as shortlisted by 52 architects and critics. Steven Holl’s list is good, I think; although he, along with Tadao Ando, had no compunction about listing their own works.

Question, though: what is important? Obviously it’s not best, because it might be possible for a work of architecture to be shockingly awful, and yet still important. Perhaps influential? Gehry’s Bilbao is certainly important for its influence on form-making, technical practice, and public perception of architecture as an urban and economic attractor; even though its not what I would call particularly good, myself. Important is a historically-conscious judgement that attempts to predict what will be seen as canonical looking back. And of course, the concept of a canon is dubious, reinforcing the closure and autonomy of a discipline that is neither. Who are these buildings important to?

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