I can understand Hillary Clinton's sentiment, but I gotta quibble with the metaphor:
“We need a new architecture for this new world, more Frank Gehry than formal Greek,” Clinton said, after describing the system dominated by the United Nations, NATO and several other large organizations as the equivalent of the Classical Parthenon in Athens.
By contrast, there’s Gehry’s modern architecture. “Some of his work at first might appear haphazard, but in fact, it’s highly intentional and sophisticated,” Clinton said. “Where once a few strong columns could hold up the weight of the world, today we need a dynamic mix of materials and structures.” She pointed to the emergence of the G-20 during the financial crisis, the creation of international groups working on climate change and U.S.-Turkey cooperation on counterterrorism as examples of this new, varied architecture.
If Clinton wants to suggest that these new structures are examples of Gehry-like diplomatic architecture, then she also invites comparisons with some of Gehry's flaws. For instance, do these new diplomatic structures aim for the spectacular at the expense of the enduring? Do they fit naturally and work seamlessly within the existing environment, or do they tend to stand brashly and boldly outside the local vernacular? And were they commissioned by governments as marketing tools simply to make a bold statement and garner lots of attention?
Photo by Flickr user Paolo Margari.