Today's Stack of Glass Boxes vs. Yesterday's
Wasn't it only yesterday that our British friends had their knickers in a twist over Daniel Libeskind's "Sprial" entrance (right) for London's Victoria & Albert Museum? It was decried as the biggest blow to British self-image since the American Revolution, and finally, in 2004, the museum abandonned plans to insert the modern structure between its Victorian wings. One newspaper had even described the Libeskind design as"a disaster for the Victorian & Albert Museum in particular and civilization in general."
So it was amusing to follow the reaction to Herzog & De Meuron's proposal for an annex to their Tate Modern, now the most visited museum on earth. The irregular, 11-story glass pyramid will rise above the roof line of the former power plant that became the Tate. It's already been called "epic and cinematic" by The Guardian's Jonathan Glancey, and it could get a warmer welcome than Libeskind's more precarious stack of blocks. But it seems the backlash has started today. In an interesting essay suggesting that architects no longer see their role as imposing order on a chaotic world, Karl Sharro in Spiked argues the addition lacks any clear organizing principles and, therefore, lacks true archtiectural integrity.