Monday, September 13, 2010

Wiggly Buildings and Other Weirdness

"The World's 18 Strangest Buildings-And Why We Love Them"
Popular Mechanics (2010)

"This July, the American Institute of Architects forecasted steep declines in nonresidential construction spending through 2010. Spending is projected to decrease by 16 percent this year and another 12 percent in 2010. With less money flowing through the industry...."

There's quite a bit more text, mostly about how when money's tight folks don't tend to spend on weird buildings.

Cutting to the chase:

"...Here are some of our favorite unusual designs for museums, offices, homes and libraries—and why they are so effective at drawing attention...."

It's a slide show, with a short description for each photo.

The Lemming's favorites are:

(Popular Mechanics, used w/o permission)

Number 7: The Crooked House. It's in Sopot, Poland, in a shopping center there.

"...Drawings from a children's books illustrator, Jan Marcin Szancer, partially inspired the building's wavy look, which fits snugly between neighboring buildings and looks as though it's sagging in place. The building's roof is meant to create the illusion of dragon scales...."

This is one of several buildings, including a Guggenheim museum, that look like the architect had a phobia for straight lines - or maybe the builders had a few too many beer breaks. (April 9, 2010) I don't know if buildings that look like they're refugees from fun-house mirrors are a recognized style, but my guess is that this sort of thing will have a name in the 'history of architecture' books.

And a fairly short run. The first few wiggly buildings could be passed off as 'daring' or 'creative' - but after a while someone's going to twig that people have to use the things, and there are reasons for having vertical walls.

Still: It looks cool.

Then there's the Community Bookshelf, photo number 9.

(Popular Mechanics, used w/o permission)

"This funky building is the parking garage for Kansas City's Central Library. It features 22 book titles, which the Kansas City Public Library Board of Trustees selected from library members' suggestions...."

Parking garage? Okay: but that's the first garage I've seen with steps leading up to the entrance. Maybe vehicles go in and out somewhere else.

The Lemming is okay with this sort of ornamentation: it fits with the function of the place, and dresses up what would otherwise be a long expanse of fairly uninteresting wall.

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