Monday, September 15, 2008

Society for Architectural Insignificance: Frank Gehry

After decades of mediocre projects such as the mall at the 3rd street Promenade and his private residence in Santa Monica, Frank Gehry finally has his breakthrough "success" at Bilbao, Spain in 1997. It seems we are stuck with this iteration of his work from here to the end of his career as his work since 1997 has essentially been a re-gurgitation of Bilbao.

The EMP in Seattle is a poster child for the Society for Architectural Insignificance. Situated at the base of the mighty Seattle Space Needle, EMP embodies all that is wrong with modern architecture.
  1. It looks just like all of Gehry's other crumpled up metal buildings.
  2. Somebody thought it would be cool to take a torch to it to change the color of the metal skin.
  3. By most accounts, the EMP is a financial failure
Wikipedia points out the following criticisms of Gehry's work:
  • The buildings waste structural resources by creating functionless forms
  • The buildings are apparently designed without researching the local climate
  • The spectacle of a building often overwhelms its intended use (especially in the case of museums and arenas)
  • The buildings do not seem to belong in their surroundings "organically"
Gehry admitted during a TED Talk interview that Bilbao was his first design that did not leak. He isn't pushing construction techniques for any purpose other than being avant garde. Enough!

I have to admit I do like:

The Dancing House in Prague
Gehry Tower in Hannover
Der Neue Zollhof

Photo Source

12/1/08 UPDATE: I am not the only person that is not impressed by Gehry's mediocrity!

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