02 December 2008

When Buildings Try Too Hard

Everyone wants to build an icon these days. Full article in the Wall Street Journal.
...Since the Bilbao effect teaches -- I believe mistakenly -- that unconventional architecture is a prerequisite for iconic status, clients have encouraged their architects to go to greater and greater lengths to design buildings that are unusual, surprising, even shocking. But the shock will inevitably wear off, and 100 years from now, all those iconic wannabes will resemble a cross between a theme park and the Las Vegas strip.
...(Some buildings) seek to fit in rather than stand out, and to enhance rather than overwhelm their surroundings. While hardly shy, they don't stand there shouting, "Look at me!" Being in it for the long haul, they approach fashion gingerly, leaning to the conservative and well-tried rather than the experimental. They are handsome, beautiful even, but they don't strive to knock your socks off. Anti-icons, you might call them. Or just good architecture.

Is this the style of the 21st century or that of 1930?
-Swiss Pavillion, by LeCorbusier, 1930.


VisuaLingual said...

Okay, I do agree about the Bilbao effect, but what's the point of the photo? Are you saying that Corb's building looks dated, timeless, or contemporary? It almost seems as though you're embracing early Modernism [gasp!] with this example, but I don't quite believe that.

CityKin said...

I think Corb's esthetic is still seen as cutting edge, but it was really cutting edge 80 years ago. Admittedly this photo does not really fit the Bilbao article, and I should have made two separate posts, with commentary.