| classic conservative criticism, classic conservative
| institution, and classic conservative architects (with wrinkles)
| what else would you expect from the classic old International
| Herald Tribune?
Choice of soaring structure shows sophistication of the EU
The European Union is not a particularly sexy institution: think dull,
overworked bureaucrats rather than international glamour. But the
selection of Coop Himmelb(l)au's dynamic design for the institution's
central bank in Frankfurt shows that it is finally willing to take a
chance on striking architecture.
Dominated by two asymmetrical towers that frame a soaring atrium, the
design radiates magnetic energy. The taut silhouettes of its two towers,
bound together by the tense embrace of steel bridges and beams, should
become an instantly recognizable element of the Frankfurt skyline - and
help to revitalize the city's grim eastern suburbs.
Coop Himmelb(l)au's contorted glass towers are a sly play on such
landmark European Modernist designs as Hannes Meyer and Le Corbusier's
1927 competition entries for a League of Nations headquarters, or those
for Soviet government buildings in Moscow in the early 1930s, when the
prophets of Modernism were groping for an international aesthetic
language. The violent torque of the bank's glass towers suggests an
effort to wriggle free of such old modernist formulas.