The Global Architect: Firms, Fame and Urban Form, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Global Architect

Firms, Fame and Urban Form, 1st Edition

By Donald McNeill


182 pages

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pub: 2008-08-05
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The Global Architect explores the increasing significance of globalization processes on urban change, architectural practice and the built environment. In what is primarily a critical sociological overview of the current global architectural industry, Donald McNeill covers the "star system" of international architects who combine celebrity and hypermobility, the top firms, whose offices are currently undergoing a major global expansion, and the role of advanced information technology in expanding the geographical scope of the industry.


"This manuscript has a wonderful application for both undergrad and graduate courses in (architecture) design theory, design practice and design methodology courses. There’s an absence in the market for timely, relevant readings and this book will help fill the vacuum…I don’t know of any other book that presents the practice of architecture in the context of culture and society as this one does. It reminds me of some of the business titles that speak about innovation: A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink_Blink by Malcolm Gladwell and The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida. " Jean Phifer, Art Institute of Chicago

"This volume is essential reading for everyone interested in the construction of the urban built environment." Susan S. Fainstein, Harvard University Graduate School of Design

"Mcneill makes sense of some of the key features of architecturetoday: its star architects, the international megapractices, its globally-recognised iconic building, those transnational formal fashions. His wonderfully well-researched account of global architecture artfully combines economic analysis of architectural firms, cultural readings of iconographic form, and political accounts of building regulations and planning. This is an original take on contemporary architecture. It looks behind those curvilinear facades, takes us into the complex political and economic foundations of today’s supertall skyscrapers, and introduces us to the many hands that render the celebrity designer into being. Mcneill not only provides us with ways of understanding what a global architecture is as a contextualised professional practice, but what and ethical global architecture practice might be."--Jane Jacobs, Geography, University of Edinburgh

Table of Contents

1. The globalization of architectural practice 2. Designing at distance 3. Architectural celebrity and the cult of the individual 4. The ‘Bilbao effect’ 5. Rem Koolhaas and the heteronomy of global capitalism 6. The geography of the skyscraper 7. The ethics of architectural practice

About the Author

Donald McNeill (Ph.D., University of Wales) is Associate Professor at the Urban Research Centre, University of Western Sydney, Australia. He is known for his research in urban geography, and in particular the relationship between architecture and urban space.

About the Series

Cultural Spaces

Cultural Spaces presents in-depth, sociological portraits and interpretations of geographical areas, social districts, and archaeological outcroppings that resonate with contemporary cultural innovations and conflicts.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Individual Architects & Firms / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General