Cookie-cutter Duck

1/26/2009 Uncategorized

We have all heard of a Duck; Robert Venturi’s paradigm for buildings where the sculptural form of the entire building is at the service of the expressive agenda of the architecture (as opposed to the Decorated Shed).  But more recently, more economical ducks have emerged: dumb building types that have been given shapely silhouettes to make them more interesting. Normal clues of architectural scale such as legible windows and the rhythm of structural bays are typically suppressed by an overall graphic pattern or a homogenized cladding strategy that disguises the location of vision glass.  Aude Jomini, a Yale student, has named this class of buildings Cookie-cutter Ducks.  Contemporary Cookie-cutter Ducks are the progeny of the three large buildings that Cesar Pelli designed for the Pacific Design Center, beginning with the Blue Whale in 1975.  Rodolfo Machado and Rodolphe El Khoury talked about the same kinds of buildings through a slightly different theoretical lens in their 1995 book Monolithic Architecture.


Cesar Pelli, The Blue Whale (Pacific Design Center), Los Angeles, 1975


Neutelings Riedijk, Concert Hall, Bruges


Neutelings Riedijk, College, Rotterdam