Where there’s a Will, (Alsop) There’s a uh…giant Teddy Bear

In the wake of winning the Stirling Prize, Will Alsop seems to be everywhere these days. His exhibition “Supercities,” opening today yesterday in Manchester, will focus on his vision for Northern England and will also feature several of his recent works, including the Sharp Center in Toronto. (top) A building which has been credited with improving the tourist industry for the entire city. Looking at that photo it’s easy to understand why.

The middle photo is an example taken from the “Supercities” show. And yes, that is a giant teddy-bear building. or maybe its just a giant teddy-bear. See! It’s okay for architects to show their softer side every now and then… I’m sure it would be quite difficult to ellicit any reasoning from a man who doesn’t exactly believe in architectural theory. “A theory gives comfort to the unconfident practitioner,” Alsop has said.

Despite all the attention, Alsop’s firm has been in some financial trouble lately, resulting in a necessary release of many employees and a bail-out by venture capitalists. However, with branch offices still scattered around the world, and new comminsions coming in regularly, the firm can’t be counted out yet.

From BD, a description of the man, whose character is often as controversial as his architecture:“And so we are invited to embrace Alsop as just such a maverick spirit, unbridled by doctrine, answerable only to the callings of his own muse. Opinions will differ as to what proportion of this confident practitioner’s make-up is noble and what proportion savage…” A man after my own heart if there ever was one…although i don’t agree with his complete abandonment of theory.

Currently earning mixed reviews is the new Visual Arts Department building of Goldsmiths College. (bottom) A perfect example of what can potentially happen when one is “answerable only to the callings of his own muse.” I love Alsop, but I really hate this building. seriously. I think it’s hideous. There are some great ideas present, I especially enjoy the idea of the “scribble” as designating the balcony and sculpture garden, but the execution leaves something to be desired. Alsop has a contract with the University, so let’s hope that his next attempt is somewhat less assaulting. Well, I’m sure I’ve wasted enough time with these ramblings, so I encourage you to read this very well informed review from Building Design Online and arguing in favor of this picaresque architect is Hugh Pearman.

see also:
Alsop Reveals Filmport Design