Eyesore of the Month

June 2007

eyesore of the month June 07

   Presenting the extension to the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the work of Randall Stout Architects, a practice based in Los Angeles, California. Notice the UFO landing pad extending tongue-like from the mouth of this zinc-clad giant toad. Notice, too, the utter absence of any human feminine attributes in the elevations -- no ornaments or curves, no openings, no vocabulary. Nothing but an uptight, shut-in, sightless male box. This hatred for the feminine in current architectural practice has gone unremarked by anyone in the Feminist camp, by the way -- with the possible exception of Elaine Scarry in her book On Beauty and Being Just.

    The architects' own propaganda states: “Re-establishing the primacy of the mansion and its garden setting at the center of the complex, the project brings balance to the overall facility and site composition.Drawing from the natural setting of the site, the architects developed a building design that embodies a contemporary interpretation of the rock outcroppings and strata within the cliff below, while the undulating forms of the roof reflect the dynamic movements of the neighboring river.”

     In other words, forget about urbanism, forget about the civic relations between a monumental building and the context of the city, forget about urban landscape typology.

    This thing was an AIA award winner!