Paper Architects

Finnish marks with Aalto’s Finland Hall on the back

The masters who yesteryear hoped to appear on paper money, are satisfied today with the papier couché. The Swiss bill of Le Corbusier or the Finnish one of Aalto – one in use, the other disappeared after Helsinki adopted the Euro –coin an epic story of heroes, similar to that of Howard Roark in The Fountainhead, the stubborn talent that in the film version of King Vidor strips buildings of decorative envelopes. But when architecture is just wrapping paper, as satirized by the one designed for the new Berlin works, it is not easy to criticize architects for yielding to the power of printed paper. The Bank of Hong Kong and Shanghai appears on the bills of the old colony, but that did not keep Foster from dressing up with its model for a Vanity Fair feature (which evoked the famous Beaux Arts ball of 1931), that also included Eisenman, Starck, Stern, Meier, Graves, Gwathmey, and even the veteran I. M. Pei and Philip Johnson, this last the only one who has been on the cover of both Time and Out; a tribute by the media that can be compared to that of Koolhaas with his appearances on the covers of the Sunday supplement of the New York Times and Wired magazine, editing an issue whose title sums up well our universe of images: Koolworld...[+]

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