Thursday, November 15, 2007

(Not My) Thought For the Day

From the Cranky Professor, the wank McArdle mistook for a thought:

This architecture of the mind, conceptual art we're forced to live in, is that it ages especially poorly [sic]. Imagine these 'ugly junctions' after the funicular has been running for a few years, jostling, shaking, and generally loosening up fitted panels - and the expense of replacing those unique glass panels when they have problems!

Following is the commentary I left (but isn't yet approved for publication) at the Cranky Professor's site. Perhaps McArdle will see it here, if she's bored and still hiding from Vietnam.

Oooookay, hang on. "This architecture of the mind, conceptual art we're forced to live in?"

Who the hell is being "forced" to live in avant garde architecture?

I studied architectural history, and the single most memorable fact a professor imparted to me was that only 5% of the world's habitable structures were designed by architects. Within that tiny wedge, a small minority could be considered avant garde modernists, and their works (when they get built) are paid for by institutions and individuals desirous of buildings that function as shelters and as art. They know what they're getting, and know that bleeding-edge architecture involves materials and engineering that may be unproven. Yes, tales of leaky Wrights, stained Gehrys and stifling Breuers are a dime a dozen; "traditional" buildings also leak, stain, shift, flood, overheat and otherwise fail, but hardly anyone ever talks about that.

Most architects, be they modernists, classicists or practitioners of regional vernaculars, do indeed give thought to how their buildings will age, but they're also realists. The average lifespan of a building is 50 years. Buildings are razed and new ones put on the old footprint all the time, and as populations grow (and buildable lands dwindle), the demands and strain placed on private and public buildings will ensure that very few structures achieve anything like permanence.

Hadid's practice has quite a few large projects to speak of, and the Cincinatti building was the firm's first American commission to be built. I hope that she'll have an opportunity, someday, to build in her native Iraq.

Epigram of the day: "Architects cannot design for the future for the same reason that McArdle can't pull her head out of her bum."


Anonymous said...

Irony upon irony Ms. Ayn Rand doesn't seem to have read her Ayn Rand.

Adam Eli Clem said...

Man, did I hate that fucking book.

Did you read the few comments at Professor's place? Godwin's Law writ large: Hitler reference in the second comment!

M. Bouffant said...

Who the hells's going to "live" in a funicular terminal? I'm sure the Austrian Polizei will roust any homeless people that may try to "live" there.

Oh, I guess his crankiness means someone may have to look at it. Better a poured concrete blockhouse, I guess.