Celebrating Architecture / by Michelle Linden

This week marks the start of both the Rotterdam City of Architecture 2007 (which was officially kicked off on April 5th) and the America's First National Architecture Week (which begins April 9th).

Rotterdam is trying to reassert itself as the premier city for architecture in the Netherlands and abroad. It has long been home to some spectacular architectural firms, but the actual building in the city sometimes falls behind. Rotterdam's mayor has helped to provide a program of events including sites, stories , books, tours, workshops, and more. All of the projects are further enhanced by purple (in some fashion) in order to reaffirm the concept for the cities' inhabitants and visitors alike.

At the same time, the AIA is in the midst of celebrating its 150th anniversary, with the National Architecture Week coinciding with the opening of the 'America's Favorite Architecture' exhibit. Additional events include green exhibits, walking tours, and an AIA Kids' Day.

I think the comparison between the events says a lot about the priorities of the American and Dutch public. Our national celebration receives far less public exposure than Rotterdam's citywide events, yet the 150th anniversary should be a significant milestone. Although I'm glad that we are celebrating architecture in the United States, I wish (as always) that it was a bigger part of the greater social conscience.