Friday Satire: The Lindsay Lohan Approach to Architecture


Lynn: Let me guess what this is. Must be some kind of mausoleum.

Kenneth: Go on…

Lynn: Probably in China – just take a look at the symmetry and immensity of the whole thing. Yeah, my best guess would be a mausoleum to dead Chinese leaders, with spacious niches on each level with a great view of a plaza for the masses.

Kenneth: You’re wrong on all counts. This is actually the Chongqing Opera House in Sichuan, China.

Lynn: Ahhhh I see, it’s another attempt for a developing city in doing a Bilbao, trying to outdo each other in terms of iconic architecture.

Kenneth: Based on the way it turned out, I guess there are lots of ways to gain visibility, architectural merit being just one of the many factors.

Lynn: Ah, you mean the Lindsey Lohan Approach. If you can’t beat others at the game, notoriety is the way to go.

Kenneth: Yeah. And it works, no? We’re featuring it on our blog.

Lynn: But… only the tabloids carry news of Lohan nowadays. Doesn’t that make us the News of the World of architecture?

Kenneth: Well, it’s never a bad thing to pander to the tastes of the masses. Tabloids sell. We need readership.

Lynn: But we want to attract the RIGHT kind of readers! Not the kind that reads News of The World. Can’t we at least be 8 Days? Where there is actually some decent content?

Kenneth: This building isn’t all that indecent. There’s actually some merit to it, if you look at the section view.

Lynn: Interesting… I might have given it an A grade if I didn’t see the exterior.

Kenneth: You’d be surprised. The façade can look good too.

Lynn: But that’s because 90% of the building is CROPPED OUT of this picture!

Kenneth: But THAT is how you turn a bad design into good design. It’s like how no one can ever look bad wearing sunglasses ‘cos half of the face is covered up.

Lynn: So that’s the trick behind all your A grades in architecture school huh! Did you wear sunglasses during your presentations too?

Kennth: Nope. My mum gave me a pretty decent face.

Lynn: *rolls eyes* Whatever. Let’s return to the topic at hand. So, what’s the real deal behind the building?

Kenneth: Well the concept is derived from er… a ship. And it literally does look like one, especially when it lights up at night.

Lynn: You mean a ship that ran amok on dry land. A shipwreck! Now I totally get it. For a shipwreck, the design looks pretty good.

Kenneth: Hah. Perhaps you won’t believe this. But this shipwreck is actually designed by a multinational German architectural firm.

Lynn: Well it’s not that unbelievable. The Germans have always steered clear of metaphor and poetry I think. Isn’t the most famous movement out of there the Bauhaus? They excel at building logical, squarish, high-tech buildings. It’s no surprise that the Holocaust memorial is built by a foreign talent.

Kenneth: And the firm is suitably embarrassed about the project. Its existence is completely obliterated from their website.

Lynn: Perhaps it’s not due to the firm’s bad design. Maybe it’s the contractor’s fault. Like they didn’t have the proper skills to realize the poetry of the architect’s vision.

Kenneth: Or the engineer’s fault for prescribing too many beams that ruined the visuality of the ship.

Lynn: Or perhaps the client’s. You know how fengshui has yielded so many weird interesting architectural forms in China.

Kenneth: Yeah, it’s NEVER the architect’s fault. Especially when things go wrong.

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