GOOD-ENOUGH-ISM

Posted by | January 19, 2016 | Uncategorized | No Comments

An insidious process has infected the New York City landscape: A developer announces a new project with great fanfare (World Trade Center rebuild, Downtown Brooklyn redevelopment, etc.) and presents an extraordinary architectural model designed by a major starchitect like Frank Gehry or Daniel Libeskind. The bravura work helps earn zoning variances and community approval. But with each subsequent step of the project, the spectacular work gets redesigned, diminished and, typically, the “name” architect is either fired or quits in disgust. What the city and the neighborhood is left with is…mediocrity. In a recent NYTimes article about the latest (fifth) proposal for a new Penn Station in New York City, Mary W. Rowe, EVP of the Municipal Art Society said it bluntly: “I worry that we’re getting into incremental good-enough-ism. This lack of ambition is distressing to us…It should reach the highest standards of design. I mean, we are New York City.” How do you prevent your ambitious projects from becoming “good enough?”

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