Canada house and Tokyo Ito in the pink
I was amused to see that the top news story on the AJ’s newsletter this morning was about plans to revamp Canada House in London. The building is certainly prominent, sitting on Trafalgar Square, and it will be a great opportunity for an architect to win work. But the story was actually published on Friday, and is it really bigger than Toyo Ito winning the Pritzker Prize, which appeared on the listing below it?
The reason it amused me is because Christine Murray, the editor of the AJ, is Canadian, and I wondered whether either she had decided to give the story prominence, or a member of her team had done so to please her. Possibly not, of course, but it is a reminder that news, both for the people who write it and the people who read it, is not an entirely impersonal set of values.
We are all particularly interested in things that relate to our working lives, our region, our friends or our hobbies. Nobody puts on their hat marked ‘architect’ and ceases to be a human being. It is well known that in surveys respondents always complain about gossip and sensational news, yet that is the stuff that they look at and talk about. Apparently there was considerable discussion at MIPIM last week about BD’s agony uncle Matthew Barac’s response to a question by an architect contemplating an affair with his boss’s wife. That shouldn’t surprise anybody.
And journalists, like architects, have personalities and interests and prejudices. They know they are there to serve their readers, but of course a little of their own preferences creeps in. And jolly good too. Who would want a news service generated by some kind of automaton?
And just in case you think you are above such things … If you read the story about Toyo Ito, you doubtless considered whether you thought he was a worthy winner or not, and looked at the images of his buildings. But I bet you spent a little time at least looking at one of the portraits.