Friday, January 09, 2009

The AIA* Redefines "Excellence"

The AIA has released its 2009 Honor Awards and this year is just like every preceding year, they ignore the obvious. Instead of the obvious, let's look at the outside of a bunch of buildings. From a rudimentary perspective, buildings are designed for ONE reason, to shield its occupants from the elements. Outside aesthetics are UNIMPORTANT to the FUNCTION of the building. But, as usual, the AIA ignores the important thing and concentrates completely upon the experience of the person that is NOT using the building, it is art to be viewed by the person that is NOT using it. A moron once said, "Form follows function." So, I guess if you were a really ignorant person, you would concentrate on the form instead of the function. Wonder why architects are quickly becoming useless, instead of being heralded as "Master Builders?" It's because they have ceased to understand that form FOLLOWS function. What's the important part of that statement? What LEADS and what FOLLOWS?

What is HEROIC in the basic statement?

This is the New York Times Building in Manhattan, one big microchip standing on its end. Ignore the fact that it was built in 2006 and these are the 2009 awards. What is the important part of a tall building? Is it the way that the building enhances the skyline? Is it the way that it is perceived by those that are crawling around on the ground below? Or is it the way that a tall building uses the footprint to offer the most available space in a restricted area? Opinions are myriad, but still, the fact that this building is on an award list shows that there is only one criteria, the massing of the building as art. Wow. (Never mind that this building is now hocked to the friggin' gills to keep The New York Times afloat.)

This is the Gary Comer Youth Center in Chicago. Do I really need to say anything about it? Well, okay, GOOD LORD THIS BUILDING IS AESTHETICALLY ATROCIOUS!!!! Holy CRAP! This looks like the Earth threw up a burrito that was washed down with SCOPE!

Not to even mention that the function of this building is a youth center. What is missing from the photograph? How about HUMAN LIFE OF ANY KIND? Is there a bomb scare at the facility? Is it in a neighborhood where people are too afraid to walk the streets even in broad daylight? Probably a mixture of both, huh? It is in Chicago.

How about this, you put a HUGE sign on your building, no where close to the entrance of the building, and then you tuck the door in an area where no one can find it?

Just so you know, if there is one single place, on the face of the Earth, that teenagers avoid like the plague, IT IS A YOUTH CENTER. Tax money WASTED.

Next up, The Plaza Apartments in San Franmoonbattery-co. The "Plaza Apartments?" Who came up with the name? A contrarian? Uh, just curious, where in the mortal Hell is said "plaza?"

For all you unwashed, hillbilly rubes, a "plaza" is a public square or open space in a city or town. To my obviously uneducated eyes and translated by my obviously deformed brain, I cannot see a single square inch of unencumbered area in the entire city block.

Why not just call this "The Magical Wonderland of Free-Floating Acrobatic Shrews with Amazing Powers of Mind-Reading and Flying Powers?" That makes the same amount of sense, ZERO.

Also, in the world of normal people, this building looks like an experiment gone painfully awry in the art of making ugly shit that stands out like a syphilis sore on the face of a runway model. The only thing missing in this photograph is dirty laundry hanging from clotheslines that span the entire breadth of the street.

This building would be very much at home in the slums of Jakarta, the only drawback to that is that it is not constructed out of wax-impregnated cardboard. Congrats on your award!

Finally, in an attempt to completely overpower the landscape and offer up a building that looks as out of place as a swimming pool in the middle of a courtroom, here's The Salt Point House in Salt Point, New York. Sorry, I have no idea how to even attempt to describe this tumor.

Design Concept: Come up with a house that for all practical purposes renders MOOT the reason for even picking a beautiful piece of property on which to build. Instead, let's throw together a loose, steaming pile of industrial rubble, stack it up in forms resembling those of a heat sink and drop it from a helicopter while blindfolded.

"Topher, I think that you have summed up the mind of an architect in one fell swoop."

I would so like to see the plan and the sections of any of these buildings. I cannot imagine how screwed up they are. I bet the contractors of all of these projects looked at the designers much like contractors looked at FLW back in the day. "Mister, you are a blithering moron."

Goodness, I am ashamed at the morons that reign over what is quickly becoming the fourth dumbest profession on the planet.

Please take the time to comment.

*It's the American Institutes of Architects, a dinner club for architects to get together and talk about how awesome they are.