Archive for September 29th, 2011

Shouts and whispers

September 29, 2011 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)




I was delighted to read Saurabh’s comments of Sept 27 and this post is a continuation of that conversation.

Charles and Monika Correa are dear friends and I count myself among their most ardent fans (Monika is a major artist in her own right – she weaves tapestries, some of which are on display in I.M.Pei’s ‘Four Seasons’ building in New York – a fine building but not his best, in my view, but I’ll save that for another post…).

Monika and I have talked about Frank Gehry’s MIT building (the Stata Center) and I have to say that much as I love her, I disagree with her on this. I think the Stata Center is a miracle, one of Gehry’s greatest works. What I particularly love about it is the way it plays with the forms of the medieval European university town.



The curved lines and shapes give the interior an unexpected intimacy; it is the least institutional of any institutional building I have ever been in. Even the corridors are broken up by little nooks and corners where people can gather and talk. It struck me that such a playful building might not appeal to a student body like MIT’s  – but everyone I spoke to there loved it.

But Monika is certainly right about the leaks in the building (in fact they prompted MIT to sue Gehry but the matter was amicably resolved). But many innovative buildings have practical shortcomings and this one’s are unlike any other. There is a room that cannot be used because there’s something about its shape that makes people seasick – I didn’t believe it until I stepped in.

Charles’s MIT building  (‘The Brain and Cognitive Sciences complex‘) is across the road from the Stata Center, almost begging comparison. Only a very brave architect would take on such a commission – but Charles is nothing if not brave and he succeeded in creating a splendid counterpoint to the Gehry building. It is quite unlike anything else he has built, a marvel of understated elegance. I once asked him about the thinking behind it and he said: There’s no point in answering a shout with a shout; sometimes a whisper is better’.

But Charles’s masterpiece is not at MIT. Nor is it in India, which is rather sad… but I’ll save the rest for another post.

ucuz ukash