Witold Rybczynski, Slate’s architecture critic takes a look at how architects brand themselves.

What makes an architect into a brand? Part of the recognition of a brand depends on what people who study such things call its “personality.” Foster & Partners, whose Web site lists projects ranging from a congress hall in Kazakhstan to the Elephant House of the Copenhagen Zoo, is an international brand with a definite personality: Technical Solutions to Difficult Problems. Foster’s chief rival is the Renzo Piano Building Workshop. The Piano brand, which conveys a sense of bespoke elegance, has been affixed to museums, airports, and office towers. It’s more like Stylish Solutions to Any Problem.

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