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More Swiss brilliance 

I don’t think the Nestle headquarters in Vevey is filled with nincompoops, but you have to wonder when you read that they are chasing one of the world’s poorest countries for $6 million. Leave aside the humanitarian concerns, which should be front and centre for the Swiss food giant, how can they calculate that pursuing the Ethiopians for a few million is going to benefit the corporation? How many disgusted customers — like me — need to decide not to buy their products before the cost is vastly greater than their suit seeks?

Add to the list of great Swiss events recently: the collapse of Swissair, the implosion of ABB, the rise of a xenophobic political party, etc, etc.

Architecture in lower Manhattan 

If you want to get a sense of what a certain crowd of today’s architects are thinking, it’s worth browsing through the seven designs submitted to replace the World Trade Center. These mark a huge step forward from the boring vanilla developers’ plans that raised such an outcry earlier this year, but there still is plenty of scope to go wrong.

To my eyes, the design choice should be a straight contest between Foster Associates and Daniel Liebeskind. And in the end, I’d plump for stormin’ Norman Foster. I think his design looks beautiful, and I know his practice has the ability to build it in a thoroughly accomplished way. Liebeskind is a wonderfully talented designer, but he’s never built anything remotely on this scale and god is in the details, as Mies once said.

Some of the other designs are absolutely wretched, particularly the strange grid presented by the revived New York Five — Richard Meier, Peter Eisenman, Gwathmey/Siegel et al.

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