Thursday, September 30, 2010

Renaming architecture

Standard Hotel

Polshek Partnership, creators of great buildings like The Standard Hotel(2008) above, the William J. Clinton Presidential Center (2004), and the Rose Center for Earth and Space(2002) at the American Museum of Natural History recently changed their name to Ennead. The more ambigous name follows a popular trend to steer away from the "white male architect" leading a firm, to a more collective environment. Polshek is also looking to retire and wanted to remove his name from such a prominent position.

This NY Times article mentions other firms who have done the same thing including Hugh Hardy Architects to H3 and Fox & Fowle to FXFowle. These older firms are following in the footsteps of younger firms, who created names like these from the start. Firms like OMA, Pentagram and Morphosis all have big name designers in them, but aren't reliant on that one designer's name should anything change.

Its certainly an interesting topic, especially with the generation of starchitects reaching very old age, and almost all their firms simply being named after themselves. The question becomes, can a firm continue on if its namesakes passes away or wants to retire? In the next 10 years, I think name changes like Polshek to Ennead will become very common. The design understanding and firm reputation does not need to be lost just because the namesake is no longer an integral part.

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