Although prefabrication has a long history - the ancient Romans shipped pre-cut stone columns, pediments, and other architectural elements to their colonies in North Africa, where the numbered parts were reassembled into temples - the idea took on a new impetus with the technological advances of the Industrial Revolution.
Cost overruns are not uncommon in architecture, particularly for designs that depart from structural or technological norms, or demand a finer quality of execution than commercial schemes - conditions typical of buildings for cultural institutions. Budgets are exceeded for many reasons, not all of them within an architect's control.
The magnificent lobby of the Chrysler Building - faced with rare marbles, aglitter with decorative metalwork, and surmounted by a ceiling painted with a totemic image of the tower itself - leads to elevator cabs inlaid with exotic woods in fanciful patterns. The entire route from street to office is invested with ceremony, dignity, and delight.
During the nineteenth century, the rapid emergence and proliferation of new manufacturing methods and building technologies led to the establishment of polytechnic schools that concentrated on the practicalities of engineering and construction rather than the niceties of stylistic correctness or adherence to established precedent.
The work that launched Snohetta into the architectural big leagues was their Oslo Opera House, which will certainly rank among the firm's highlights whatever else they may do. Although this is by any measure a triumph of city planning, the building itself is not quite a masterpiece, though very fine indeed.
When Oscar Niemeyer died on December 5, 2012, ten days before his 105th birthday, he was universally regarded as the very last of the twentieth century's major architectural masters, an astonishing survivor whose most famous accomplishment, Brasilia, was the climactic episode of utopian High Modern urbanism.
Masterpieces of art possess immense potential to advance a worldview that could help assuage the societal terrors posed by globalization, the most thoroughgoing socioeconomic upheaval since the Industrial Revolution, which has set off a pandemic of retrogressive nationalism, regional separatism, and religious extremism.