It can’t only be me…
Over the past ten years, I have observed a noticeable and disturbing trend - the rise of ugly buildings.
We are not speaking about merely unconventional designs that appear purpose-built to enhance an unconventional site and blend harmoniously with their surroundings, but wildly discordant designs that should never be present in an urban landscape. Structures widely perceived as unattractive and visually displeasing to large numbers of individuals who are forced to observe these eyesores in their communities.
It is almost as if Ayn Rand’s novel "The Fountainhead" has come to life, where a small group of elite architectural critics dictate style and reward those who conform to their often obscene and outlandish “artistic” visions.
Nearing completion and known as the “The Wrapper,” this Eric Owen Moss-designed monstrosity actually exists, not in a dystopian landscape, but on the city streets of Culver City, California, a Los Angeles suburb known primarily for its association with moviemaking.
According to the building’s architect, Eric Owen Moss, “The lines, ‘wrapping’ the one side of the building, with their angles and curves, are meant to evoke rap music. It's dance, it's singing, it's happy, it's music." "The straight lines were gone, but the purpose of the straight lines in terms of support as columns and supports as beams exists by analogy, but the form language is somewhat different."
To my “unrefined” ear, this sounds like the same type of bafflegab and bullshit used to sell angular geometric designs as modern art at outrageous prices -- based more on their title and narrative than any rational esthetic value. Works feted by fools who fear being seen as ignorant, unsophisticated, or foolish if they react negatively. Another example of the type of groupthink found in Hans Christian Andersen’s famous 1837 fairy tale, "The Emperor's New Clothes."
Sorry, I can’t get past the discordance, a perceived lack of aesthetic appeal, and an atmosphere that I associate with a sense of gloom and depression.
Are we looking at a break from tradition in pursuit of originality or something else like evolving narcissism?
Is this a case where architects are pressured to create added value over functional designs by creating unique structures that stand out and make a statement – challenging conventional notions of beauty and defying established architectural norms? Are these structures, characterized by their irregular shapes, clashing colors, and jarring juxtapositions, intended to provoke media attention and the value of owning a “one of a kind” structure?
In searching for a suitable description of this dreadful style of architecture, my thoughts revolved around the type of cartoon architecture that is found among students being introduced to CAD (Computer Aided Design) systems where complex objects are developed from primitive shapes such as lines, arcs, cubes, spheres, cylinders – featuring “handles” that allow the user to deform the primitive into a functional form. Sort of an artificial busyness created because it is different, and I can draw it quickly.
Regardless of their aesthetic appearance, many of these odd buildings are marvels of sophisticated engineering and the millions of calculations required to build safe buildings, especially in known Earthquake-prone seismic zones.
While ugly buildings may add a sense of “diversity” to the urban landscape, I prefer symmetrical functional shapes that do not interrupt my thoughts.
Am I looking at a symbolic representation of urban decay and ultimate destruction?
We are so screwed.
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell “Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar “Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar
“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS