Monday, July 20, 2009

Borrowing and Ranting

From John Massengale's blog:

Frank Gehry experiments on your brain.



This is a sick joke. I don't even blame Frank Gehry at this point because a two-year old can predict (and model) what kind of design he might regurgitate.

I blame the Cleveland Clinic. First of all, you are one of the premier health care providers in the world. Is it really responsible to be paying the millions of dollars in fees that Frank Gehry commands, then passing these along to your customers, in this case those suffering from brain-related maladies?


Relatedly, as we discovered through work with Johns Hopkins, who desired to become the best medical school on the planet, what would take them to that level they found was really what is OUTSIDE the walls: the place, the safety, the activity, the livelihood of a true, authentic place. Where staff can go to a nearby bookstore, or a coffee shop, or visitors can hit a flower shop, or Docs and students can live nearby in suitably priced places for each.

Lastly, this is the center for BRAIN HEALTH. As Libeskind's expansion to the Denver Art Museum shows, "playful" expressions of planes (or blobs) become disorienting. This article further examines the unintended consequences of "Can we build it" architecture vs. Should we do it.

It opens with a quote from Georges Braque:


Art is made to disturb.
But, architects as much as they may wish to be are not artists. Certainly, it is appropriate in some cases, such as the Berlin Holocaust Memorial, the epicenter of such horrifying commands. In that case it can and should disturb. But, a memorial is an artwork. Certain buildings should be celebrated, such as bridges crossing physical barriers, houses of democracy or justice besting our inner barbarism, etc.

There is an argument to be made for an art museum being a work of "art" itself, but a center for health and rehabilitation? There money would have been better spent on cognitive and spatial awareness specialists, no?

I'm guessing vertigo and nausea weren't goals for the Cleveland Clinic at the outset of the design process. Hardly appropriate for a Brain Health Center, unless of course, you are trying to make new customers, which when you think about it is typically the end goal of a profit-driven health care industry: more customers, i.e. more sick people.

In fact, I think seeing the construction of another Eisenmann, Libeskind, Hadid, or Gehry, et al building will make me crazy as well.