"You get work through getting awards, and the award system is based on photography. Not use. Not context. Just purely visual photographs taken before people start using the building." Tales were told of ambitious architects specifically designing their buildings to photograph well at the expense of performing well.
[…] “Awards never reflect functionality. I remember serving on a jury one time and suggesting, ‘Okay, we’ve winnowed this down to ten projects that we really like. Let’s call the clients and see how they feel about the buildings, because I don’t want to give an award to a building that doesn’t work.’ I was hooted down by my fellow architects.”
Frank Lloyd Wright was chosen by a poll of the American Institute of Architects as “the greatest American architect of all time.” They all knew his damp secret:
Leaks are a given in any Wright house. Indeed, the architect has been notorious not only for this leaks but for his flippant dismissals of client complaints. He reportedly asserted that, “If the roof doesn’t leak, the architect hasn’t been creative enough.” His stock response to clients who complained of leaking roofs was, “That’s how you can tell it’s a roof.”
[…] To live in one of his houses is to be the curator of a Frank Lloyd Wright museum; don’t even think of altering anything the master touched. They are not living homes but petrified art, organic only in idea, stillborn.
[…] “catalog architecture” buildings are guided by a standard homogenized pool of building lore which is no longer regional and often not even national, but world-encompassing, inescapable and unchallengeable.
How else can we explain the survival from decade to decade of the aluminum-frame sliding glass door? It seems to serve simultaneously as a door, window, and wall, but it’s terrible at all three. As a door it’s fiddly and awkward to open, and dangerous, since it has the vicious property of looking the same when open or closed, and people walk smack into the glass. As a window it reveals too much in both directions and makes any view quickly boring. And it’s worthless as a wall, being nonstructural and noninsulated, bleeding heat in whatever is the wrong direction. The sliding glass door is a measure of how remote the builders’ decisions have become from the users’ experience and of how powerless users are in the face of standardized building doctrine.
A modernist tract of 1940 stated: […] The outward form of the modern house becomes the outgrowth of a plan built around the interests, routine activities, and aspirations of the client and his family expressed in terms of materials employed. Thus human need comes first. In skillful hands new appropriate and beautiful forms may emerge from an architecture which, discarding style, lets the house grow from the inside outwardly to express the life within.
This “inside-out” design approach was thrilling, but it made the profound mistake of taking a snapshot of the high-rate-of-change “organic life” within a building and immobilizing it in a confining carapace - the expensive, low-rate-of-change Structure and Skin of the building. Too eager to please the moment, over-specificity crippled all future moments. It was the image of organic, not the reality. The credo “form follows function” was a beautiful lie. Form froze function.