When you’re a starchitect, it’s not just your projects that are scrutinised. People nitpick every quip, opinion and insight that comes out of your mouth.

This year, the big names were on form once more, not afraid to mince their words and speak their mind. Sure, actions speak louder than words, but that doesn’t mean we can’t indulge in a bit of verbal revelry. From architects’ slamdowns to bold one-liners, we bring you the best quotes of the year.

‘The only qualification you need to be an architect is optimism’ – Daniel Libeskind

Photography: Matt Thomas
Photography: Matt Thomas

Seven years of training to become an architect? Nah, just wear a smile on your face and adopt a glass half-full attitude. Libeskind delivered these words of wisdom, fittingly, at the Liverpool School of Art and Design. [via The Double Negative]

‘It is the most important social housing development from the post-war era in Britain’ – Richard Rogers

Photography: Steve Cadman
Photography: Steve Cadman

Rogers’ battle cry for saving London’s Robin Hood Gardens estate failed to win it a heritage listing, despite an outpouring of similar praise from fellow architects. When Rogers declared he would ‘absolutely’ live in Robin Hood Gardens, one resident dared him to swap his £12m Chelsea home for a flat in the building – designed by Alison and Peter Smithson. ‘I would happily have him live with me for a bit to experience what it’s like to truly live in this place,’ said Alfred Harris. [via Dezeen and the Telegraph]

‘If we do it right, we can really make the High Line look like a pishy thing’ – Frank Gehry

Credit: Los Angeles River Revitalization Corp
Credit: Los Angeles River Revitalization Corp

When news came out that Frank Gehry was masterplanning the LA River’s transformation, the architect made no bones about a certain East Coast project he wants to top. That’s if we’ve understood the word ‘pishy’ correctly… [via Time Out]

‘I have no power as an architect, none whatsoever’ – Norman Foster

Photography: Enrique Cidoncha
Photography: Enrique Cidoncha

It’s not an outburst you’d expect from one of Britain’s leading architects. Foster has designed the Gherkin, the Millennium Bridge and the new Apple Campus, but apparently he can’t even go on a construction site and tell someone what to do. [via The Guardian]

‘The destiny of any architect is to fight against gravity. Actually, it is the destiny of everybody to fight against gravity’ – Renzo Piano

Photography: Oliver25
Photography: Oliver25

Now we know why the Shard is so tall… [via The Value of Architecture]

‘Diplomacy? Not my best talent!’ – Zaha Hadid

zaha

She walked out of a BBC Radio 4 interview over false allegations about her Qatar stadium in the same year that she attacked Japanese architects who rallied against her design for Tokyo’s Olympic stadium. Zaha’s international relations could do with some smoothing over, it seems. [via the Huffington Post]

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