At first, I decided not to say anything about Vanity Fair's self-aggrandizing "World Architecture Survey," which asked top architects, critics and architecture school deans to rank the most significant buildings, bridges and monuments built since 1980.
After all, it seemed like a pretty harmless, attention-getting device--a star-obsessed magazine obsessing about "starchitects" and their spectacles of steel and glass and stone. A pictorial of sexy buildings instead of sexy babes. A story about architecture's overheated recent past rather than its chillingly sober present.
But then I heard the author of the story that accompanied the survey, Matt Trynauer, talking on NPR's Weekend Edition last Sunday.
He was asked why no explicitly green buildings made the list, which was topped (no surprise) by Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.
Trynauer replied that there are a lot of very interesting green buildings out there, at least at a small-scale. Then he continued: "These buildings in general don't look so hot because they have to do a lot of things that buildings traditionally never did."
Like, say, saving energy? Adapting to local climates? Or using local materials that don't cost tens of thousands of dollars to transport?