There's an article in Slate lauding Frank Gehry's latest monstrosity, the Walt Disney Concert Hall. I cannot understand the appeal of Gehry's cancerous growths. They're hideous hypermodernist abstract abominations so unbalanced and erratic that they'd make an Elder God seasick. The architectural critics love to call his designs "organic" and "natural" when in point of fact, they're the exact opposite of organic and natural. The natural world is intrinsically biased towards a certain smooth symmetry - balance even in the breaking of balance. Gehry's designs are intentionally lopsided, ill-proportioned, and forced. His imbalances leaves me distressed, fretful, and inclined to set cars and incompetent architects on fire.
The hall interior itself is beautiful despite itself - elegant in a severe, undecorated fashion. I'm loathe to give Gehry the credit for this: he's been forced to implement elements of balance, proportion, and symmetry by the requirements of modern acoustic science. His trademark imbalances and broken symmetries are forbidden by the inexorable laws of acoustics. They would render concerts as dissonant and distorted as Gehry's design sense itself.
Thus, what I can see of the Walt Disney Concert Hall is the mirror opposite of democratic intent - a building that is offensive in its exterior affect, while beautiful and embracing to those held in its privileged heart.
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
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