Tuesday, February 28, 2012
The Pritzker Prize is not awarded for humility or moderation or being a chill dude. The Pritzker Prize, at least in theory, is awarded to architects who design impressive buildings, and by that standard Frank Gehry eminently deserved the Pritzker Prize he won way back in 1989. Since then, Gehry has continued to do what he does best, which is design fascinating structures like the beloved Guggenheim Bilbao — which architects recently chose as the greatest building of the past 30 years in a Vanity Fair poll — and the Novartis Building, which is seen above. While its (jargon alert) unconventional shape and super-shiny aesthetics unmistakably mark the Novartis Building as a Gehry project, something about it is different than many of Gehry’s others. No, it’s not less shiny — not that we can see, at least. It’s just a lot more energy efficient, which is more the result of Switzerland’s forward-thinking national green building laws — it’s different in Europe, people — than any change of heart on Gehry’s part. But while Gehry has never really evinced much interest in green design, it wasn’t until recently that he weighed in on the US Green Building Council’s LEED program, which — for better and worse, as we’ve discussed numerous times at gbNYC — is effectively the brand name for green building in the United States. He is, to put it gently, a skeptic.