It is a sad city that has no building worth poking fun at. Finding ways of likening unusual buildings to willies or fannies, is like finding ways to poke fun at unusual names, or other races. Confronted by something new, it’s natural to giggle.
I find it strange that while photos of erect penises are censored virtually everywhere, buildings that look very much like giant boners, go up all the time. Meanwhile, an architectural firm based in Holland, designing a building in China, finds itself in hot water over one of their designs, in which someone in America sees the twin towers in flames. MVRDV have plainly been blindsided by a pejorative association, that I’m sure they could not have seen, until it was pointed out to them.
My personal taste in music, film, painting and architecture, is for anything with shock value. Boredom and complacency, can kill a whole civilisation. Buildings that invite people to think, in a world where thought itself is an afterthought, are to be welcomed—in your back yard especially, all you who don’t like them.
But in the Modernist tradition, architects didn’t/don’t produce works inviting of pejorative associations, just to shock viewers. Their aim is even more sinister. If they willingly design a building that they expect others will liken to something lowly, it is to separate viewers into two herds: the ignoramuses who can only see dicks; and the educated folk like themselves, who understand that form follows function.
Why is this on my mind at the moment? It is because of those little white cylinders I have been drawing on maps of my city. I have been imagining greenways in public parks, spiralling skyward, and providing access to sky-parks on roof tops (and, of course, lots of apartments and offices, constituting each spiral’s core.) Extending parks into the sky! How could anyone find fault with such a functional solution to so many problems: urban sprawl; over abundant and under utilised park land; sedentary lifestyles; the need for buildings that let Dr. Behooving ride his bike home to the 50th floor? Well, I guess critics could always point out that I am proposing to build housing on land zoned for parks. Better still, they could simply find some way to poke fun: