To look like a STARchitect…


You’re not a star until they can spell your name in Karachi. | Humphrey Bogart


To be a STARchitect you must follow few authoritarian guidelines. All those talks about creative spirit and free style are a total nonsense. An absolute discipline coupled with a strict uniform is a necessary condition to succeed. Oh… if you design cool projects it might help as well. Yet the look always comes first. And here are 10 ultimate proofs… (Click on the images to enlarge. Don’t be shy. The devil is always in the details)


 1.   COLOR. We all know The Color. This is the only color acceptable in architectural universe.

1-Philp Johnson; 2-Tadao Ando; 3-Jean Nouvel; 4-Daniel Libeskind (Nationality doesn’t matter – Color rules!)


2.   TIE. No tie whatsoever. If you wear a tie you are so old-fashioned. Yes Corbu and Philip Johnson sometimes were breaking a “no-tie” taboo, but first of all it was like a hundred years ago, and then Corbu had a bow-tie. That’s a completely different story. Now… Philip Johnson was actually wearing a regular tie but as you can see he has changed his mind about it later…

1-Koolhass; 2-Gehry; 3-Le Corbusier; 4-Philip Johnson breaks the rule; 4-b Mr. Johnson realizes his mistake


3.   EYE-WEAR. Funky glasses with tortoiseshell or black rim. I thought it’s a stereotype but hey… look at this! Yo, Franky, what’s wrong with your rim?

 1-Le Corbusier; 2-Philip Johnson; 3-Daniel Libeskind; 4-Frank Gehry (totally misses the point)


4.   HAIR. Grey hair is the coolest thing. It’s a classic one. Although sometimes things are going bad and you are going bold. No problem. Just make sure that whatever you have left is still grey. Now here’s the trick. If you don’t have a grey hair or you lose your hair in a not so elegant manner – shave it. Completely. Works perfectly (Trust me. I know it from my personal experience; I don’t need Jean Nouvel telling me this).

By the way bold and black is very sexy. Look at Jean…

1-Frank Gehry; 2-Peter Eisenman; 3-Herzog & de Meuron (nicely played, architects); 4-Jean Nouvel


5.   BEARD. Pretty neat element. As long as you keep it grey of course…

1-Eduardo de Souza; 2-Peter Zuhmtor; 3-Renzo Piano. Die Santa-Claus!


6.   SHIRT. Here you’ve got 2 very liberal choices. T-shirt (or a tirtle-neck) in the color of the architectural universe (see topic 1). Or a simple white shirt. Yes, sometimes it’s allowed. Especially for the super-events when you get a Nobel or a Pritzker Prize. Just make sure there’s no tie.  (Oh, sorry there’s no Nobel Prize in Architecture? I think it’s because we would refuse to wear a tuxedo and a tie).

1-Daniel Libeskind; 2-Frank Gehry; 3-Rem Koolhass; 4-Rem Koolhaas (preparing for Nobel Prize or what?); 5-Norman Foster; 6-Tadao Ando (very fancy indeed, who needs a tie with a shirt like this?!)


7.    SMOKING. Yes. Allowed. But it better be a pipe or a cigar… (Well… if you are Frank Lloyd Wright you can smoke a cigarette, wear a tie and even… yes wear another color… But your hair is still perfectly grey)

1-Mies van der Rohe; 2-Eero Saarinen; 3-Frank Lloyd Wright (a father of all starchitects)


8.  ACCESSORIES. Not necessary. But definitely helps. Hat, suspenders would be the best option. Just make sure you keep it black. Peter Eisenman went too far with that yellow-blue composition…

1-Frank Lloyd Wright; 2-Jean Nouvel; 3-Peter Eisenman (blue? yellow? WTF?)


9.    MODEL. Must have at least one picture with a physical architectural model (I hope you still remember what it is…) Doesn’t matter that it’s irrelevant, obsolete and has nothing to do with the actual building. It demonstrates that you are artsy…

1-Santiago Calatrava; 2-Philip Johnson;  3-Le Corbusier. Model & glasses is always a cool thing


Before we go to the last one… just press pause for a second and review the pictures. Isn’t it amazing? They really all wear black and have grey hair and hate tie… I mean maybe those stereotypes are not such stereotypes after all. There’s one more thing which is commonly shared between all starchitects. Have you noticed it? It’s not the color of their shirt or the rim of their eyewear. It’s not their hats or beards… Actually it is kinda related to their beards…


10.    SEX. It’s gonna sound a bit sexist… But if you want to be a starchitect you better be a man. Genius Zaha is just an exclusion confirming the rule. I am sorry but this is the world we live in..



Another extravagantly crazy architectural charts can be found  here >>



9 Responses to “To look like a STARchitect…”
  1. 100% agreed and all is true …..

  2. Tara Imani says:

    You’re briliant, Albert! I LOVE IT!!! Great pictures…to prove the stereotypes are real. Really enjoyed your post and the interesting way you put this together. The pictures with their models…priceless. Go blue! 🙂

  3. Megan says:

    Sigh….I don’t really have a desire to be a “Starchitect” but as a woman sometimes I feel I better try just on principle. It makes my blood boil that to be a known architect you’d better be a man (at least that’s what history says).

    • Albert says:

      It’s an ugly & stupid world out there, Megan. I’m glad my sarcastic note gets noticed.
      Frankly architecture is one of the most sexist and racist professions today if you think about it clearly without politically correct nonsense.

  4. Chechka says:

    so funnny…. and so true. Like it !!!

  5. spiros says:

    Seriously, you didn’t mention that age also matters. Worldwide, an Architect is officially considered young until the age of 40. He/she needs at least another 15~30 years in order to start looking like a stArchitect regardless of the rest of his/her appearance.

    PS. It looks like Mr Johnson at §2.TIE/ph.4b describes something he just saw at the woods 🙂

  6. Salena Badder says:

    Dr. Desmond Tobin, professor of cell biology from the University of Bradford in England, suggests that the hair follicle has a “melanogentic clock” which slows down or stops melanocyte activity, thus decreasing the pigment our hair receives. This occurs just before the hair is preparing to fall out or shed, so the roots always look pale. ”

    My own, personal blog page

  7. Nicolas Thévenin says:

    Fun analysis but models are far from irrelevant and obsolete, making models during the process gives us crucial information by the volumetry and in most cases presentation models help selling a project

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