Irish Breakfast

Fourteen Ways of Looking at Frank Gehry

Posted in Comics by Emily on March 1, 2011

I came across this story in my Google Reader the other day. While obviously I am joyously reveling in this successful attack on my architectural archnemesis, I was struck by the truly fabulous constructions of the English language used to describe the constructions of Frank Gehry. A dead scallop! A squashed lampshade! Surely no other architect has, for better or worse, inspired such delightfully graphic comparisons.

So I embarked on a little exploration around the internet, googling phrases like “building looks like” or “resembles a” alongside Gehry’s name. The results were better than I could have imagined. I thus present the below interpretations of What The Internet Thinks Frank Gehry-Designed Buildings Look Like:

More (and credits) after the jump. BONUS: Can you tell which ones are professional architecture critics and which ones are internet commenter snark? Can you tell which ones are from Gehry fans and which ones are from haters? Which one(s) did Mr. Gehry himself say?




From left to right, top to bottom:
1. “a tractor-trailer accident”
2. “a crushed aluminum take-out box, about to litter itself into the Mississippi river”
3. “a bonfire of rectilinearity”
4. “scrambled brains”
5. “a giant space tulip”
6. ” a gigantic cloud whirling around fragments of the downtown skyline”
7. “giant swirl of metal toilet paper… a Godzilla-sized 12 year old had fun rolling it as a prank one night, but someone forgot to clean it up”
8. “a giant ate a bunch of buildings and shit them out into a pile”
9. “something that crawled out of the sea, rolled over and died”
10. “a boat (or, as my taxi driver put it, a shipwreck)”
11. “a glowing yacht”
12. “a party of drunken robots got together to celebrate”
13. “the “Butter Sculpture” at the state fair after 2 weeks”
14. “King Cobra and the bags they came in”
….and that’s just the 14 I chose to illustrate; there were plenty more brilliant ones such as “like it was made with cornmeal and shards of glass,” “a combo of twisted metal wreckage and expressionist set designs of ‘The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,'” “a series of reflective waves that have been frozen in a specific state at a specific place in time,” “a heap of gigantic discarded sardine tins, all without form, meaningless,” and “excrement left in a brown paper bag on someones doorstep.” Thank you, Internet.



(Oh yeah, and that is the Mies van der Robot in the party, evidently unable to hold its liquor.)

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4 Responses

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  1. Kashton said, on March 2, 2011 at 9:35 am

    This may be your finest work yet. I was very pleased when I found out which description came from Mr. Gehry himself. Remember when we were in Baltimore and decided that we should start an ugly building blog after seeing that apartment building with wire fencing enclosing the balconies so no one would jump off?

    • Emily said, on March 2, 2011 at 10:14 am

      Yes! (and thanks!) I remember JH Kunstler had it covered though: http://www.kunstler.com/eyesore.html

      • Kashton said, on March 2, 2011 at 4:32 pm

        Have you submitted a picture of Dupre Hall yet?

      • Emily said, on March 3, 2011 at 10:12 am

        That one should really go in a designers’ textbook under “what not to do.” Nothing says “ignoring context” like a hurricane-proof building in MN!


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