28 July 2008
Its been almost exactly one year since C & I watched the Snohetta piece on wide angle... I don't remember seeing any designs during the show, mainly I remember watching the architects meeting with the different sheiks and their representatives. Now that Snohetta has won the competition for the King Abdulaziz Center of Knowledge and Culture and images are available (I'm guessing that most people have already seen them...), I'm not sure what I think. I'd be very interested in seeing more interior images and plans and sections if they are available. Beyond the fact that I'm not sure if I even like the form, I'm actually concerned about the scale of the architectural movements. I think that when we design at such a large scale, its easy to ignore the human scale factor. Big statements make a much bigger impact, particularly when vying to be selected from a field of talented and well known competitors. Still, ultimately the building has to be used by people. And when that happens, you've got to hope that the architects have spent as much time designing the usable features of the building as they have designing the form. Without many interior images, I worry that this a project where the dynamic form has taken total precedence over function. Maybe this is what the sheik was looking for... a big statement. But, in my humble opinion, if architecture is going to be successful its got to be usable just as much as it is beautiful.