Architect’s Journal has reported on an embarrassing – and controversial – fumble from the BBC. Not only has the media outlet been criticized for “largely ignoring women architects in its series The Brits Who Built the Modern World,” but it’s now come under fire for an image (appearing at the beginning of episode 3) in which Patty Hopkins is photoshopped out of a group that includes her husband Michael Hopkins, Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Nicholas Grimshaw, and Terry Farrell.
The six architects are featured in RIBA’s tie-in-exhibition; however, as the series chose to focus on the five male architects, the photographer removed Ms. Hopkins from the shot (unbeknownst to the BBC).
Lucy Mori of KL Mori Business Consulting for Architects told Architect’s Journal: ‘I am shocked that women’s contribution to architecture has again been “airbrushed” from this populist history programme.”
BBC’s Sarah Montague interviews Renzo Piano, the mastermind behind London’s most controversial and newest skyscraper: ‘The Shard’. Prior to the interview, Montague spotted Piano blending into the crowd during the opening of the 310-meter skyscraper “spying” on the onlookers. When asked about this moment, Piano revealed the great advice he received from the prominent Italian film director Roberto Rossellini upon the completion of the Pompidou Center in Paris: “You do not look at the building, you look at the people looking at the building.” It was during this moment that Piano observed “surprise” and “wonder, but not fear” amongst the onlookers – a reaction he seemed to be content with.
Despite Piano’s attempt to refrain from controversy, it is hard to avoid when your design intends to celebrate a “shift in society” as does the ‘Shard’. Change tends to stir mixed emotions and spark debate. However, being part of this “human adventure” as an architect is what Piano finds most rewarding. He states: “You don’t change the world as an architect, but you celebrate the change of the world.”