NO!! Not another Gehry building!

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NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby J » 2012-09-30 08:28pm

CTV News link

Princess of Wales Theatre to be torn down for condos, art complex
09/30/2012 | Marcia Chen, CityNews.ca

One of the city’s preeminent impresarios says he plans to tear down the Princess of Wales Theatre and build a complex which would include three condo towers, an art gallery and a new campus for OCAD University.

In a letter to the media, David Mirvish said the project — a collaboration with architect-superstar Frank Gehry — would include the residential space, a free public gallery called the Mirvish Collection, the OCAD grounds and planted terraces.

All of the buildings on the block-and-a-half west of the Royal Alexandra Theatre on King Street over to John Street will be demolished.

“If there were a way of completing this project without removing the Princess of Wales Theatre, we would have followed it,” Mirvish said. “But … I decided not giving Gehry a full canvas on which to work would have meant compromises that would have lessened the power of the project.

“This wasn’t an easy decision … I lavished an enormous amount of energy, creativity and money to build the Princess of Wales Theatre. It is a beautiful facility of which I am very proud, but it happens to be situated in the middle of the new project’s path.”

The plan includes a memorial to the Princess of Wales Theatre and its namesake, the late Princess Diana.

“The neighbourhood has grown up, just as Toronto has,” Mirvish said. “I believe after almost 50 years of custodianship of these two blocks of urban space, now is the time to take a bold step into the future while preserving the flavour and strengths of our heritage.”

Mirvish — who also owns the Royal Alex, the Ed Mirvish Theatre and the Panasonic Theatre — said he would consider building a new theatre if needed.

The project is expected to take three to seven years to complete.

On Monday, Mirvish and Gehry will unveil the concept at the Art Gallery of Ontario, which Gehry redesigned.


In case you're wondering why I'm rather upset, Frank Gehry is the maroon who did this to the Art Gallery of Ontario. Did I mention the building leaks? Yes, that too.
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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby phred » 2012-10-01 02:41am

Why do people keep hiring this guy? Not that the theater is a piece of architectural art or anything, but it can't possibly be as ugly as whatever Gehry has planned. Hell, search him here, his stuff is just absolute shit.
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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2012-10-01 09:39am

"lessened the power of the project"

Idiot lines like that say it all, a place that people are expected to work and live for decades has to make an 'impact', as look dumb as fuck for all time, instead of being designed for functionality that will improve lives. Sounds like the idiots in charge of this are convinced that this idiot is vital Canuck heritage though.
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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby Crossroads Inc. » 2012-10-01 11:01am

phred wrote:Why do people keep hiring this guy? Not that the theater is a piece of architectural art or anything, but it can't possibly be as ugly as whatever Gehry has planned. Hell, search him here, his stuff is just absolute shit.

They hire him because they think he is "Edgy!" and "Provocative!" They assume since there is always controversial aspects to him that he must be something special.

Gehry is really a guy who is making Modern art out of buildings... His "work" is better sitting inside of MOMA then with people living it, there are a lot of his buildings that, because they are so horrifically silly, have structural and engineering problems.
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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby Alerik the Fortunate » 2012-10-01 02:28pm

Some of Gehry's buildings, notably the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles (where I have attended several concerts), have been spectacular successes. Notably, those successes occurred when other experts in fields pertaining to the intended use of the structure had a firm guiding hand in his ideas (the inspiration for the concert hall was the Berlin Philharmonic by Hans Scharoun, and prominent acoustical experts played a large part in the layout of the concert spaces). Also notable are the points where his evolving vocabulary of form just happened, by chance, to be compatible with the urban landscape surrounding his project. Of course, rich pretentious Phillistines just hire him because he has a prominent name.
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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby J » 2012-10-02 11:31pm

Models of the proposed buildings are out, street level view on the left and full view on the right

ImageImage

It would be fine in the Financial District where we have many other shiny skyscrapers but that's not where it's going. See the Sound of Music sign? That's the current Princess of Wales Theatre which they want to demolish and replace with three 80+ story towers. It's not as bad as the AGO renovation or some of his other abominations, still, as the kids would say these days, no! do not want!
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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby Phantasee » 2012-10-02 11:39pm

What the fuck? I don't even like Toronto and I don't want to see those abominations built.
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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby Questor » 2012-10-03 12:40am

I am at a loss for words.

The only thing that makes skyscrapers even marginally tolerable aesthetically is that they usually have straight lines until near the top.

WHY WOULD YOU CHANGE THAT?!?!?!

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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby RogueIce » 2012-10-03 09:43am

J wrote:It's not as bad

He's done worse than the brown building at the left that looks like someone haphazardly made a Lincoln log tower? :wtf:

Seriously, it looks like a shitty design from a preschooler, but at least the preschooler probably doesn't know any better.
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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby Alerik the Fortunate » 2012-10-03 12:54pm

Gehry's haphazard sculptural aesthetic is fine for shorter buildings of medium mass, where they can be appreciated like a piece of abstract art in a garden, but he should never be allowed to dominate a skyline.
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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby madd0ct0r » 2012-10-03 12:59pm

you see, i'm looking at what's currently there, (thanks J) and it looks like shite

the standard, boring design, boring facade, no historical interest, could have been built anywhere in the last 20 years.

those skyscrapers are a thousand times better to my eyes.
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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby RogueIce » 2012-10-03 01:41pm

madd0ct0r wrote:you see, i'm looking at what's currently there, (thanks J) and it looks like shite

the standard, boring design, boring facade, no historical interest, could have been built anywhere in the last 20 years.

those skyscrapers are a thousand times better to my eyes.

You clearly have no taste whatsoever if you think "skyscraper that looks like it'll topple over at any minute" is better than "boring facade" in any way.

Of course that assumes there's anything wrong with buildings simply being functional and conforming with the rest of the buildings around them rather than some horrid mess by an architect who clearly shouldn't be allowed to design structures in The Sims let alone real life.
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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby Alerik the Fortunate » 2012-10-03 02:31pm

Star architects need to learn some humility. Not everything must dominate the surroundings to attract attention. Frank Lloyd Wright's Morris Gift Shop attracted just enough attention to be profitable by being even more modest than its surroundings, while containing an interior that prefigured his later Guggenheim museum.
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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby Zixinus » 2012-10-03 04:23pm

All I'd like to say is that, I too would prefer a building that does not look like something assembled out of industrial clutter by a homeless person.

I know that modern art can be weird, but holy shit. Those things don't even look stable, I shudder what the poor construction engineer would have to go through to get those things to stand.

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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby Sephirius » 2012-10-03 04:58pm

madd0ct0r wrote:you see, i'm looking at what's currently there, (thanks J) and it looks like shite

the standard, boring design, boring facade, no historical interest, could have been built anywhere in the last 20 years.

those skyscrapers are a thousand times better to my eyes.


As someone who really enjoys that theatre... :finger:

I'm seeing War Horse there next friday. I'll be sure to take some pictures of the interior; it's quite beautiful.
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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby madd0ct0r » 2012-10-03 05:45pm

interior pics would be nice
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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby salm » 2012-10-04 08:20am

RogueIce wrote:
madd0ct0r wrote:you see, i'm looking at what's currently there, (thanks J) and it looks like shite

the standard, boring design, boring facade, no historical interest, could have been built anywhere in the last 20 years.

those skyscrapers are a thousand times better to my eyes.

You clearly have no taste whatsoever if you think "skyscraper that looks like it'll topple over at any minute" is better than "boring facade" in any way.

Of course that assumes there's anything wrong with buildings simply being functional and conforming with the rest of the buildings around them rather than some horrid mess by an architect who clearly shouldn't be allowed to design structures in The Sims let alone real life.


How do you know that this building won´t perform well regarding functionality?

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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby Alerik the Fortunate » 2012-10-04 11:52am

Because Gehry has a history of such buildings. They leak often, and require a lot of expensive maintenance and sometimes alterations. He's like LeCorbusier that way, only without the hypocritical pretense of being a functional rationalist. Gehry admits his work is just indulging his personal artistic speculation, and credits his large engineering team with making it possible to realize his ideas in some workable form.
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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby salm » 2012-10-04 01:49pm

Well, the buildings themselves don´t look overly complicated. They´re just boxes on top of each other rotated and moved a bit.

I can´t tell if the toilette paper at the bottom is even part of the building or just a decorative thingy wrapped around the base.

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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby madd0ct0r » 2012-10-04 04:03pm

it isn't in the other shot so I'm guessing its just a wrapping.

Does Gehry get held responsible for everything on the project? It's been a while since I've seen an architect on his knees doing the waterproofing.

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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby aerius » 2012-10-04 11:35pm

madd0ct0r wrote:you see, i'm looking at what's currently there, (thanks J) and it looks like shite

the standard, boring design, boring facade, no historical interest, could have been built anywhere in the last 20 years.

those skyscrapers are a thousand times better to my eyes.


Except for the fact that they completely clash with everything in the area. Seriously, go to Google Maps and punch in "223 King Street West, Toronto, ON" and go to street view to take a look around. Now, imagine 3 giant towers the size of the Chrysler Building getting dropped just west of Ed Mirvish Way. Put'em a few blocks to the east and they'd fit in just fine with the bank buildings and modern hi-rise condos, but in the middle of the theatre district is just retarded.
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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby Alerik the Fortunate » 2012-10-05 12:12am

madd0ct0r wrote:it isn't in the other shot so I'm guessing its just a wrapping.

Does Gehry get held responsible for everything on the project? It's been a while since I've seen an architect on his knees doing the waterproofing.

Courbousier was an idiot.


Agree with you on the last count (lumping in Mies van der Rohe, Gropius, and others of their ilk). However, even if he doesn't install the waterproofing himself, the point is the design probably didn't take into account awkward junctures or areas of ponding because the structure was designed for abstract looks first, function second, and constructability third. The architect can be held responsible if his design choices led to suboptimal connections.
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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby madd0ct0r » 2012-10-05 03:02am

aerius wrote:
madd0ct0r wrote:you see, i'm looking at what's currently there, (thanks J) and it looks like shite

the standard, boring design, boring facade, no historical interest, could have been built anywhere in the last 20 years.

those skyscrapers are a thousand times better to my eyes.


Except for the fact that they completely clash with everything in the area. Seriously, go to Google Maps and punch in "223 King Street West, Toronto, ON" and go to street view to take a look around. Now, imagine 3 giant towers the size of the Chrysler Building getting dropped just west of Ed Mirvish Way. Put'em a few blocks to the east and they'd fit in just fine with the bank buildings and modern hi-rise condos, but in the middle of the theatre district is just retarded.


That address drops outside the Metro central - which looks like a perfectly functional, if ugly, international modern style tall building. Behind it is a rather plain older building (quite nice if you like that kind of thing - as a neighbour hood set they'd look quite good.).

Glass towers at one end of the street, so I head the other way and find the base construction site of a huge thing called 'festival tower'.

I think the skyscraper shaped horse has well and truly bolted
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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby Irbis » 2012-10-05 09:23am

madd0ct0r wrote:it isn't in the other shot so I'm guessing its just a wrapping.

I think there is something wrong with architecture where you can't say if toilet paper on the model is supposed to be a part of it or just needless bit of packing left... :|

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Re: NO!! Not another Gehry building!

Postby RogueIce » 2012-10-05 10:44am

Irbis wrote:I think there is something wrong with architecture where you can't say if toilet paper on the model is supposed to be a part of it or just needless bit of packing left... :|

I think that sums it up rather nicely. I mean look at this:

Image
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Seriously, that looks like Gehry crumpled some pieces of colored paper together and cried, "GENIUS!"

I suppose you could argue about whether it's "art" or makes "bold, powerful statements" or whatever other art critic platitudes you care to toss around. Personally I don't think your buildings should look like Godzilla bumped into it during a fight but whatever. Still as others have pointed out, his designs do seem to have various problems with them, most likely as a result of his whole "bold, powerful" style:

Wikipedia wrote:On October 31, 2007, MIT sued architect Frank Gehry and the construction companies, Skanska USA Building Inc. and NER Construction Management, for "providing deficient design services and drawings" which caused leaks to spring, masonry to crack, mold to grow, drainage to back up, and falling ice and debris to block emergency exits. A Skanska spokesperson said that prior to construction Gehry ignored warnings from Skanska and a consulting company regarding flaws in his design of the amphitheater, and rejected a formal request from Skanska to modify the design.


So yeah. And yes, I know there's a quote from him blaming MIT taking things out of his design and so on and so forth. But as a practical matter, I think Alerik sums it up well:

"However, even if he doesn't install the waterproofing himself, the point is the design probably didn't take into account awkward junctures or areas of ponding because the structure was designed for abstract looks first, function second, and constructability third."
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