The Gehry Punishment

I should never have poked fun at the new Thom Mayne building and the poor engineers that have to design it; today I was put on a new project team for one of the starchitect’s towers.  It has a crumpled facade.  The steel is kinked at every level.  The diaphragms are discontinuous.  Almost every one of it’s 50+ floors are different.  I want to stab myself in the eye.

On the plus side, this is my first project by a popularly known architect (the blank stares that come with saying you’re consulting for DMJM just aren’t as fun).  And I would rather work on interesting projects than, say, parking garages.  Still, when the office joke is that you must have done something to piss of your boss, you have to be a little wary.

1 comment to The Gehry Punishment

  • jeremy clagett

    Ah, the architect’s favorite passtime…pissing off engineers.

    I appreciate your critisisms of Mayne’s project (there certainly is something wrong with the exterior structure not expressing the interior structure). From (an) architect’s perspective…

    The project is obvously about form as much as anything (hence the disconnect between interior structure and exterior “structure”. Whether this lack of authenticacy is a problem or not is certainly a major question in the profession.

    Obviously (like you stated) much of these exterior members are redundant; they are cladding. As nice as it would be to have the structure express the form inside and outside, this doesn’t seem cost effective. This “skin deep” situation you talk about is unfortunately extremely common with most high rises.

    A master like Foster may be able to work around it and incorportate structure, skin and building systems into the facade, but alas Mayne (this time) has not.

    I do feel for the engineer that has to calculate these members, but that’s the game. The floor plate may not be consistent, but at least the project is pushing architectrue into exciting directions. Most of Morphosis’s projects have some sort of authenticacy, it just so happens this time Mayne wanted to experiement with strictly form.

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