Posted by Richard Haut on March 06, 2002 at 09:58:09:
I doubt that there is a single person in the entire world who, shown a picture of Pei's building and asked what it is, would reply "obvious, it is paying homage to rock and roll."
it is, as Paul says, an elephant dancing. It is Meatloaf played by the Harmonia Strings for Easy Listening. Homage to rock and roll is ZZTop wearing gold lamé tuxedos. It is twenty Hell's Angels walking into the smartest restaurant in your town. It is James Dean valet-parking your new sports car.
Rock and roll is in-your-face offensive, just a little risky - and people love it.
This is meant to be destination architecture - it is meant to be a misfit. Instead, it is just a weak smile which to me merely indicates insincerity.
The contradiction caused by "misfit architecture" is that if the surroundings themselves have failed, have no character and, perhaps, are too appropriate, then something has to put the spice, the life back into the area. The Bilbao Guggenheim succeeded in doing this, and has been very important for Bilbao.
Perhaps one needs the misfits, the rebels, before mainstream progress - a move away from predictable and dull corporate design - can happen.
If architecture just wants to be the background music played in elevators, then don't be surprised if it gets ignored.
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