The big architectural news of the last decade is not the notoriety of starchitects or the Bilbao Effect, it is the growing predominance of the megafirms, multi-city and multi-national practices whose employees number in the thousands, and whose revenues are measured in hundreds of millions of dollars. Large firms date back to McKim, Mead & White in the early twentieth century, and later Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. But in 1920, the widely respected McKim, Mead & White Monograph could be found in drafting rooms across the nation, and SOM, at least in its early days, produced some modern classics such as Lever House, and the Air Force Academy. What distinguishes the Genslers, Aedas’, and Perkins & Wills of today’s world is their lack of architectural conviction. They are the architectural equivalent of Wonder Bread producers, churning out buildings in designs that mimic whatever is the current style. This is not “corporate architecture,” it is, rather, production-line architecture.

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