Foster in Libya

Foster + Partners has been chosen to assist in the development of the Green Mountain region in Libya, apparently “…one of the 10 last paradises of the Mediterranean”. According to the news item on the Foster website the region “…has the potential to become one of the world’s most desirable tourist destinations. Its allure to visitors however depends on the effective protection of the natural environment and controlled development, free of urban sprawl.”

Perhaps its allure to visitors might also depend on the fact that the country is ruled by a military dictator who apparently doesn’t like foreigners very much?

I’m not sure what they think architects can do that politicians and heads of state can’t. I mean architecture is pretty damn fabulous and all, but I’m not really sure that it has the power to make Libya a tourist destination.

I think Rem summed it this kind of situation nicely in the introduction to SMLXL:

“Architecture is a hazardous mixture of omnipotence and impotence. Ostensibly involved in “shaping” the world, for their thoughts to be mobilized architects depend on the provocations of others – clients, individual or institutional. Therefore, incoherence, or more precisely, randomness, is the underlying structure of all architects’ careers” they are confronted with an arbitrary sequence of demands, with parameters they did not establish, in countries they hardly know, about issues they are only dimly aware of, expected to deal with problems that have proved intractable to brains vastly superior to their own. Architecture is by definition a chaotic adventure.” (S, M, L, XL, OMA, Rem Koolhaas and Bruce Mau, Benedikt Taschen Verlag, Köln, 1997, pp. xix)


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