Foster’s Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Thomas De Monchaux reviews Foster’s knitting together of the MFA’s various pieces in this week’s Architect’s Newspaper, and gives it a mixed review–competent and diligent, well-detailed, but with a few missteps.

This project came into the office while I was there–more than 12 years ago–and it has always been one of those alternate realities. ¬†So I’ve been interested in its outcome, of course, but today’s review included what I think is a really cogent description of Foster’s work, and of an entire way of thinking about design that resonates well:

What makes Foster + Partners an essential institution in world architecture is their neo-modern seriousness, both technological and rhetorical, about architecture as a form of environmental and cultural problem-solving. This powerfully counterbalances a contemporary tendency towards trivial formalism and material excess, especially in large-scale cultural buildings of this type…

The idea that design is, first and foremost, problem-solving won’t strike many as an enlightened view, but at its best Foster’s work has always been about expressing this process at all levels, from coarse-scale circulatory and programmatic problems down to issues of detailing and construction.