Rather than championing culture only for an elite group of professionals – and asking for money just for the huge institutions – Culture Montreal was better received by city and provincial governments, says Brault. Their goals were less arrogant: to increase cultural access for Montrealers, and to include culture as part of the solution to any civic problems. They achieved this, Brault says, by making everyone feel as though culture was a daily part of everyone’s life, not something for a sophisticated few. “There is definitely room for starchitects, but it’s always better to tap into local culture rather than buy it from outside. You can’t do culture in a city without involving citizens,” he said.
So, which is the better way for cities – bottom-up cultural movements or big-ticket splashes? “Of course, there will always be top-down decisions,” Brault said. “The key is to look for a middle ground.”
“Charleston cannot be a net importer of architectural ideas,” he said. “Charleston has to model its own genetic material, which is considerable and sophisticated. And Charleston has to become an exporter of architectural ideas. The world is fascinated by Charleston. Charleston is the greatest influence of my own work.” The city and Historic Charleston Foundation spent $79,000 to bring Duany in for advice as longtime Mayor Joe Riley prepares to leave office and as the city is experiencing a prosperous new era that will only intensify interest in building here. “We ain’t seen nothing yet,” said Winslow Hastie, chief preservation officer of the Historic Charleston Foundation. “We’re barely seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of density and development. The future is happening, and it’s happening fairly rapidly, and we have to get this figured out sooner rather than later.” One of the biggest complaints Duany heard during his time in Charleston was that the city’s larger new buildings look a lot like new buildings in Atlanta or Charlotte — that they aren’t unique enough to carry the Charleston brand. via Andres Duany unveils his prescription for Charleston architecture – Post and Courier.