Psychotic Architecture


It may be popular to decry all forms of modernism as somehow “bad.” In architecture, especially, this call of classicism can be strong. However, designing an office building with Doric columns seems, to me, silly.

So having got the fact I am not completely anti-modernity, I would like to remark on the trend towards what I would term psychotic architecture. This is a style of architecture that breaks any link of form and function. Instead, it seeks to impose a sense of confusion and disorientation on the user. It seems as if the occupants of the building have been demoted from human users to supplicants of the architectural vision.

Dancing House

Dancing House. Vlado Milunić, Frank Gehry.
I suppose you could say it expresses humor. However, it hardly seems considerate of the surrounding architecture.

Caltrans District 7 HQ

Caltrans District 7 HQ. Thom Mayne
Well it is ugly enough for a government building. I still prefer the bad-old-days when government buildings tried to impress us with those fake Doric columns.

Weisman Art Museum

Weisman Art Museum. Frank Gehry
Mommy, Mommy, look what I made. Mom replies: That is so . . . imaginative.

MIT Stata Center

MIT Stata Center. Frank Gehry
Perhaps it looks better from the inside.

MIT Stata Center View

Just in case you thought the view looking out was better. What is wrong with a nice view of rolling hills?

MIT Simmons Hall

MIT Simmons Hall. Steven Holl
If buildings are meant to inspire this works. It inspires hopelessness.

Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health (irony) Frank Gehry
It looks like it one of the patients designed it. Perhaps they are hoping to create customers.

While posting the images, I noticed that Frank Gehry was heavily represented. This was more by chance than intent. I could probably have created another page for Daniel Libeskind (creator of ugly museums).


All images are from Wikipedia.
Dancing House:

MIT Simmons Hall:,_MIT,_Cambridge,_Massachusetts.JPG


MIT Stata Center:

Weisman Art Museum:

Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health:


One Response to “Psychotic Architecture”

  1. maurice Says:

    I kinda like the Fred and Ginger building- it’s in Prague. True, it doesn’t match the surrounding architecture, but it’s sort of witty and always makes me smile.
    [DU: I actually agree. I probably could have (should have) left it out. Aside from its lack of consideration for the surrounding buildings, it does convey wit and playfulness.]

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