A few days ago I asked an architect if he knew anyone who had anything positive to say about the hotel scheme by Herzog & de Meuron for Katajanokka. The one that promises all this:
The hovering cross above is rotated to the grid of the historic city, bringing the strong features of the center to the peninsula. The different orientations of the two crosses create a dynamic presence: they anchor the building to its site and, at the same time, detach it from its immediate surroundings, linking it to the city center.
The area around the hotel is transformed by reclaiming back water. The proposed pool continues the necklace of basins where the city center meets the South Harbour. A new pier extends the walk from the Esplanadi deep into the harbour, allowing a spectacular view from the water back to the historic city.’ (from http://www.archicentral.com/helsinki-waterfront-hotel-finland-herzog-de-meuron-10763/)
So anyway, moving on from this gibberish and going back to my encounter earlier this month, this young architect thought for about a nano-second about my question and then said that he vaguely recalled that the person who introduced one of the architects (he no longer remembered if it was Herzog or De Meuron) to the audience when the scheme was announced, was quite polite and enthusiastic about their design.
So today I asked an extremely well-informed architect-planner close to retirement about his thoughts on the plans for the hotel.
He made a hand gesture by rubbing together his midlde and forefingers against his thumb. Money, he said, is everything. And then he fell backwards in the general direction of the table with the drinks on it.
But it’s hard to believe it’s just money, at least, that way life would be very uninteresting. So, you anthropologists out there, help us out: can anything ever be JUST about money?
This astonishing piece of architecture, the library in (the tiny northern town of) Kuhmo, by Nurmela-Raimoranta-Tasa can’t have been “just about money”. Nor this, the Church of the Holy Trinity (by designed by C.L. Engel himself). I mean, by the time your household accounting is not a hand-to-mouth affair presumably you make choices about what to spend on. No?