How Much Does Your Conscience Weigh, Mr. Foster?

Dear Norman,

I just read the following in the Architect’s Journal:

“Amid an escalating crisis over the missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi authorities have announced Foster’s place on the advisory board of its $500 billion NEOM project.

An official statement seen by the AJ and dated last Tuesday (9 October) announced that Foster is one of 18 ‘global experts’ on NEOM’s global advisory board, which would help realise the mission of the proposed desert mega-city, described as the world’s most ambitious project.”

I know you superstar architects can never say no to a project when a generous budget is involved and you are given carte blanche by the client, not to mention immunity from environmental impact assessments, community participation workshops, or building permit applications. Those things –like taxes– are for little architects. You would know better than anyone.

I, for one, wish to hereby inform you of my refusal to cover the NEOM project in the future in any way, shape or form. And I call on all critics to follow suit.

Sincerely,

Rafa

 

P.S. Just so you don’t feel singled out, Rem was the recipient of a similar letter some years ago, on a similar topic.

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About Rafael Gomez-Moriana

I am an architect, writer and educator. rafagomo.com chronicles my architectural making, writing, teaching and curating activity, while criticalista.com is an archive of my writings as well as a platform for venting personal rants and observations. I studied architecture at the University of Waterloo (Canada) and at the Berlage Institute (the Netherlands). I direct the University of Calgary’s architecture term-abroad program in Barcelona, and have previously taught in the Metropolis Masters Program in Architecture and Urban Culture, CIEE Architecture and Design program, as well as at Carleton University and the University of Manitoba.

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