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July 29, 2005

Enrique Norten a Rat Architect for the New Millennium

Enrique_nortenSlate magazine's architecture critic Witold Rybczynski put together an amazing photo essay of Enrique Norten's work entitled, A Rising Starchitect, Will Enrique Norten be the next Frank Gehry?

It begins by saying that there are two schools of architecture, the Rats (for Rationalism):Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, SOM; and the Anti-Rats (Anti-Rationalism): people like Thom Mayne, Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, and, who he calls the King Anti-Rat, Frank Gehry.

The Anti-Rats are the ones who've come to the attention of the average person through all the awards and high-profile commissions they get. But, says Rybczynski, Norten's been rising in the ranks, and was chosen as the architect for the Guggenheim's branch in Guadalajara, Mexico. Are the tides changing? Maybe we’re shifting to appreciate an architecture that makes sense when you look at it, buildings that look like buildings, with an even structure and clarity of form obvious from the outside rather than hidden by rows of shining, undulating curves.

Rybczynski says some of Norten's work reads like a diagram of what's inside and is more architectural than sculptural. And that's true, but sometimes sculpture is all straight lines.

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