At the same time, they are probably the most limited of this field having to deal with the constraints of high costs, tastes of their clients and making buildings functional. If you look around the built environment, the majority of it isn’t that impressive. It’s not that architects lack imagination, they just want to make a living like you and I.
I have a background studying architecture, but I try judging it with an untrained eye. Most people don’t have the depth of knowledge it takes to understand today’s avant garde work. And why should they? Architecture should be able to judged by everyone because it is the most permanent form of public art.
Frank Gehry designs innovative buildings. People find his work unique and beautiful, although they have a hard time explaining why. Most don’t relate to the complexities of deconstructionism, so the aesthetics of his buildings must stand alone.
Finding architects who are allowed this type of freedom are few and far between because essentially they have to ascend to starchitect status. Enter Eric Owen Moss. As a locally based architect, he stepped in during the mid eighties when Culver City wanted to remake an industrial zone with developers Frederick and Laurie Samitaur Smith charging that it be something iconic. The Smiths continued to buy up warehouses and hand Moss basically a blank slate in designing a number of projects.
If anything, his the complexity of his work seems to go a step further than Gehry, which may be a good or bad thing. His deconstruction is more detailed and specific. To some it appears as a mass of materials thrown together, but others can understand the beauty and order within his work. My initial thoughts are it’s a bit much, but the more I see people interact with it, the more I appreciate it.
Take for example the staircase of the IRS building. It looks gratuitous and impractical, but in practice it’s quite genius. The handrails appear to be out of perspective until you see in its usage how simple and practical it is. You need this type of eye to understand most of his work.
What’s great about the Hayden Tract is it’s accessibility. You may not be able to enter all the buildings, but you can wander around. If you haven’t already noticed it from the Expo Line, it is within walking distance of the Culver City station. Whether it’s your taste or not, it’s an unique experience you won’t find anywhere else.