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Fall architecture preview: In recession's shadow

September 12, 2009 |  5:15 pm


There is no shortage of new projects by big-name architects readying to open this fall. In Dallas, Las Vegas and the Belgian city of Liege, to name just a few locations, buildings by Rem Koolhaas (and his former partner Joshua Ramus), Norman Foster and Santiago Caltrava, respectively, will draw curious fans of contemporary architecture. In downtown Los Angeles, the new Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters and another chunk of the L.A. Live complex will throw off their yards of construction fencing.

ArchPH Each of these debuts, though, will be shadowed by the knowledge that the deepest recession since at least the early 1980s, and perhaps since the Great Depression, has at least for the time entirely sucked the air out of the profession. For nearly a decade, buildings by talented architects seemed to roll off some thrilling assembly line: Whatever one thought of a new batch, there was always another one waiting just behind it.

With that process now brought to a halt by tight credit markets and general economic wariness, the looming question is not really how successful this fall's group of new buildings turns out to be but rather what the next few years hold. Five or 10 years on, will we look back at this year as the time when architecture sputtered to a halt or merely paused to catch its breath?

See the season’s most-anticipated architecture by clicking on the photo gallery above.

-- Christopher Hawthorne