Engineers failing to gird up failing modernism1:09 PM Fri, Nov 06, 2009 | Permalink
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Hartford is the scene of the latest embarrassment of modern architecture. A story in the Hartford Advocate reports a lawsuit by the Connecticut Science Center, a museum designed by the firm of Cesar Pelli, whose design errors are costing the museum millions. In just one such example, 30 tons of steel were required to gird up the obviously unstable roof in the photograph at left.
As Malcolm Millais explains in his recent book Exploding the Myths of Modern Architecture, architects push the envelop of the physically possible and then rely upon engineers to keep their absurdist monstrosities from toppling over. The engineers never get much credit when the champagne is flowing down the gullets of the delusional artist wannabes who rammed the crap through the committees that chose the arrogant architect in the first place. The engineers seem satisfied to lap up the sloppy seconds.
I reviewed Exploding the Myths here.
This sort of thing is happening over and over. Institutions that went out on an aesthetic limb in the hope that their president's picture would be printed large in glossy journals end up with stuff that doesn't work, wears out long before its time, or just falls down.
The institution is suing the architect. Let's hope it does not forget to defenestrate the members of its board who saddled the Science Center with this ridiculous heap in the first place. A lawsuit is a very good thing if it warns institutions that stupidity - that is, hiring a modern architect - can cost more money than they bargained for.