Saturday, December 11, 2010
Ineptly Awful Office Building
Ineptly awful? That's the Bellevue, Washington office building pictured above.
To my possibly warped mind, it isn't truly awful: most anything Frank Gehry touches fills that bill. No, it's just a pedestrian hash, a stew (to mix culinary metaphors) of recent highrise architectural clichés.
Note the silly slanted roof. A fairly recent federal courthouse tower in downtown Seattle has the same treatment. Maybe this sort of thing is justified by citing our rainy climate, admitting that flat roofs might not be all that practical. But whatever drainage system might be employed, it strikes a casual viewer that rainwater should pour off the lower edge onto a sidewalk or street below. Similar roofs are on lower parts of the building mostly hidden in this view.
Then there's the "slanted structure" cliche -- clearly here a combination of offset stacked floors on one side and mild cantilevering on the other. And to what purpose? Whatever happened to the modernist mantra of functionality and form following it? What I see is a cheap-looking display of an architect striving for notoriety by attempting the transgressive route. (Hey gang, this isn't strictly functional so I'm doing a brave thing even though I'm not too far off-reservation 'cuz of all that glass, steel and reinforced concrete I used!)
But the real blame falls on the architect's client. Were there no adults in the room when this joke of a project was approved?