Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Starchitects do battle [updated]


Henry Hobson Richardson said the first rule of architecture was this: “Get the job.”

In these five videos you can see four of the world’s leading starchitects, Richard Rogers, Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas and Norman Foster, going about getting the job—competing with each other for one of this decade’s plums.

The series of videos below offers a fascinating insight into how this generation of "starchitects" behaves under pressure, as they each pitch to win one of the most high-profile invited competitions in recent years: a new tower for L&L Holding Company on Park Avenue in New York. The site has such daunting neighbours as Mies van der Rohe's Seagram building, and it will be the first full-block office tower to be built on the street in almost half a century.guardian.co.uk

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners Presentation – Round 1, July 2012

Zaha Hadid Architects – Presentation, July 2012

Foster + Partners Presentation - Round 1, July 2012

OMA Presentation – Round 1, July 2012

Did you guess who won?

PS: If you’re wondering why three of the firms invited to compete for the job are based primarily in London, while the fourth, OMA, is in Rotterdam—in other words, why there are no American firms for an American project—the client’s co-founder told the Architectural RECORD: “There is great architecture in the world, but it’s not happening in the U.S. Our country is not leading in this building type.”

[Hat tip Archinect]

UPDATE: Sadly, three of the four videos have been taken down overnight.  You might now be able to guess which presentation won the day, and with it the the multi-million dollar contract—”the one without all the fancy computer graphics and slick presentation techniques on show—the presentation that centred around hand drawn sketches and a physical model.*


  1. I gave each the 2min test & listened to only one right through; the one in which the guy spoke plainly and made sense. That was my pick. Turned out to be the client's too.


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