The Dancing House
February 20, 2006 9:17 PM   Subscribe

Weird buildings.
posted by angrybeaver (64 comments total)
Thats very cool. I would like to see more innovative architecture, rather than mostly silly exhibitions.
posted by subaruwrx at 9:23 PM on February 20, 2006

Some cool buildings, some meh. Commentary universally stupid on this site. I'd think there were better sites for this kind of thing.
posted by Eekacat at 9:23 PM on February 20, 2006

Ooh! I've seen that! It's on the river in Praha. And yes, it's fucking awesome.
posted by scarabic at 9:33 PM on February 20, 2006

The DH was actually designed by a great architect from California, which only proves that he had done some type of hallucinogen while designing it.

In stark contrast to the coolness of the building, this is possibly the squarest thing I've ever heard. What a dingus.
posted by scarabic at 9:35 PM on February 20, 2006

The Dancing House is, indeed, awesome. Most of the rest just seemed kind of gimmicky to me. And the Robot Building totally reminded me of 2XL (a toy robot that used 8 track tapes).
posted by jrossi4r at 9:38 PM on February 20, 2006

English cannot be the native language of the author of the commentary. Also, if the Tokyo Sofitel has over 72 rooms, would that be, say, 73?
posted by onegreeneye at 9:40 PM on February 20, 2006

who. what. Where?
posted by stbalbach at 9:47 PM on February 20, 2006

*golf clap* onegreeneye
posted by Skorgu at 9:47 PM on February 20, 2006

The architect's international reputation notwithstanding, the new Denver Art Museum falls (if only) into this category.
posted by cenoxo at 9:57 PM on February 20, 2006

Could have used more information on the sites. Builders, dates, locations. Bigger pictures, less retarded commentary. bleh.
posted by puke & cry at 10:01 PM on February 20, 2006 [1 favorite]

Somewhere, James Howard Kunstler is apoplectic.
posted by keswick at 10:29 PM on February 20, 2006


This is a category I call What The Hell Architecture. There seems to be no reason for doing anything better than, "hey, he designed it that way, it hasn't been done before, and we have the engineering technology, so what the hell."

And when you look at it, you say "what the hell???"

Radical designs can be done with taste, they can be utilitarian, and they can be beautiful beyond reason. And then there are radical designs which are nothing but radical.
posted by scarabic at 10:41 PM on February 20, 2006

Yeah, lighten up on the narrator, he's obviously not a native English speaker. His phrasing sounds German. Who cares if he mentions drugs too much?
posted by Liquidwolf at 11:01 PM on February 20, 2006

Is it true that the reflection from the new LA opera house is so intense it actually heats neighboring condos, or is that just a myth?
posted by slatternus at 11:14 PM on February 20, 2006

It's true. They set up a mesh screen to block out some of the glare and will attempt to give parts of the building a more matte finish.
posted by the jam at 11:18 PM on February 20, 2006

There's the EMP (another Gehry... thing). And don't forget Turning Torso.
posted by kindall at 11:23 PM on February 20, 2006

EMP reminds me, from the street, of a mechanical heart. Don't forget the Pompidou and the Seattle Public Library. My favorite, though, is The Blob.
posted by onegreeneye at 11:40 PM on February 20, 2006

Not really of the same mode, but I like Vancouver's Colisseum-style library. (starting with second image). Also here and "green" roof is here.

P.S. - as if L.A. doesn't add enough to global warming!
posted by SSinVan at 12:03 AM on February 21, 2006

Function, form. Form, function. Now I'm confused.
posted by ryoshu at 12:05 AM on February 21, 2006

Nice writeup of the Dancing Building (also known as "Fred and Ginger" to students of architecture) here. Of additional interest is the connection that Václav Havel has to this now-iconic Prague structure.

Personally, I can't wait to see Calatrava's new transit hub at the World Trade Center in the flesh skeleton.
posted by rob511 at 12:15 AM on February 21, 2006

i_cola: That birdhouse is off the hizzle.
posted by onegreeneye at 12:42 AM on February 21, 2006

Scarabic said: Whoa

To be fair, that image shows Daniel Libeskind's new "Frederick C. Hamilton" extension to the Denver Art Museum before all of its titanium cladding has been installed. The whitish areas are Tyvek building wrap. The custom framing required about three times the steel of a normal building of the same size.

There's a Flash presentation here about the new $62.5 million building (which IMHO looks like a dagger pointed right at the original museum.) It also feels like you're under a massive guillotine when you walk/drive under the catwalk connecting the two buildings. Artsy-craftsy maybe, but definitely not touchy-feely.
posted by cenoxo at 12:49 AM on February 21, 2006

Thomas Heatherwick's project for a Buddhist Temple in Japan. Possibly the weirdest ever?
posted by funambulist at 1:19 AM on February 21, 2006

That temple reminds me of the [url=]Selfridges building[/url] in Brimingham. It's a much more complex structure though.
posted by vbfg at 2:13 AM on February 21, 2006

Doh, been using to much bbcode lately. The real link.
posted by vbfg at 2:13 AM on February 21, 2006

I bring you, from the UK...

The Deep aquarium in Hull.
The Sage Gateshead music centre.
Selfridges in the freshly redeveloped Birmingham.
Glasgow Science Centre.

But no, I can't top the transit hub.
posted by NinjaPirate at 2:21 AM on February 21, 2006

How many of these are Gehry? Seems like a pretty high percentage.

And yes, onegreeneye, the blob was marvelous. I miss it.
posted by piratebowling at 3:47 AM on February 21, 2006

Here's a new building that's just been proposed in my hometown. Same firm that did the Seattle library.
posted by Mcable at 4:02 AM on February 21, 2006

Sorry. Botched the second link. it's here
posted by Mcable at 4:05 AM on February 21, 2006

Another Gehry.
posted by amro at 4:21 AM on February 21, 2006

In Manchester* UK:

Imperial War Museum North. The conception was that a hollow glass ball was dropped and three of the shards (representing the three branches of the armed forces, army navy and airforce) placed together to form the building design. By Daniel Libeskind, who I understand is doing the WTC word in NYC.

Lowry Centre (Google Images) theatre and arts complex, opposite the IWMN. The idea was that since the complex is on the Manchester Ship Canal, connecting Manchester/Salford to the sea, its design should also be about exploration. As you enter you are in a dark narrow area of the building with the lowest ceiling: as you move around the building the floor drops, ceilings rise and more glass adds light. (As part of this spirit of adventure, the architect mandated that no signs were to be provided: great if it's 2.28pm, you have two kids in tow and you need to find the toilet and your auditorium entrance before the matinee starts. Signs have now been added.) By Michael Wilford.

*Actually over the river in Salford.
posted by alasdair at 4:52 AM on February 21, 2006

What about that grain elevator that fell on its side a few months ago?
posted by ParisParamus at 4:56 AM on February 21, 2006

What's that building extension that was being built above (not on top of) a conventional building, supported by colored tripods? I think colored dots may have been involved. It was a university arts centre.
posted by cillit bang at 5:44 AM on February 21, 2006

Another Gehry, at MIT.
posted by Happy Monkey at 5:50 AM on February 21, 2006

You can't mention Libeskind without saying that he was the idiot behind the Freedom Tower.

And someone needs to put Gehry out of his misery. The best thing to come out of 9/11 was that they killed his Guggenheim project for the NY waterfront.

Personally, I prefer the Best department store buildings from the 1970s, that turned the concept of the box on its head. I wish I could find pictures, but my google fu blows.
posted by fungible at 6:07 AM on February 21, 2006

The Kio Towers in Madrid would certainly qualify in this category.
posted by JJ86 at 6:19 AM on February 21, 2006

This thread over at is kind of related. Very entertaining.
posted by Mcable at 6:21 AM on February 21, 2006

I've been to Wilson Hall at Fermilab a number of times, though not for a few years. The building is slowly tearing itself apart at the base, and there were large nets erected to catch any chunks of concrete that might happen to fall off last time I was there. Oh, and you couldn't use the elevators on one side of the building.

Talking of the elevators - they had the most fanciful ceilings I've ever seen on an elevator outside of, say, Disneyworld, and certainly in any Federal building I've been in (and I've been in, uhh, quite a few). The ceilings were made to look like stained-glass windows, constructed from backlit colored plexiglass/perspex/lucite, and in abstract designs. Quite out of place in such an environment.
posted by kcds at 6:26 AM on February 21, 2006

Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis
posted by DieHipsterDie at 6:40 AM on February 21, 2006

I mean Ontario College of Art And Design.
posted by cillit bang at 6:44 AM on February 21, 2006

Weisman, pfft. Minneapolis' more interesting crazy-architecture art museum is the new Walker.

And kcds, that makes me really sad to hear that Wilson Hall is crumbling... that's always been one of my favorite buildings.
posted by COBRA! at 6:47 AM on February 21, 2006

Lets not neglect the Tokyo Big Sight Convention center.
posted by Atreides at 7:12 AM on February 21, 2006

I saw a talk with 'Yes' album cover artist Roger Dean recently, and he showed the plans for a truly bizarre hotel that apparently they've actually got permission to build in the North of the UK. It looked like an enormous spiky pudding, and apparently they've also been told they can make it six stories higher than the plans stand at the moment.

His design for a hobbiton style village

And how can nobody have mentioned Gaudi yet?

Construction began in the 1880s, expected completion date is 2026. Now that's a motherfucker of a project.

I went and saw it. It's absolutely ace.
posted by 6am at 7:23 AM on February 21, 2006

Cool! Looks like we have enough material for a quality FPP.
posted by grateful at 7:30 AM on February 21, 2006

I'm glad someone finally mentioned the Weisman. Have you any idea what kinds of wisdom are required to put a shiny building along a major road? That runs east-west? The blindings at sunset are a hazard of the Washington Aveue commute!
posted by whatzit at 7:51 AM on February 21, 2006

Maybe Minneapolis could follow LA's lead and de-dazzle their Gehry building, by - sandblasting it.

"Even before the building opened in October 2003, residents and businesses complained of blinding glare. They also claimed that sunlight reflected from the building had caused temperatures in the vicinity to rise to 59C (138F). "

Anybody else less than amazed with the Walker addition? It looks like a massive alien head, and it doesn't add much gallery space. I guess it was built to have more space for events, and to install a yuppie restaurant.
posted by mammary16 at 8:33 AM on February 21, 2006

Fungible:Personally, I prefer the Best department store buildings from the 1970s, that turned the concept of the box on its head. I wish I could find pictures, but my google fu blows.

Voila! Please note, folks, the buildings that look like they're crumbling or falling apart were actually originally built that way.
posted by LionIndex at 8:52 AM on February 21, 2006

Stata Center, the Ghery building the Happy Monkey links to (and next to the big basket in the FPP link), is just as wierd inside as it is outside. A waste of both kinds of space.

My least-favorite building is the Wellesley College Library. I couldn't find any photos of its exterior to link to. It's one of those put-all-the-plumbing-on-the-outside-and-paint-it -primary-colors buildings, made all the worse by being set down in a collection of old brick classics.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:20 AM on February 21, 2006

Does this count as dancing about architecture?
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 10:26 AM on February 21, 2006

Oh, I love Fred & Ginger - especially because of its story, seeped in history: while Prague's cityscape survived WWII relatively unscathed, a stray bomb fell on the block on which the Dancing House now stands, dropped by an American pilot who apparently mistook Prague for Dresden. The structure is all the more striking when viewed in its physical context: here are all these rows and rows of stately Renaissance-era canal houses, and Fred & Ginger just jumps at you like a visual leap across centuries.

For more punk rock architecture, check out MVDRV; for example, their attempt to liven up an otherwise bland The Hague suburb by building identical houses, but covering each block's entire outer asurface with its own single material: aluminium, roof tiles, etc.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:47 AM on February 21, 2006

Also, Rotterdam's Cube Houses.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:53 AM on February 21, 2006

Another Koolhaas.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:57 AM on February 21, 2006

Fun FPP angrybeaver, thank you. Astounding architecture images in this thread, breathtaking. I particularly love i_cola's contribution of the AWESOME 'bird house' in Bali. ahh Bali. wow. Also love the other beautiful pics you took there. And scarabic's image of Frank Gehry's museum in Bilbao, so beautiful.

By any chance does anyone here know the name of the buildings in Amsterdam that are called by the locals there as "the drunken buildings"? It's a modern housing complex that looks 'drunken', tilted, at odd angles? I've been trying to find an image of it or know the name of the architect for years now.

There's the Bahai temple in Delhi, built to look like a lotus. Gaudi's creations in Barcelona. Konarak Temple, built to look like the chariot of the Sun God and the erotic sculpture incorporated into the temple at Khajuraho.
posted by nickyskye at 12:13 PM on February 21, 2006

Too bad Hundertwasser House isn't in here. I think it's the prettiest and most chaotic residential building I've ever seen.
posted by luriete at 12:28 PM on February 21, 2006

I love that picnic basket house!

I'll submit the Indiana University Art Museum. This picture does not do it justice at all. It's an I.M. Pei building and there are no 90 degree angles to be found.

And I can't forget the Thompson Center in Chicago.
posted by SisterHavana at 1:29 PM on February 21, 2006

Way cool. What’s with the emphasis on drugs, man?
posted by Smedleyman at 2:46 PM on February 21, 2006

oh, one of my old fav's Corbusier's Notre Dame du Haut. Also love the mysterious Coral Castle. And the Gingerbread House in Tyringham Massachusetts. A kitch house in Toronto. A building in Yemen. Cool location in Meteora.
posted by nickyskye at 4:31 PM on February 21, 2006

Federation Square in Melbourne is reasonably quirky too. Three more from the same site: Lou Ruvo Alzheimer's Institute [model only]. Sharp Centre for Design. MARTa Herford Museum.
posted by tellurian at 5:59 PM on February 21, 2006

Cool. I used to pass the Robot Building on my way to work every day.
posted by soiled cowboy at 8:22 PM on February 21, 2006

Whoa, that house in Yemen is amazing.
posted by onegreeneye at 10:15 PM on February 21, 2006

Those odd-looking buildings are not cool at all. I always think that a talented architect knows how to push the design to the limit by still working with "boring", tradtional lines and surfaces. That's how and where a talented architect shines. But hey, if you see yourself living or working in those buildings, whom am I here to judge?
posted by dy at 10:32 AM on February 22, 2006

Here in Japan these things are called "Baka Kenchiku" (literally Stupid Architecture), and here's an entire site (in Japanese, but I think the pictures speak for themselves...) dedicated to them.
posted by misozaki at 3:12 AM on February 23, 2006

Thanks misozaki, those are bizarre buildings! :)
posted by nickyskye at 3:21 PM on February 23, 2006

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