WHO knew a year ago that we were nearing the end of one of the most  
delirious eras in modern architectural history? What’s more, who would  
have predicted that this turnaround, brought about by the biggest  
economic crisis in a half-century, would be met in some corners with a  
guilty sense of relief?

Before the financial cataclysm, the profession seemed to be in the  
midst of a major renaissance. Architects like Rem Koolhaas, Zaha  
Hadid, Frank Gehry, and Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, once  
deemed too radical for the mainstream, were celebrated as major  
cultural figures. And not just by high-minded cultural institutions;  
they were courted by developers who once scorned those talents as  
pretentious airhead...