Monday, April 27, 2009

Guest Post | Chris Hudson

In the Conundra department in the May/June issue of Architecture Minnesota, Milwaukee architect and 2008 AIA Minnesota Honor Awards juror Sebastian Schmaling, AIA, writes the following:

“Minnesota is home to a diverse group of highly skilled professionals whose protagonists are designing notable buildings not only in their own state but all over the globe, arguably raising the creative bar for their colleagues here and abroad. But there is a noticeable tendency that I will call the Scandinavian-ization of architecture—a regionalist design approach based on a sanitized Northern European vernacular—that can be seen in a portion of Minnesota’s residential architecture and, if unabated, may diminish its overall reputation in the design world.”

Is this a fair assessment? If not, what in your mind separates quality regionally rooted design from lower-quality work?

1 comment:

Scott J. Newland said...

On Sebastian Schmaling's Scandinavian-ization Conundra article, I'm not sure what he's reacting against, specifically. I hope I'm not alone in looking for some further insights here. While I agree that any new building that applies some "themed veneer" has to be viewed with some disdain outside of actual theme parks, I'm not convinced that there is any outbreak of faux-Scandinavian aesthetic wallpapering going out there. Was there a lot in the projects that Mr. Schmaling helped to review in the Honor Awards jury? If so, some examples might be helpful in understanding his warnings about this "dangerous" regionalist expression.
That said, I thing some good general points were raised in the piece.