A Bit Of Architecture For A Sunday (Part 1)

By Rob Last edited 153 months ago
A Bit Of Architecture For A Sunday (Part 1)

With the news last week that Wembley wasn't going to make it, and after reading the article on Filtered which called Norman Foster's design 'egotistical' and 'philosophically lazy' we were intrigued to read this article on the stadium by Foster himself in today's Observer.

The article is headlined It's my arch of triumph and is basically an empassioned defence of the entire project.

"Articles in the press have tended to focus on the negative aspects rather than celebrate the fact that, whatever the brickbats, Wembley Stadium will ultimately be a huge triumph." says Foster, claiming that Wembley will reopen 'in a matter of months' (which, lets face it, could mean anything).

Norm' goes on to argue that once everyone gets a good look at the finished product, with that arch as its 'piece de resistance' then all the setbacks will be forgotten. And then he falls back on the same argument that so many people have grasped at in the past when they'be been knocked for messing up: England, as a nation, actually likes complaining:

I think that, as a nation, we are in danger of forgetting to celebrate the things which genuinely deserve celebration. The danger is of a universal kind of wet blanket being put around any ambitious project simply by virtue of its ambition. It's almost as if some people are saying, 'That's too good for us. We shouldn't be striving for quality or to be the best. We should retreat into mediocrity.' I don't buy that, but the minority of people who do believe it seem to be quite influential in terms of the coverage Wembley gets. Various footballing heroes have described Wembley as the cathedral of football. Other stadiums may be very worthy churches but Wembley is the very centre, and I think it deserves no less in terms of its ambitions. If that fits uncomfortably with the national characteristic of understatement then too bad.

And that's why Norman Foster is an architect and not a politican. Way to get the general public on side Norm'! So are you saying it's our fault that our national stadium is horribly late and grossly over budget, or that we should shut up and stop complaining even when something this important goes so ridiculously tits up? Hey, at least "the seats will be 50cms wide and 80cms deep, compared to 41cms and 64cms at the old Wembley."

Sorry Lord Foster, but you're going to have to do better than that.

Last Updated 26 February 2006