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Jeanne Gang, the Anti-Zaha

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Not recently named to the British order, but perhaps well on her way to starchitecture is Jeanne Gang, the architect behind Chicago’s Aqua skyscraper, the world’s tallest building yet designed by a woman. The New Yorker‘s Paul Goldberger, who we’ll always welcome here to Chicago, files this great profile on Gang, who he describes as something of the exact opposite of starchitects in general, including the most famous female of the group, Zaha Hadid. “Hadid,” he writes, “is a brilliant shaper of form, but her buildings are nothing if not arbitrary, and the combination of her fame and her flamboyant designs has insidiously led people to assume that female architects tend to favor shape-making over problem-solving.” The critic goes on to introduce women who are similar to Gang, bucking that misconception, along the way providing a great profile on a rising star in the industry and on the beautiful building itself. Here’s a bit more about Gang from the close of his piece:

Gang has no interest in establishing a look that marks her buildings as hers. Her instincts are modern, but style alone doesn’t shape her work; materials, technology, and an ongoing attempt to see from the perspective of the people who will use the buildings mean much more to her. “You know, a lot of architects get into fetishized objects,” she said to me. “But when you can design anything you want without actually having to make it, you do wild things that can’t work. And that’s not what I want to do.”

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