A New Kind of Heroic Architecture

The stereotype of the modern architect is as a kind of heroic figure – the architecture who leaves his thumbprint on the skyline, or who changes the way we live, or who reveals the truth about the world, or whatever. And of course there’s a counter-archetype that thinks we know how to live perfectly well, thank-you, and that architecture should just facilitate that. Le Corbusier and Robert Moses on this side and Jane Jacobs and Prince Charles on the other, with, I dunno, Robert Venturi putting on a killer half-time show or something.

But after visiting Rising Currents, a new show at MoMA about rethinking the New York waterfront in response to the expected rise in sea levels accompanying global warming, I feel like there’s a new strain of heroic architecture a-borning – folks with the scope and ambition of the old modernist heroes but sensibilities that derive from the other team. Call it “Big Green.”

Anyway, it’s very worth a visit.

BTW, speaking of Big Green . . .