Wednesday, 17 February 2010

VISION@SEABRAES, DUNDEE BY KEPPIE DESIGN

This project is actually a conversion of an old jute factory in Dundee into part of a digital media park. Park, in this context, presumably referring to the car park.
I mention that it's a conversion so you understand that Keppie probably had many limits on what they could do, constraints that held them back from really fulfilling their ambitions for the project. The biggest constraint of all is their COMPLETE LACK OF ABILITY TO DRAW A SHAPE THAT ANYONE MIGHT LIKE.
Here's a closeup of the facade:
It's tricky to know exactly what they were going for with the big viridian panels (solar cells, I think) with their slopey, 1970s-album-cover forms and the equally bizarre lozenge shaped windows. I think they're going for a, you know, dynamic, media, digital, new media kind of thing, which, to Keppie, means some sloping bits.
It's just fucking undignified. Like a middle-aged person trying to rap.
I think what finally does it is the combination of these pretentious, silly, cack-handed green gob-ons with totally standard glazing systems and the off-the-peg green glass canopy above the door, plus the business park standard parquet brick pathway (very new media) with spindly trees. Gesamtkunstwerk, this is not.
Keppie's view on the subject is hilarious. On their website, they say: "Exernally, the playful elevational treatment is in tune with the world of computer games." Maybe, if you haven't played a computer game since 1979. In fact, there is no computer game in the world today that has as low design values as this building, and certainly not a single one that uses a more horrible typeface than the inept 'Vision' sign above the door.
Vision@Seabraes was designed by a bald man who is 'an ex-shinty player and drives a Skoda.' [Note: they've changed their website and this quote is no longer there - but it's true... GoN]
Dundee has loads of shit new architecture in it, which I'm indebted to a correspondent for bringing to my attention - I'll get to more of it...

15 comments:

  1. That is so ugly it has made me sad I have eyes.

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  2. I love the ironic use of the word vision, the clever word play creates a delightful sense of wonder - is Martin's vision impairment literal or figurative?

    Unfortunately that jaunty cocked eyebrow asks more questions than it answers..

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  3. The Origami School of Architecture.

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  4. Nice to see you back Sir and, in this case, how back you are..

    "Gesamtkunstwerk, this is not.." - I dunno, it does seem oddly complete and undeniably oddly completed - one is rendered speechless by the absence of redeeming features. There truly are, none, a "Gesamtfuckup", if you will. Everyone can fuck up the odd feature or two, but it takes a Special Talent to get everything wrong, simul-fucking-taneously.

    The latter photo would probably make a great jigsaw puzzle for sado-masochists, hide the box lid, who the Fuck would believe that is the solution? The truly worrying aspect being, probably a perfectly inoffensive buidling previous to this affliction - New Media Dundonians, kill yourselves now.

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  5. Very giggle-worthy.

    Though, do you have any examples of architecture so bad that it is delightful? Sort of, must be preserved national treasure for its comic value type architecture.

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  6. Just found this blog and I really love it! Looking at all the ugly buildings presented here, there is obviously a real need for critical blogs such as yours! Nice work....
    Check out some (rather nice) architecture if you want:

    http://boris-photography.blogspot.com

    ;)

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  7. You may want to look up the word "vermilion". Shit building, obviously.

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  8. That sign there really is a fucking atrocity.

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  9. Despite the elevational incompetence this building does manage to achieve some fairly ok interior space - architecture is more than building image. Whilst I do not have much to say in defence of this ‘vision’ as a dundonian you do not have to go far to find worse. In fact this whole road is an architectural bad-dream.
    Next door is the greenhouse/ warehouse ‘sensations’, yes this is a science museum. Then comes the greenmarket car park which on first glance you might think is a fairly inoffensive multi-storey that is until you realise the detrimental effect of its shameless half-arsed aping on the actually delicious DCA (by richard murphy across the road). For the worst building on the street the award must go to the Inland Revenue. I can understand how dull being a commercial architect must be but barrel roofs are not the answer. Sometimes you have to wonder if an architect was even awake.
    Of course the real design sin belongs to the masterplanners who thought that putting a suburban business-park development on the city centre’s waterfront was a brilliant idea.

    If you can't get to dundee to appreciate this architectural wonder I suggest having a look with street view: greenmarket, dundee,scotland

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  10. "Playful" anything should be banned. 70s is right. I blame Homo Ludens. But have I missed February? And think you mean viridian.

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  11. Thanks for the comments about my colour confusion - I've adjusted it to Richmonde's elegant word, which is what I meant.
    Cheers,
    Nairn

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  12. I agree the building appears shit but is this really down to the architect being bald?

    I've almost finished Part Three and am losing my hair... should I not have bothered?

    Do skin colour, sex, religious views and ethnicity also have an effect on the quality of practising architect in your opinion?

    If so you're no better than the morons you lampoon.

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  13. Architects cannot do typography. Period. Full stop. Of course it's just shapes and i deal with shapes and space. It's always an afterthought always derivative, always stuck on. Usually some piss poor cut of frutiger, or some god-awful free font that came with auto-cad. Look at th size of that v. Leave it alone will you. and please don't leave to some signage people that just cut out plastics letters.

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  14. Architects cannot do typography. Period. Full stop. Of course it's just shapes and i deal with shapes and space. It's always an afterthought always derivative, always stuck on. Usually some piss poor cut of frutiger, or some god-awful free font that came with auto-cad. Look at th size of that v. Leave it alone will you. and please don't leave to some signage people that just cut out plastics letters.

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