"A manifesto of modernity in a Baroque city" says commenter

In this week’s comments update, readers discussed the Štvanice Footbridge in Prague, which was designed as a “sculpture in the city”.

Architects Petr Tej and Marek Blank worked with engineer Jan Mourek to create this minimalist bridge across the River Vitava in Prague, which was designed to resemble marble.

Štvanice Footbridge in Prague designed as a “sculpture in the city”

“A manifesto of modernity” 

Readers praised the minimalist design in the comments section, calling it “zen”, “refreshing” and “simple”.

“Zen and sober, a manifesto of modernity in a city famous for its Baroque architecture,” wrote Pa Varreon.

Ajay Shah also celebrated the design, commenting “it is so refreshing to see a design that is so simple and clear in thought”.

“Elegant simplicity best sums this beautiful bridge up,” wrote orlandoa1, while Jan thought it was “nice to see a new bridge from which motor vehicles are excluded”.

However, the design was overly simplistic for commenter M, who described the bridge as “sterile and dead.”

Simple or sterile? Join the discussion ›

Exterior of Ascentage Pharmaceutical Headquarters
Benzene rings inform patterned facades of Ascentage Pharmaceutical Headquarters

“Tried a couple of times to like this one, but can’t”

Also on commenters’ radars this week was the Ascentage Pharmaceutical Headquarters with patterned facades informed by Benzene rings.

New York studio OLI Architecture used parametric technology to design the decorative facades of this office complex in Suzhou for biotechnology company Ascentage Pharma.

The Ascentage Pharmaceutical Headquarters is spread across seven district buildings with facades informed by benzene – a molecule composed of six carbon atoms in a ring.

Gytis Bickus praised the design, exclaiming that it is “exactly what a pharmaceutical corp HQ should look like!”

Prado Sellinder was on the same page, stating “the facade reminds me of chemical bonds – looks great”.

“A stunning series of buildings!” commented Mikee. However, they went on to question the concept, adding “Benzene is an odd reference though – it’s highly carcinogenic”.

On the other side of the debate, HeywoodFloyd commented that they “tried a couple of times to like this one, but can’t,” and Don Brokema shared the same sentiment, calling the project “butt-ugly”.

Butt-ugly or Benzene beautiful? Join the discussion ›

California forever city courtyard illustration
Silicon Valley investors unveil controversial concept for new city in California

“Is this the best a group of billionaires can come up with?”

Commenters reacted to a controversial concept for a new city in California unveiled by a group of Silicon Valley Investors named Flannery Associates.

The plan to transform over 50,000 acres of farmland into a city in Solano County has sparked widespread criticism from locals over Flannery Associates’s quiet buying up of farmland.

In a collection of colourful illustrations, the city is depicted as a series of walkable neighbourhoods that the group said will offer “a chance for a new community”.

“This project bears zero resemblance to any urban planning style whatsoever,” wrote Steve C.

Several readers commented on the illustrations, with Menzo stating “those illustrations scream AI”. Amber agreed and wrote, “these are not ‘illustrations’, but AI-generated images”.

“The graphics style is the same as those wonderful British railways marketing posters from the 1930s. Is nothing sacred, or original anymore?” asked AlfredHitchcock in a comment that was upvoted five times.

“It’s really quite pathetic how little imagination and original thought has gone into this, but quite typical of the world these days,” they added.

Ming Cheng was more balanced in their assessment, arguing “it is admirable of our US friends to promote sustainable developments, putting cycling, walking and mixed-use development without cars at the forefront”.

They continued by questioning if “this the best a group of billionaires can come up with? Instead of creating a new city, why not use their wealth, power and political influence to solve the problems currently facing existing cities?”

Do you agree? Join the discussion ›

Comments update

Dezeen is the world’s most commented architecture and design magazine, receiving thousands of comments each month from readers. Keep up to date on the latest discussions on our comments page and subscribe to our weekly Debate newsletter, where we feature the best reader comments from stories in the last seven days.  

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