Brent Toderian sends along a book review:

In Architecture of the Absurd, John Silber dares to peek behind the curtain of “genius” architects and expose their willful disdain for their clients, their budgets, and the people who live or work inside their creations. Absurdism in a painting or sculpture is one thing: ­if it’s not to your taste, you don’t have to look­.  But absurdism in buildings represents a blatant disregard for the needs of the building, whether it be a student center, music hall, or corporate headquarters.

No doubt Brent meant to add another provocation to the discussion of “iconic architecture” (and Vancouver’s presumed lack of same) when we bring together a City Program panel to discuss the issue on February 1 at SFU Harbour Centre.  Along with an update on the City’s Design Studio, that will be the start of next year’s ‘Paradise Makers’ series on the first Friday of each month.


  1. Consider the source. For those of you who don’t know John Silber, he’s not a skilled critic of acrhitecture or urban design, but a conservative political and academic provacateur with diminished credibility, who’s been in an out of nasty controversies for many years. See:
    As for critiques of radical architecture, all the greats have problems with their buildings, not least Frank Lloyd Wright. Is there anyone with a soul who would not want to live or work in a Wright building just because it has a few leaks? Such small-minded aspersions are not worthy of a city that claims it aspires to be “world-class” in the sophistication of its cultural outlook. Again, this petty derision of aesthetic change explains why very few highly creative architects choose to work in our city, and why, time and time again, possibilities for inspiring architecture are enfeebled by the bland. So bold and progressive and yet so conservative and timid: our public policy may resemble Copenhagen but our buildings look like Tulsa. I sincerely hope that our rad young urban planner does not brook such dull, small philosophy. He’s our only hope.

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