Here is a fatuously furious piece about the Walkie-Talkie building that just won Britain’s Carbuncle Cup. “The Walkie Talkie is a sty in London’s eye,” by Ned Beauman, browbeats the building as if it had committed a dark sin equalled by no other building. It is, he says, an “iceberg,” a building whose secret crimes are hidden and even more dastardly than its straightforward crimes against the eye of London. Beneath the surface of its toaster shape (and behavior!), the Walkie-Talkie proves that “we can’t say no to money”:
What the Shard proves about money is only that there is a lot of it around. What the Walkie Talkie proves about money is that we have lost the ability to say no to it, even when it howls giddy demands at us like an addled drug lord riding a zebra through the corridors of his palace.
Huh? I don’t know who Ned Beauman is, except that he’s a journalist, novelist and literary critic with a blog (“Ned Beauman’s blog“). Yet he must also be a mod-symp architecture critic because, like the rest of his tribe, he seems to think that because the Walkie-Talkie has won the Carbuncle Cup, it is somehow worse than the Shard, which has not. There seems to be one day a year when it’s okay for modernist critics to criticize a modernist building. But the Walkie-Talkie is no worse than the Shard, and no worse than every other modernist carbuncle – and the lot of them are all carbuncles, all but the ridiculously few that manage to eke some grace out of that void in the tool box of architectural design known as modernism. And they all prove that we can’t say no to money – speak for yourself, Bosco! – and they have been proving that for half a century and more.
Read the entire piece. It is very angry, very funny, very true, and very moot.
[Your globetrotting correspondent will be in Martha’s Vineyard for two days; this blog will vacation in Providence.]