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Modern Baroque.

ERICK VAN EGERAAT: 10 YEARS REALISED WORKS

Introduction by Philip Jodidio, Mulgrave: The Images Publishing Group. 2005. [pounds sterling]35

Silver and pink are Erick van Egeraat trademark colours. This ten year survey is no exception with Christian Richters' big photography on black pages and fashionable graphics. Erick van Egeraat's style is flamboyant and flirts with good-bad taste. Although only just breasting the half century tape he already has design offices in five European capitals, each one moving more east than the last, and now has associates from nine nationalities directing over a hundred employees.

Egeraat calls his architecture Modern Baroque. 'What I intend to achieve with a building is not the minimum, but on the contrary richness, complexity. More! Richer!' Perhaps this is what appeals to the former cities of the Austrian Empire after their dry aesthetic period as members of the Ost-Bloc. EEA's popularity seems to prove that people crave exuberance and organic titillation, like the brick Moby Dick emerging from the first floor of the Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, the ribbed bubble on the ING Bank roof or the unnerving leaning Leiden University building. It's an architecture with addictive ingredients. ING Real Estate, the Capital Group Moscow, and J & T Global of Bratislava have all come back for more and EEA have always found appreciative clients in their base country.

What puts the conservative modernists' back up is van Egeraat's presentation of architecture as sexy. Professor of Cultural Theory, Terry Eagleton, would appear to encourage the EEA view. 'One of the towering achievements of cultural theory has been to establish gender and sexuality as legitimate objects of study, as well as matters of insistent political importance ... intellectual life for centuries was conducted on the tacit assumption that human beings had no genitals.' (1) EEA manage to mix logic and functionalism with those secret ingredients--sex and the superfluous. Who else would have looked to Russian Constructivist painters for inspiration in the design of five Moscow apartment towers, or confronted a German architects seminar with Madonna, Britney Spears and finger popping, hip-hopping music while announcing that taste was all about skin? (2)

1 Terry Eagleton, After Theory, Allen Lane, 2003.

2 'Architektur und Kochkultur', architects event at Cloister Erbach, Rheingau, 2004.
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Title Annotation:Erick van Egeraat: 10 Years Realised Works
Author:Dawson, Layla
Publication:The Architectural Review
Article Type:Book review
Date:Oct 1, 2006
Words:372
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