Starchitecture and Sunset Effect 

Peter Buchanan


Starchitecture is one of the most extravagant and egocentric post-modern architecture. Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid as high representatives of deconstructivism, have used sculpture and technology to seduce the public. However, their building’s seductiveness is not enough to solve the environmental and social issues the world is facing. The critic is based on the problematic contradictions these buildings represent, as in urbanism, functionalism and energy use. 

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Less is more

“Less is more”, a phrase adopted in 1947 by the German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. He was one of the pioneers of the minimalistic architecture in the 20th century and is recognized by his simplistic architecture. Parametricism has another approach to architecture, with advanced forms and complex structures.

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Are changes beneficial for architecture? 

The evolution of this art is questionable by some people of this century

The post-modern architecture tends to exaggerate forms just focusing their buildings in the visual part rather tan using this art to help people and make easier their lifestyle. This has recently received the name of parametricism, and it’s far away from the needs that the traditional architecture satisfied.







The buildings of the world’s top architects as Zaha Hadid or Frank Gehry leave almost every single visitor speechless. However, that admiration will fast disappear. Why? They are only visual shocking. Any of these buildings faces the challenges of our times: ambiental crisis and the dense urban fabric. The future architecture, as the parametricism architecture is called, should be solving the comunication between the inside and the outside.



"PARAMETRICISM" by Patrik Schumacher - Zaha Hadid Architects - AADRL




"I don't think that architecture is only about shelter, is only about a very simple enclosure. It should be able to excite you, to calm you, to make you think."

- Zaha Hadid





"Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness."


- Frank Gehry






Dancing Towers, Dubai/ Zaha hadid


"We should concentrate our work not only to a separated housing problem but housing involved in our daily work and all the other functions of the city."

-Alvar Aalto



    Why great architecture should tell a story | Ole Scheeren





The Bilbao Effect

Cities that are in economic difficulties and invest in an iconic building, like in Bilbao, is becoming each day more popular. However, we know that Starchitecture have problems with the relationship between the surroundings, environment and energy use; is it worth it to be built for attracting the tourism economy? We will face a dilemma between building an icon with all the problems it might present afterwards, or creating more jobs because of the high unemployment rate, and thus, go out of the economic crisis.

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Is Starchitecture totally bad or is it also good in some degree?

How should not be architecture in the future? That is one of the main ideas Peter Buchanan make us understand in his article Starchitecture and Sunset Effects. The strong critic made towards Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid’s buildings, generates that we analyze and reflect more about iconic and parametric buildings. In this essay, I will analyze two main concepts related with this article: parametricism and sustainability. It will also be contrasted with the article The Bilbao Effect, thus, we analyze the discussion from both sides. 

Read the whole essay: Enlace a #1345

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Galaxy Soho by Zaha Hadid

Located in the centre of Beijing, this enormous building catches everyone's attention due to the innovative form it has. We can find different spaces for offices, shops and also entertainment areas, all of them separated with big yards. Composed by five different levels it gives the sensation of fluidity by connecting all of them with curved surfaces. It is a clear type of architecture that impresses with its form and composition.

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Located in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, this giant building projected by one of the most renowned architects, tries to modernize the city in a country living in the past -technological speaking-. Leaving aside the visual power of this building, it's difficult to find something which uses the technological advances not in a visual way.