JG Ballard, On the Other Hand, Really Dislikes the Bilbao Guggenheim


Perhaps knowing that we’d be offering up a story yesterday on Gehry‘s Guggenheim in Bilbao, we found by way of Archinect that novelist JG Ballard came up with his own take on the building, asking if the museum is architecture at all. According to Ballard, it seems to him to belong “to the category of exhibition and fairground displays, of giant inflatables and bouncy castles.” That’s not to say Ballard hates the Guggenheim with a passion, he just doesn’t see this kind of structure, and others like it, Gehry-built or otherwise, as being anything more than a building ported from its true home: Las Vegas.

Gehry’s museum would be completely at home there, for a year at least, and then look a little dusty and jaded, soon to be torn down and replaced by another engaging marvel with which our imaginations can play.

Novelty architecture dominates throughout the world, pitched like the movies at the bored teenager inside all of us. Universities need to look like airports, with an up-and-away holiday ethos. Office buildings disguise themselves as hi-tech apartment houses, everything has the chunky look of a child’s building blocks, stirring dreams of the nursery.

And with that, the verdict is in: authors hate new buildings. And we can’t say we’re not with them to some extent on this.