Several months ago I was pleased to be contacted by Dr. John Silber’s assistant about a photo featured in my article about a Weekend in Denver. Dr. Silber, who spent 25 years as President of Boston University, was completing a new book entitled Architecture of the Absurd: How “Genius” Disfigured a Practical Art, and was interested in using my photo of the new Denver Museum of Art as the inside cover for the book.
I was quite pleased to provide the original images for Dr. Silber’s book, and even more pleased when he generously sent me an autographed copy! Thanks Dr. Sliber!
The premise of Dr. Silber’s book is that a number of modern architects are neglecting basic design principles in a never ending quest to push the limits of creativity and to out do one another for the most spectacular appearance. In the process, Dr. Silber argues, clients and inhabitants of these facilities suffer.
Here is a snippet from the book’s description:
Have you ever wondered why the Guggenheim is always covered in scaffolding? Why the random slashes on the exterior of Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum, supposed to represent Berlin locations where pre-war Jews flourished, reappear, for no apparent reason, on his Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto? Or why Frank Gehry’s Stata Center, designed for MIT’s top-secret Cryptography Unit, has transparent glass walls? Not to mention why, for $442 per square foot, it doesn’t keep out the rain? You’re not alone.
In Architecture of the Absurd, John Silber dares to peek behind the curtain of “genius” architects and expose their willful disdain for their clients, their budgets, and the people who live or work inside their creations. Absurdism in a painting or sculpture is one thingÃ¢â‚¬â€if it’s not to your taste, you don’t have to lookÃ¢â‚¬â€but absurdism in buildings represents a blatant disregard for the needs of the building, whether it be a student center, music hall, or corporate headquarters.