November 27, 2012

Look what raccoons did to this cardboard box full of food I left out in the yard

Oh, wait, sorry, this is the new $185 million Perot Museum in Dallas designed by award-winning genius Thom Mayne. It only looks like it was slashed up by angry raccoons.

However, the Perot Museum is cheaper than the Giant Japanese Robot from Outer Space high school in L.A., so it's got that going for it, which is nice.

Mayne's big breakthrough was the Ministry of Love in downtown L.A., a.k.a. the Death Star, a.k.a. the Caltrans Building

Seriously, I've walked around Mayne's Caltrans Building for 15 minutes, and it simply radiates hostility toward any humans unlucky enough to have to deal with it. For example, on the ground floor, Mayne designed a large outdoor staircase that twists up and around out of sight and then ... dead ends. It's a trick! Ha-ha, burn on you, you pathetic sap who got lured in.

I had a chance once to visit Stalin's Lubyanka Prison in Moscow, which was at the heart of the Great Terror. I passed on it in revulsion. But, Caltrans would be a highly appropriate setting for the Black Mariahs to unload.

But, here's the thing. Big money (Caltrans, Ross Perot or one of his kids) loves Mayne. He's edgy! So, eventually, we will too. Over time, we will get the message: this is what expensive good taste looks like. Get with the program.

Ray Sawhill points out that Thom Mayne has inflicted this upon his pleasant, tree-lined, midrise Greenwich Village for Cooper Union, the small, very rich engineering and architecture college:
Look at the two traditional (1890s?) buildings beyond this thing.

Let me ask a question about trends: when I visited a bunch of colleges a half decade ago, it seemed to me that most of the new buildings (and there were a lot of new buildings) were not unattractive. Mostly, rather than attention-hogging monstrosities, they looked as if the architects had been given firm instructions: "Make it look like the 1920s buildings on campus, just with bigger windows." Was my sample skewed or had there been an unexpected outbreak of good taste?

102 comments:

Anonymous said...

shitsch

Anonymous said...

from rococo to racoocoo

Anonymous said...

At $185 million, it's still a bargain compared to this construction.

Anonymous said...

The COMINTERN plan is proceeding exactly as, well, planned.


Off topic, a commenter on a Wall Street Journal article said, "Banks are the reason we aren't Somalia".

LOL!

Anonymous said...

The front of the building looks like a giant punched card. Any of you old-time hackers remember punched cards?

Anonymous said...

" had a chance once to visit Stalin's Lubyanka Prison in Moscow, that was at the heart of the Great Terror. I passed on it in revulsion."

Then you have no taste whatsoever. The old KGB building on Lubianka is beautiful. I'm not saying this ironically. It really is. It wasn't built under Stalin. It was built as an insurance company headquarters in the 19th century. And yes, Stalinist architecture itself, i.e. the stuff that was built under his supervision, is beautiful too. It's unquestionably the best architecture of the 20th century worldwide.

Anonymous said...

"Over time, we will get the message: this is what expensive good taste looks like."

This building is nothing. The most expensive (and of course most effective) way to show your good taste is to applaud as tens of millions of poor-performing immigrants enter your country, and smirk about the end of "white" America when these immigrants have massive amounts of children via their high birthrates. Sometimes I ask myself whether there might be a way to discern which immigrants are likely to improve this country before they are allowed cross the border, but then I remind myself to stop being such a racist and let everyone in.

x said...

i think he was implying he was more revolted at the building because of what went on inside it, rather than what it looks like on the outside.

i think the big punch card in dallas is funny.

Harry Baldwin said...

Over time, we will get the message: this is what expensive good taste looks like.

Big-budget buildings from the 1960s look more hideous to me every year, so evidently I'm not getting the message. For example, the
Knights of Columbus building in my town of New Haven. The equally hideous New Haven Coliseum, designed by the same architect, was closed 30 years after it was built.

Anonymous said...

I'd say rabid raccoons.

It makes me long for the waffle-iron Bauhaus days.

FrankC

Brett_McS said...

I walked out of the main train station in Milan some years ago, turned around and looked at the building, and got they same sense of radiating hostility. I don't know, but I guess it is an example of Fascist architecture.

Anonymous said...

Yikes, and I thought that CalTrans building was ugly during the five years or so it was being built.

One does wonder how it will age. The older monumental governmental architecture in downtown LA has mostly aged better - City Hall still looks great, despite the yahoos currently inhabiting it.

Anonymous said...

4:42 Anon

When I was a kid in the early 90s, my parents and some other neighborhood parents had a babysitting co-op. They used those punched cards as their currency, to "pay" for watching eachother's kids. It was a great system as far as I can remember.

Anonymous said...

I had a chance once to visit Stalin's Lubyanka Prison in Moscow

Sounds like you were lied to. What Lubyanka prison? The famous Lubyanka building that is headquarters of NKVD/KGB/FSB is still occupied by the same owners... And I doubt that's the guys you went to visit. There was never a separate prison on Lubyanka St - just a bunch of temporary detention cells in the inside yard (and mostly underground) of the big building. They are only accessible through the main building. Here is how it looks:

http://www.ils.uec.ac.jp/~dima/D/kgbmap0.jpg

Anonymous said...

" For example, on the ground floor, Mayne designed a large outdoor staircase that twists up and around out of sight and then ... dead ends. It's a trick! Ha-ha, burn on you, you pathetic sap who got lured in."

Lol, I would laugh if that happened to me. Would remind me not to take things too seriously. Most people probably don't think that way, and I like the statement that they should.

a Newsreader said...

But, here's the thing. Big money (Caltrans, Ross Perot or one of his kids) loves Mayne. He's edgy! So, eventually, we will too. Over time, we will get the message: this is what expensive good taste looks like. Get with the program.

I'm not sure that the big money types actually love this crap. I imagine they get bullied into it by the arts establishment (which maintains its establishment status by humiliating rich people like Ross Perot).

Anonymous said...

Тhom Мayne looks very much like Steve Jobs. Any idea of who he is ethnically?

Kodiak Kyle said...

Just think of all the lap dances he could've gotten for that much $$$

Anonymous said...

See, this is why I love Prince Charles. He loves his horsey mistress, the outdoors, and organic farming and he hates modern architecture. What's not to like?

countenance said...

Caltrans building looks like the Southern Poverty Law Center building.

slumber_j said...

Somebody or other comments:

"And yes, Stalinist architecture itself, i.e. the stuff that was built under his supervision, is beautiful too. It's unquestionably the best architecture of the 20th century worldwide."

Now I would say that sort of thing is triumphalist kitsch, with massing that reeks of overkill--which more or less dovetails with various aspects of Stalinism, come to think of it. Is it really better than, say, the Chrysler Building? I certainly wouldn't say so. But there's no accounting for taste.

Thom Mayne is a nice guy with novel ideas that happen to make for bad buildings in many cases. Whoever says above that rich people get cowed into funding this stuff by arts-establishment types is I think on the right track.

Check out Zaha Hadid's Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center if you want to see more of this sort of thing. As Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote of Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler, "In case you want an emetic, there it is." In this case, if you're prone to vertigo, literally:

http://www.galinsky.com/buildings/cac-cincinnati/index.htm

Kylie said...

"The old KGB building on Lubianka is beautiful. I'm not saying this ironically. It really is. It wasn't built under Stalin. It was built as an insurance company headquarters in the 19th century."

I agree. I recently saved this pic of it just because it is so beautiful:

Lubyanka

slumber_j said...

By the way, the worst example (functionally speaking) of this sort of thing was the Family Courts Building in Manhattan as originally conceived in its coldhearted Brutalism:

http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9601

Unintentionally apt, when you think about it.

Anonymous said...

tbh, i do really enjoy gehry.

Anonymous said...

The front of the building looks like a giant punched card. Any of you old-time hackers remember punched cards?

It's been done. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_Financial_Center

Anonymous said...

http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2012/11/the-50-best-albums-of-2012.html

Anonymous said...

anonymous:"And yes, Stalinist architecture itself, i.e. the stuff that was built under his supervision, is beautiful too. It's unquestionably the best architecture of the 20th century worldwide."

And people say that The Onion has the best ironic humor on the web!Seriously, one has to admire a man (woman?) who can say that Stalinist kitsch was the high point of 20th century architecture with a straight face.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I know what that can be used for:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgUBxJRtFng

Whiskey said...

The Caltrans building really does look like a death star.

Beefy Levinson said...

I think it's appropriate that the Japanese space robot high school is across the highway from the Taj Mahoney, aka the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Cardinal Mahoney was the heir to the Bernardin machine after the late Chicago Cardinal went on to his eternal reward. Mahoney became the champion of liberal Catholicism and that cathedral is one of his legacies. You cock your head, look at it from different angles, and think "I guess it's a Catholic cathedral..." but you can't help but feel some vague disquiet, like something still isn't right.

visited moscow in the bad days said...

to anonymous at 5-23 - I assume he means the one on ploshad dzerzhinskovo. Yankee stadium is not on Yankee street in the Bronx, after all. But maybe you are right, I wasn't there.

Anonymous said...

@Kylie:
I recently saved this pic of it just because it is so beautiful: Lubyanka

Alas, the modern building built in place of the old one has little in common with the features you like. See here:
http://www.retromoscow.narod.ru/moscow_back-to-the-future_038.html

@visited moscow in the bad days:
Ploshad Dzerzhinskovo used to be called Lubyanka Ploshad. Lubyanka street begins from it.

Ray Sawhill said...

Take a look at the piece of goofy crapola that Thom Mayne (and his sponsors) have recently inflicted on Greenwich Village. Yup, Greenwich Village -- low-lying traditional informal buildings, cobblestone streets, trees, cafés, etc. America's own Left Bank. Mayne's building looks to me like a chic refrigerator that just got rescued from a giant trash compactor. Fits right in.

A while back I ran across an unintentionally hilarious piece that Mayne (or an assistant) wrote claiming that the building DOES fit into Greenwich Village because GV is eclectic, various, and progressive -- "diverse," dontcha know it -- and what is Mayne's building if not diverse and progressive?

slumber_j said...

The LA Cathedral gets a somewhat justifiable bad rap. God knows, the exterior is in keeping with all the worst latter-day architectural tendencies of the One True Church. This is particularly true when you consider the pedestrian approach across an unrelenting span of hardscape plaza in the hot noonday sun of Southern California.

But I'd say the interior is much better in its beautifully restrained respect for the majesty of the Faith--neither grandiose nor at all dismissive:

http://www.pixelmap.com/dma_moneo_08.html

And I'm not Catholic, by the way, nor even especially Christian.

Ray Sawhill said...

To the commenters who think that something called "the arts establishment" is inflicting these aesthetic horrors on poor unsuspecting billionaires: Who on earth do you suppose sits on arts boards? (Hint: it's mostly rich people.) Time to adjust your picture of how the world works. It isn't radical profs and dandy aesthetes vs the businesspeople. It's all the above vs all of us. The fashionable architecture world especially is a huge moosh of schools, big money, media outlets, foundations, critics, and prizes.

As for the dissenters, well, you'll hardly ever hear about them, because (given how Big Money,Big Media, and Big Education control the discussion) how would you? My tip: you might begin by checking out such names as Christopher Alexander, Andres Duany, Leon Krier, Nikos Salingaros, Quinlan Terry ...

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZRb9brLh6k

Anonymous said...

peeling wallpaper look.

Steve Sailer said...

Yes, the interior of the L.A. Cathedral is quite good.

Also, Gehry's Disney concert hall in downtown L.A. is silly but pleasant enough on the eyes. (It was designed before his famous Bilbao but built after.) Gehry's staff in the early 1990s bought a CAD package for designing sailboats and they used it to design the abstract metal sculpture that encases the building, giving it a nautical air. Sailboats almost have to be elegant, so the giant sculpture came out reminiscent of sailing, and there could be a lot worse things than that.

Ray Sawhill said...

For a giggle, have a read of the New York Times' review of Mayne's Cooper Union building.

Hunsdon said...

Anonydroid at 5:59 said: See, this is why I love Prince Charles. He loves his horsey mistress, the outdoors, and organic farming and he hates modern architecture. What's not to like?

Hunsdon echoed: Hear, hear. Ordinarily the story goes that the rich/famous/powerful man leaves his ugly wife for a bit of hot young blonde fluff. Charles did the opposite. I think he really loves Camilla, as awkward as that has been. (And it has been awkward.) His enthusiasms are mostly in line with mine. (Someone ask it: "So, Hunsdon, you dig on ugly chicks too?") The whole "Defender of Faith" I could do without, much preferring "Defender of the Faith" but mayhap he is simply recognizing a reality I prefer to avoid. He wears tweeds and kilts. We could do a lot worse.

Anonymous said...

"Ray Sawhill points out that Thom Mayne has inflicted this upon lovely, tree-lined, midrise Greenwich Village"

Looks like broken mosquito net.

slumber_j said...

@Ray Sawhill

Point taken about rich people's place on the boards. But you don't think there's a cultural cringe going on here? With Ross Perot, say? I do.

ben tillman said...

Yeah, my wife hates that building.

Look what raccoons did to this cardboard box full of food I left out in the yard

It's pretty amusing to imagine Ross's reaction. There's a creek that runs through his estate in Preston Hollow, and Ross doesn't seem to much like the wildlife it harbors. A friend who lives next door to Ross really got a kick out of a voicemail Ross left him once: "---, this is Ross Perot. I saw a fox on your property, and I want to know what you're going to do about it."



Steve Sailer said...

Admire it?

Perhaps Ross has a henhouse?

Elli said...

Steve, you must have missed MIT's Simmons Hall.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Simmons_Hall,_MIT,_Cambridge,_Massachusetts.JPG

gumm said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/05/arts/design/05coop.html

"Designed by Thom Mayne of the Los Angeles firm Morphosis, it is not a perfect building, but it is the kind of serious work that we don’t see enough of in New York: a bold architectural statement of genuine civic value."

Civic value? Maybe civicious.

Ray Sawhill said...

slumber_j -- I don't know anything about Perot or about how his museum came about. Generally speaking, though, don't rich people generally like to do and support what other rich people are doing and supporting? In this case, the Perot family and their advisors hired the same guy that many of the other bigwigs are hiring.

Does that kind of behavior qualify in some respects as "culturally cringing"? I don't know, maybe it does.

Steve Sailer said...

"MIT's Simmons Hall."

Ouch.

AllanF said...

How can you explain such hideous crap except that "Who" decides to re-enact an Ayn Rand tale as a test to see what they are capable of getting away with. In other words, how far can they push it? Who is still a useful idiot? Who has defected? The huge dollar amounts are to ensure the test results are valid.

LA - check (meh, those coke-heads will go for anything)
Dallas - check (meh, those mamon-worshipers will go for anything with a deep wallet behind it)
Greenwich - check (Um, meh? those SWPL will go for anything associated with the zeitgeist?)

gumm said...


"MIT's Simmons Hall."

http://www.thecityreview.com/phaid41.jpg

Not pretty but interesting, which is at least something.

I rather like it. It's challenging than merely annoying.

Anonymous said...

http://waxbanks.typepad.com/blog/2008/11/prestige-architecture.html

ben tillman said...

Perhaps Ross has a henhouse?

LOL -- his estate is 17 acres, so he certainly has room for one, but somehow I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

http://uncensoredsimon.blogspot.com/2012/11/my-music.html

Anonymous said...

I suspect that high-status schools tend not to seek fame by hiring fancy/trendy architects. Medium-status schools, maybe they do.

H/Y/P all have a little Gehry, for instance -- Yale's small Gehry is literally the nut-house! -- but Princeton's huge new college is ultra-traditional, even reactionary in style. Pretty.

Anonymous said...

a tribute to pong.

Kylie said...

"'@Kylie:
I recently saved this pic of it just because it is so beautiful: Lubyanka'

Alas, the modern building built in place of the old one has little in common with the features you like."


I know. I saw that. That's why I saved the older pic.

Manolo said...

The most humane and civilized American public building of the past decade is to be found in Nashville.

The question is, how did the Schermerhorn Symphony Center ever slip by the dimbulb nabobs of the architecture establishment?

Anonymous said...

I generally find Am. college architecture detestable in every era. The colonial Amherst/Dartmouth fake-Georgian Paul-Revere-kitsch style is the worst. I like some of the International stuff, e.g. Saarinen's hockey rink at New Haven...

Anonymous said...

Years ago, if a mason built something 'out of plumb', he'd get told off.

J said...

It will be considered classic and conservative a generation from now. Architects are using new materials, new concepts (like saving energy)and in general they are exploring new possibilities. I find it difficult to like, but look how we got used to Warhol, Pollack, expressionism, etc.

Simon in London said...

Modern US college architecture needs to attract parents & students, so it is tasteful and attractive, designed to evoke feelings of trust. Although it can veer into kitsch if badly done, I think they usually avoid that.

x said...

now now, speak for yourself. i never got used to warhol and pollock despite being born in 1986. the moment i saw pollock's "no. 5" i thought "hey that looks like something i could do in five minutes in art class" - this when i was in 6th or so grade.

Steve Sailer said...

Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville

Wow.

Never heard of it, but it looks like a great place to get dressed up and go to a symphony. It looks like the instructions to the architect were to make it look like the best buildings of the 1820s, just with bigger windows.

TH said...

It will be considered classic and conservative a generation from now. Architects are using new materials, new concepts (like saving energy)and in general they are exploring new possibilities. I find it difficult to like, but look how we got used to Warhol, Pollack, expressionism, etc.

I have heard that line ("it will take time before it's appreciated") about "masterpieces" of modernist architecture built in the first half of the 20th century, which is just silly. Novel designs will meet with criticism at first, but if those criticisms won't die down in a few years or a couple of decades at most, it's obvious that they never will.

It's clear that lots of supposedly great 20th and 21th century art and architecture will never be appreciated outside of a small circle of aficionados.

Anonymous said...

That's not raccoons, that's termite damage.

DaveinHackensack said...

Ray Sawhill,

"To the commenters who think that something called "the arts establishment" is inflicting these aesthetic horrors on poor unsuspecting billionaires: Who on earth do you suppose sits on arts boards? (Hint: it's mostly rich people.)"

Sure, but rich people were usually to busy getting rich to become experts on the stuff old money is supposed to know about, so someone's got to hold their hands. At least that was Tom Wolfe's take in Back To Blood, where he has billionaires getting "advised" on what hideous "de-skilled" post-modern art they should collect.

Anonymous said...

" For example, on the ground floor, Mayne designed a large outdoor staircase that twists up and around out of sight and then ... dead ends. It's a trick! Ha-ha, burn on you, you pathetic sap who got lured in."

I suspect it is a ruse borrowed from Sarah Winchester - to fool the ghosts.

Podsnap said...

It will be considered classic and conservative a generation from now. Architects are using new materials, new concepts (like saving energy)and in general they are exploring new possibilities.I find it difficult to like, but look how we got used to Warhol, Pollack, expressionism, etc.

I never did.

The worst thing that ever happened was that Van Gogh never sold a painting (other than to Theo). And was a great artist.

Anonymous said...

Chapman University is adding to its historic corridor by adding a classical style building exactly like the ones erected in the 1920s. And their new expansions are definitely conservative in taste: lots of brick, pillars, and overhangs.

But then, Chapman is growing its brand by appealing to right-leaning WASPs in O.C.

Anonymous said...

"Was my sample skewed or had there been an unexpected outbreak of good taste?"

My alma mater, Boston College, definitely showed something resembling good taste with their most recent building, at least regarding the exterior. The main part of the campus is loaded with superb examples of early 20th c. collegiate Gothic structures (http://www.bc.edu/offices/historian/resources/guide/bapst.html). From the '60s through the '80s, they erected structures that, while not unspeakably hideous in the way most modern buildings are, were nonetheless clearly meant to be halfhearted attempts at modernism- sort of "We can't get away with Le Corbusier in solid concrete because it would clash with the old Gothic buildings, but we'll use real stone to build the next closest thing" (see http://www.bc.edu/offices/historian/resources/guide/mcguinn.html and http://www.bc.edu/offices/historian/resources/guide/oneill.html). The new building, though, looks a lot more like the four original structures than it does the 1960s junk. There are some updated modern-ish features, and the building is much simpler in its facade than the old ones (probably so it won't distract from them), but it's not something people will want to see torn down in 50 years: http://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/offices/pubaf/pdf/stokeshalledition928update5.pdf

a Newsreader said...

To the commenters who think that something called "the arts establishment" is inflicting these aesthetic horrors on poor unsuspecting billionaires: Who on earth do you suppose sits on arts boards? (Hint: it's mostly rich people.) Time to adjust your picture of how the world works. It isn't radical profs and dandy aesthetes vs the businesspeople. It's all the above vs all of us. The fashionable architecture world especially is a huge moosh of schools, big money, media outlets, foundations, critics, and prizes.

As for the dissenters, well, you'll hardly ever hear about them, because (given how Big Money,Big Media, and Big Education control the discussion) how would you? My tip: you might begin by checking out such names as Christopher Alexander, Andres Duany, Leon Krier, Nikos Salingaros, Quinlan Terry ...


I didn't mean to imply that the arts establishment is a small thing. I'm arguing that it is a wing of the general progressive establishment. This establishment is full of rich people, but not all rich people are in it.

What seems to be happening here, is that a wealthy man who is low status in the progressive world is trying to buy his way into that world by submitting himself to its judgment. To us, it looks like a humiliating cringe, the equivalent of admitting publicly that 2+2 indeed equals 5.

Perhaps in a couple years, Ross Perot's epithet will change from "Billionaire Failed Presidential Candidate" to "Philanthropist" in the pages of the New York Times.

David Davenport said...

David Davenport said...
schermerhorn-symphony-center is approximately four blocks away from the traditional home of Nashville's country music, the Ryman Auditorium, which started out as the Union Gospel Tabernacle.

The Schermerhorn expresses the tastes and asperations of Nashville's old money people, who have always disdained the music business.

The Schmerhorn is also about two small blocks away from Nashville's

Country Music Hall of Fame

Local gooberment and music biz entities cooked up the Country Music Hall of Fame. Sez the websitee re the Hall of Fame:

"The museum cost a whopping 37 million dollars and was designed by two local architecture firms and I was told from a friend that the museum was designed to look like a 1950s Cadillac tail fin with “piano keys” as windows which a lady inside confirmed."

The devolution of architectural taste and judgement, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I remember auditing an architecture course in college and seeing slides in lecture of modern office buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that had been knocked down within about 40 years of having been built.

We can always hope.

"from rococo to racoocoo"

You missed the obvious pun: Rococo Raccoon.

Mr. Anon said...

"J said...

I find it difficult to like, but look how we got used to Warhol, Pollack, expressionism, etc."

Warhol and Pollack are still crap. A thousand years from now, if they are still remembered at all, people will look at Jackson Pollack paintings and say to themselves: " I could have done that. What a bunch of crap."

Mr. Anon said...

Almost every building designed by modern architects seems to be nothing more than an extended middle-finger to society, as if the architects and their patrons wished to say: "F**k you, people of the world. We will fill the world with our foul excressences; you will never escape them. Behold, and tremble."

James Howard Kunstler's website has a feature called "Eyesore of the Month" where he shows pictures of architectural abominations that his readers send in. It's worth a view.

Dutch Boy said...

I hope these photos don't go viral - the Catholic bishops will be knocking at Mayne's door (if they aren't already).

Ray Sawhill said...

Dave in Hackensack: "Sure, but rich people were usually too busy getting rich to become experts on the stuff old money is supposed to know about, so someone's got to hold their hands. At least that was Tom Wolfe's take in Back To Blood, where he has billionaires getting "advised" on what hideous "de-skilled" post-modern art they should collect."

Sure, but why are they listening to the advisors and experts they're listening to? There are other advisors and experts out there. Also, they're letting themselves get caught up in status games with other rich people. It's a character failing.

Meg Whitman donated the money for Princeton's new-traditional Whitman College, and she had the independence and sense 1) to recall that much of what she'd loved about her own Princeton experience was its Collegiate Gothic architecture, and 2) to let herself be steered to Demetri Porphyrios, a terrific New Classicist. She had the guts to NOT do what other rich people were doing, in other words. Good for her.

Whitman College works like a charm, btw. The kids love it, and it fits in beautifully with the campus. Many of PU's other recent buildings have done real damage to the place's beauty. "Traditional plus air conditioning and good wi-fi" has a lot going for it as a style choice.

Ray Sawhill said...

For anyone who thinks that it's somehow kitschy, Disney-ish or a cheat to create a brand-new cluster of buildings in Collegiate Gothic style: Hey, the American heyday of Collegiate Gothic was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries -- not exactly the "real" Gothic era. Collegiate Gothic in America was ALWAYS a made-up tradition. But what's wrong with that? Our Collegiate Gothic campuses are some of the country's architectural high points.

PU's own awesome Collegiate Gothic chapel wasn't built in the 1200s -- it was designed in 1921 by the great Ralph Adams Cram and completed in 1928. It's a modern building, in other words, even if it isn't a modernist one.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you should look into the architecture of Robert A. M. Stern. He is the gay dean of the Yale School of Architecture, and a traditionalist who makes very popular buildings. For example, 15 Central Park West in New York. Colleges hire him when they want something traditional and luxe.

You seem dead set against modern architecture in all its forms, but what about that of trigamous Louis Kahn? The Salk Institute in La Jolla, the Yale Center for British Art, the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth, the Exeter Academy Library? All of these are humane and subtle works. And what about all the Schindler and Neutra houses in L.A.?

Anonymous said...

Architects are a lot like modern pro basketball players. It's not enough to play smart, to develop and then use skills to enhance the efficiency and production of your team, the ultimate goal of winning always in sight, of course. It's about showiness, even if it means you sometimes replace what would be an easy lay-up with an ostentatious dunk that thuds off the rim, even if it means you attempt an ill-advised behind-the-back pass that goes ob, even if it means you keep throwing up three pointers that fail that night. It's all about flamboyance, the self, the center, the I, not the aesthetics that cause a collective and lasting, "Oh, so good, so beautiful" from the crowd but rather the "Whoa! What's that?" that is so shocking and, in the end, so unfulfilling.

You can see a lot of shocking "Whoa, what was that?" in the NBA and you can go home with your team losing, again. The architectual mess we see is a "Whoa, what is that?" Memorable, yes, but for all the wrong reasons. It's anti-aesthetic.

alonzo portfolio said...

main train station in Milan.

There's an internist in Alameda named Calma. Says his grandfather designed it.

vinteuil said...

"look how we got used to Warhol, Pollack, expressionism, etc."

In the course of earning my PhD in Philosophy (specializing in aesthetics) I spent more years than I like to think about studying [visual] art "theory" - in the vain hope of discovering something worth *seeing* in the...umm...works of guys like Jackson Pollack & Andy Warhol.

What I found is that the underlying theory is even shittier than the visual results.

If you've gotten used to "Warhol, Pollack, expressionism, etc." then you seriously need to get *unused* to them. You need to rediscover just how awful - even Evil, with a capital E - they really were & are.

not a hacker said...

Chapman is growing its brand by appealing to right-leaning WASPs

Imagine, Loretta Sanchez and Roger Hobbs on the same Board of Trustees.

Steve Sailer said...

"You seem dead set against modern architecture in all its forms,"

I don't know about that. I do know, though, that I particularly don't like Thom Mayne, who goes out of his way to build ugly, oppressive buildings. But, I suspect he will win in the end.

Anonymous said...

Eyesore of the month

Anonymous said...

Eyesore of the month

Garland said...

"Look What The Raccoons Did" would be a great name for a blog about modern architecture

Anonymous said...

For a real people-hating piece of work, check out the Boston City Hall.

Marin County Civic Center by Frank Lloyd Wright is a great piece of fun. Kooky!

The TransAmerica Pyrmid in San Francisco is another modern piece I love, especially the micro-park at its base with the redwood grove.

The United Terminal at O'Hare is also fun, if too crowded for comfort.

Anonymous said...

The Cooper Union building looks like it is aspiring to some sort of terrorism-chic, with a built-in plane wound.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sympathetic to the green movement but I don't buy the argument that big glass towers, soaking up the blazing sunlight, are in any way green.

Giving people windows to open would be much greener.
It is all form-over-function; architecture needs a Ralph Nader.

Nacker said...

That last one looks like Mayne took his cue from bin Laden.

Anonymous said...

http://www.essential-architecture.com/TOP-TEN.htm

Ray Sawhill said...

Architecture has a bunch of Ralph Naders. As I (and a few others) listed further above: Christopher Alexander, Leon Krier, Nikos Salingaros, Jane Jacobs, Andres Duany, James Kunstler, Dmitri Porphyrios, John Massengale, Quinlan Terry, many others. There's a thriving "dissent" dimension to the architecture world that focuses on tradition, community, human-centricity ... It's great fun to explore, and they're doing lots of great work. You haven't heard of them because ... Well, take a guess.

Anonymous said...

"Then you have no taste whatsoever. The old KGB building on Lubianka is beautiful. I'm not saying this ironically. It really is. It wasn't built under Stalin. It was built as an insurance company headquarters in the 19th century. And yes, Stalinist architecture itself, i.e. the stuff that was built under his supervision, is beautiful too. It's unquestionably the best architecture of the 20th century worldwide."

They look more like the buildings built in the 30's in the US like the Empire State Building or Tribune Tower. I like those better than the glass ones of today.

Anonymous said...

The ultimate reason for these horrors is to dispirit humanity, to force beauty out of the equation of life, to mock God and his best creation's past glorious works of art and to shatter the link between nature, mankind and heaven. It is also the aim of totalitarian one worlders. For a further, if gaudy, example see this hideous nightmare.
http://www.connectingthewindycity.com/2012/03/panamas-biodiversity-museum.html

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

The ultimate reason for these horrors is to dispirit humanity, to force beauty out of the equation of life, to mock God and his best creation's past glorious works of art and to shatter the link between nature, mankind and heaven. It is also the aim of totalitarian one worlders. For a further, if gaudy, example see this hideous nightmare.
http://www.connectingthewindycity.com/2012/03/panamas-biodiversity-museum.html"

Thanks for posting. What an awful piece of trash that thing is. It looks like somebody dropped a housing development on to a water-park from a couple thousand feet. Gehry really is a talentless purveyor of crap.

Norville Rogers said...

I had a chance once to visit Stalin's Lubyanka Prison in Moscow, which was at the heart of the Great Terror. I passed on it in revulsion

One thing I never got was tourists visiting former concentration camps in Germany/Czech Republic (of course, most camps being in Poland or further out). Even with the flimsiest academic justification it's not a daytrip detour to recall fondly in one's golden years. Actually, I do clearly remember my exchange student group going out to Buchenwald on some edu-pretext, and us sitting together awkwardly in the new facility's cafeteria (yep). A guy in the class ahead of mine said at the time, "This is the most macabre thing I've ever done" which was followed by a weird silence

Norville Rogers said...

re: http://www.connectingthewindycity.com/2012/03/panamas-biodiversity-museum.html

It would be funny if Steve adopted that for the Blogger background logo on the site...

Anonymous said...

Good Stuff. Thanks Ray.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Alexander
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Krier
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikos_Salingaros
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andres_Duany
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Kunstler
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demetri_Porphyrios
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinlan_Terry
http://www.massengale.com/

Anonymous said...

Massengale doesn't exist on Wikipedia. Here is a better link.

Anonymous said...

Duany was a misfire. One more try.

Anonymous said...

Gehry's Disney concert hall in downtown L.A. is silly but pleasant enough on the eyes.

Except for the side that had to be sanded down for refracting concentrated sunlight--that aspect wasn't so pleasant on the eyes of nearby apt. dwellers (in one of those high-density highrises so beloved to Villaraigosa & Co.)

Steve, I think you would enjoy some other samples of Nashville architecture--very dignified but impressive stuff. I saw a recent PBS music special (featuring the superannuated Robert Plant, of all people) and between songs they showed plenty of supplementary clips of Roman-imperial grandeur around the vicinity of the Capitol and the War Memorial. There was one shot in particular that I thought would be absolutely perfect location for shooting a great thriller/suspense movie scene--if there were any reason to set it in Nashville (maybe a tax credit?)