Will the economic crisis kill the starchitect?

There's hardly a sector of the global economy that's gone untouched by the economic meltdown of the American financial system of the past few months, and certainly architecture firms are now feeling the pinch as funds and clients dry up. Also not immune: starchitects.

Consider the response Zaha Hadid received regarding her Central Park pavilion for Chanel last month from The New York Times. The architecture may be intriguing, but what many reports on the New York iteration, including the Times, ended up focusing on was not the curvilinear forms or thoughtful progression inside the space, but rather the debate as to whether it's appropriate to have such a celebration of wealth in such a cash-strapped time. Could this credit crunch be the end of the starchitect?

On a similar note, speaking with Bloomberg News Service in early November, David Chipperfield predicted the death of architecture of excess. He asked: Will "wow-factor" buildings go by the wayside? In the interview with Farah Nayeri, Chipperfield asserts that a certain sensibility will come back to architecture and his thoughts raise an interesting dilemma: On one hand, clients across the board are reigning in their budgets – will this mean a focus on function over form? On the other hand, many of these same clients are also pressing architects to develop spaces that have enough of a "wow" factor that they attract funds and visitors. What do you think – will this be the end of starchitecture?
 

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