|Recently, for their august issue, Vanity Fair conducted a survey which polled some of the most influential and profitable architects of todays world on one question: What is the greatest work of architecture produced within the last thirty years? The poll was issued in a rather inventive manner, asking each individual architect to rank the top five works of design since 1980, and then to name one most significant work since the start of the 21st century. Architects polled included Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Steven Holl, Norman Foster, Tadao Ando, Thom Mayne and more. |
According to the poll, the most significant work of architecture was listed as Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. The complaints? Several architects polled actually voted for themselves while also entirely neglecting recent efforts in green architecture. Renzo Piano's recent Academy of Sciences in San Francisco was nowhere near the top of the list, though Menil Collection in Houston did receive a few votes. The Menil Collection is much more concerned with appropriate lighting for an art museum than it is about sustainability, though.
For Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao to receive the highest credit for most significant work in the 21st century displays how little many critics, professors, and even architects themselves seem to care about green architecture. When individuals such as Richard Meier and Tadao Ando would rather vote for themselves then to help raise awareness towards other projects, it shows how selfish the architecture business can be.
Unfortunately, this is not Vanity Fair's fault at all, and they should not be criticized. The manner in which the poll was given was actually quite creative. It allowed for professionals in the field to openly respond however they wished to a simple effective question. Why so many of these professionals have chosen to neglect the most important movement in architecture today—sustainable design—is beyond comprehension.