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View Poll Results: Which is your favorite?
Torre Agbar, Barcelona 82 33.88%
30 St Mary Axe (Swiss Re), London 160 66.12%
Voters: 242. You may not vote on this poll

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Old November 22nd, 2005, 07:48 PM   #61
Quente
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Jim -

Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

As for the lecture, I must apologize. Though that certainly was not my intention, I felt compelled to respond more passionately than usual because of what I perceived to be flippant remarks that didn't address my comments.

You seem to think that I'm completely ignoring aesthetics; I am not. Though it may not have been clear in my previous posts, on the face of it, I do think that SwissRe is a stronger design aesthetically than Torre Agbar.

I'm not asking anyone to "ignore their senses" or "rationalize" anything. I am asking that additional criteria be given consideration. If that's "overcomplicating" the issue, then people needn't bother participating in that discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimB
Of course context or history or philosophy can enrich it and give it added layers of meaning. But the bottom line is that it must have sufficient merit in its own right to be worthy of deeper inspection.

And, in my humble opinion, Torre Agbar does not earn that right.
While I appreciate the nod toward context, history and philosophy, your next sentence seems to place these concerns in the backseat. By "sufficient merit" are you speaking of aesthetic merit? And what do you mean by "sufficient merit in its own right"?

When I read statements like this, I consider it a smokescreen for mediocre architects who pay lip service to context, history, etc. and then design a building that is self-referential and has little to do with its surroundings or even the program. (Essentially, they've found the solution and now they need to find the problem). That type of approach can certainly work in other cities that don't have a strong sense of identity, but I certainly wouldn't include London or Barcelona in that category.

Regardless of the whole SwissRe/Agbar issue, am I to assume that you're comfortable with ending the debate at aesthetics and not moving beyond that? If I understand correctly, you seem to be saying that first, the building needs to be aesthetically pleasing; then we'll worry about all that other stuff.

Since you didn't address it in your post, I'm curious: from a contextual and/or conceptual perspective, how well does SwissRe work?

The first time I saw Pei's proposal for the Louvre, I was shocked. Aesthetically, the design was OK - but contextually, I thought it was problematic at best.

When I finally made it to Paris in the late '90's and visited the Louvre, I realized that my concerns about context were unfounded; the solution was brilliant. I returned to Paris this past summer, and realized once again, how well integrated Pei's project is.

As previously stated, I haven't been to Barcelona or London in a while. Perhaps I'll have a similar epiphany when I get to see the buildings in person.

Until then, I'd appreciate any further comments on the contextual settings of the buildings.

Thanks - Kent
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 09:15 PM   #62
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Excellent reply, Kent. Just a couple of points:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quente
Regardless of the whole SwissRe/Agbar issue, am I to assume that you're comfortable with ending the debate at aesthetics and not moving beyond that? If I understand correctly, you seem to be saying that first, the building needs to be aesthetically pleasing; then we'll worry about all that other stuff.
No. What I'm saying is that it's not enough to praise a building merely on the grounds that it demonstrates an awareness of context. The point is that there are numerous ways in which a new high rise building on the site of Torre Agbar could have demonstrated such an awareness. Didn't you mention earlier in the thread something about Gaudi's designs for an elliptical tower? Well, already that sounds more interesting to me than Nouvel's design. I haven't been to Barcelona recently either but I refuse to believe that a more aesthetically pleasing and daring design than Torre Agbar would not have been even more faithful to its context.

Quote:
Since you didn't address it in your post, I'm curious: from a contextual and/or conceptual perspective, how well does SwissRe work?
It's hard to say, for the simple reason that the City of London (the square mile of the financial district as opposed to Greater London as a whole) has, since WW2, been characterized by a haphazard approach to development. The old nuzzles intimately with the new; the classy with the tacky; the beautiful with the downright plain or ugly. Consequently, there is no template to follow. However, there is one building in the City which is more important (both architecturally and in terms of iconic status) than any other - St Paul's cathedral. And of all the City's post war, high and mid rise buildings, I believe Swiss Re to be the one that most compliments St Paul's. The fact that it sets a design standard that no other high or mid rise building in the City can match also speaks in its favour and suggests that it should become the benchmark for future development within the square mile.

And regarding the pyramid at the Louvres? I totally agree with you. It seemed scandalous to me at first that anyone could think of such a thing. But now I love it.
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 09:52 PM   #63
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swiss re is a top ten tower
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 09:55 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimB
It's hard to say, for the simple reason that the City of London (the square mile of the financial district as opposed to Greater London as a whole) has, since WW2, been characterized by a haphazard approach to development. The old nuzzles intimately with the new; the classy with the tacky; the beautiful with the downright plain or ugly. Consequently, there is no template to follow. However, there is one building in the City which is more important (both architecturally and in terms of iconic status) than any other - St Paul's cathedral. And of all the City's post war, high and mid rise buildings, I believe Swiss Re to be the one that most compliments St Paul's. The fact that it sets a design standard that no other high or mid rise building in the City can match also speaks in its favour and suggests that it should become the benchmark for future development within the square mile.
100% agree.
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 05:14 AM   #65
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Agbar rules !!
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 11:44 PM   #66
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Pics by ITXLAN7
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 11:53 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hush
Sorry, but that looks crap, so stop kidding yourself.

Swiss is a nicer height, has a nicer facade and design, a nicer shape etc...

The only thing i remotely like about Torre is the lighting up at night bit, and i have liked tacky things before.

The fact that you think Torre is better is laughable. in my opinion....
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Old November 24th, 2005, 12:21 AM   #68
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Its not that the Agbar Tower is bad cause it is pretty good, but i prefer the design of the Swiss Re.. Foster is my favourite architect for sure...
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Old November 24th, 2005, 02:02 AM   #69
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Old November 24th, 2005, 04:28 AM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quente
One issue that I think should be considered whenever judging the success of a particular building is how the building relates/interacts with its surroundings.
Quote:
While I don't disagree with some of the criticisms that have been expressed about the Nouvel building, part of the reason I voted for it is because of how it "fits" within the context of Barcelona.
Sorry but I don't see how Torre Agbar fits within its context of an elevated highway, a flat-surface parking lot, with no high-rises, let alone skyscrapers nearby. Terrible location IMO. And sorry no, I don't care if it makes for a good postcard with Gaudi's cathedral in the foreground, I still think it's an urban planning mistake to have it in such a location.

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Old November 24th, 2005, 04:49 AM   #71
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Agbar, of course!!!! Swiss re don't have nothing special...a tower with a typical glass façade, dark and sad...
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Old November 24th, 2005, 04:53 AM   #72
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Swiss re is fat, my god, kistch, and the ring near the top is horrible!! nothing elegant...
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Old November 24th, 2005, 05:10 AM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itxlan7
Agbar, of course!!!! Swiss re don't have nothing special...a tower with a typical glass façade, dark and sad...
Youre - sad and dark.
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Old November 24th, 2005, 05:12 AM   #74
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I would of liked Torre Agbar more if it didn't have that metal cage thing or whatever it is around it.


I'm not going to agree with some of the 'dirty' comments....but the Torre Agbar doesn't have the clean shine that the Swiss RE has when it's int he sun.
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Old November 24th, 2005, 06:00 AM   #75
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they are both nice dildos! mmmmmmmmmmm I wonder which one vibrates best that would make the difference...
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Old November 24th, 2005, 01:29 PM   #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbane
Sorry but I don't see how Torre Agbar fits within its context of an elevated highway, a flat-surface parking lot, with no high-rises, let alone skyscrapers nearby. Terrible location IMO. And sorry no, I don't care if it makes for a good postcard with Gaudi's cathedral in the foreground, I still think it's an urban planning mistake to have it in such a location.

Look at that pic
There's a project being built in the city sorrunding Agbar Tower...
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Old November 24th, 2005, 06:31 PM   #77
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In the future the high freeway it is going to disappear becoming a great park for the city

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Old November 28th, 2005, 10:54 PM   #78
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Last edited by hush; November 28th, 2005 at 11:06 PM.
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Old November 28th, 2005, 11:04 PM   #79
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^incredible photos, the illumination is just fantastic!
I vote for the Agbar Tower but Swiss RE is nice too
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Old November 28th, 2005, 11:21 PM   #80
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Is the torre agbar lit up like that every night?
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