Quote of the day: More "big-box" looks

I fear that you’re going to see less interesting, less creative designs out in the marketplace now. I think we’re going to see more big-box looks, if you will, something that serves the purpose, doesn’t inspire people much and isn’t something that’s terribly memorable.

Kermit Baker, chief economist for the American Institute of Architects, speaking to Chicago Public Radio yesterday.

This isn’t the first prognosis of this type we’ve heard from a member of the architecture community, but forecasting a rise in “big-box” designs sounds far bleaker than simply predicting a decline in “attention-seeking buildings,” as architect David Chipperfield did a few weeks ago.

Others interviewed in the WBEZ segment find reasons for optimism in the current recession. A cultural historian points out that some of the city’s iconic buildings were constructed during the Great Depression, and architect Joe Valerio from Valerio Dewalt Train Associates says that while projects are grinding to a halt everywhere, the prices of certain materials are also falling, enabling developers to offer certain upgrades that wouldn’t have been possible before.

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