As a former student of architecture at Yale, I came to know and love Paul Rudolph‘s masterpiece, the A+A (Art+Architecture) Building. It is hard to communicate in words the depth of the psychological and emotional bonds that I formed with that building. I realize that sounds a little looney tunes, but I’m dead serious. The building communicates affectively – it speaks directly to the humans that inhabit it on an emotional, precognative level.
So I threw up in my mouth a little bit when I saw Charles Gwathmey‘s addition to the building earlier this year. I don’t care how much it would cost, but this atrocity must be razed; it is an abomination. Any wealthy proud Elis who agree with me? Let’s get together and provide Yale with a massive gift to be used solely for the purpose of removing this blight from the campus and replacing it with something worthy.
Just to clarify, I have no problem with the idea of building an addition to the A+A. Louis Kahn’s modernist design for the Yale University Art Gallery was rendered as a brilliant addition to the neo-gothic beauty, Street Hall (1886). It is practically an architect’s manual for producing complimentary, contemporary additions to beautiful and well-loved, historic structures. Originally, this A+A addition was to be designed by Richard Meier (architect of Los Angeles’ Getty Museum). It was be an homage to Rudoph’s dramatic interlocking rectilinear forms, except that it would have been rendered in Meier’s signature delicate white-painted steel and transparent glass. Meier’s design would have offered a light and white, smooth and transparent Yang to Rudolph’s heavy and dark, rough and opaque Yin. Instead, Yale chose Charles Gwathemy to “design” this hideous grey thing. It looks like any of a million forgettable medical office buildings near Cedars-Siani. Epic Fail, Yale!
Wallpaper* quite agrees with me… I was looking at their “10 Worst Designs of 2008” article and saw this was one of the “winners,” which inspired me to write this post. However, I don’t agree with all of their choices… check out the fabulous (or horrifying, as Wallpaper* sees it) dildo aquarium from the Bibelot Sexual collection!