The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 11

PUBLIC VOCABULARY

One of the things that caught our attention when we first started researching this topic,
was the language that laypeople are prepared to use when describing buildings they
don't like. When they like a building, they tend not to talk about at all.
In 1989, HRH The Prince of Wales added a royal dimension to the discussion when he
famously described the proposed extension to the National Gallery in London as something
resembling "a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much loved and elegant friend."
Clearly, Prince Charles exercised great care in selecting the word "carbuncle." A
carbuncle is beyond ugly - better described as hideous and grotesque. "Ugly," on the
other hand, is a word more suitable for commoners to use. It is a short, powerful word
that adds little to a conversation. Instead, it replaces conversation with a summary
judgment. Ugly is not a word that architects use.
Here are a few "ugly" comments from the popular press:
Monumentalism gone monumentally wrong, this hubristic
conceit...is one of Montreal's biggest eyesores. Beauty may be
only skin deep, but ugliness, at least in this case, goes from top
to bottom."
- Christopher Hume, in Mark Kearney and Randy Ray eds. Canadian Book
of Lists. Toronto: The Dundurn Group, 1999, referring to Montreal's Olympic
Stadium by Roger Taillibert, 1976

Last week, for the first time in months, my work responsibilities
took me to Bloor St. I walked along,
aghast at the ugly, cheap-looking monstrosity..."
- Nicholas Mawer, Toronto, May 5, 2007,
The Toronto Star, referring to the Michael Lee Chin Crystal at the
ROM in Toronto

With the addition of words like "hubristic," "eyesores" and "monstrosity,"
the discussion is easy to recognize as visceral, rather than intellectual. As
columnist John Barber points out, it's not so much the buildings that are ugly,
it's the discussion.
NAME THAT BUILDING

At the Ottawa seminar, we presented the audience with a quiz. Which well-known
historical buildings have been described as follows:
1. "It is to be regretted that ages are likely to elapse before [it] will fall down."
2. "A toilet bowl," "A hangar for flying saucers," "an inverted potty"
3. "The back of a refrigerator, "a $200 million erector set"
4. Described as "useless and monstrous," a well-known writer often ate lunch there,
because it was the only place where he could avoid looking at it.
5. "an architectural joke, an eyesore, an anachronistic intrusion [...] and a megalomaniacal folly"
6. "Sweet jeezly nonsense"
See answers on page 13.

EIFFEL TOWER, PARIS,
STEPHEN SAUVESTRE,
MAURICE KOECHLIN AND
EMILE NOUGUIER
CREDIT: SAMANTHA SMITH,
CREATIVE COMMONS

PROFESSIONAL VOCABULARY

When it comes to furthering architectural discussion, architects are often even less
successful than the general public. Where the public resorts to visceral, emotional,
sometimes aggressive language, the profession falls back on alienating intellectuality.
Here are a few examples:
... a vibrant typological experiment, transforming the intellectual/social agitator.
- World Architecture News

The experience of the park will change not only relative to environmental or
seasonal doctrines, but also relative to economic or industrial doctrines.
- A competition entry

This speculative section anticipates necessary organizational strategies based
on prior analysis, hybridization and successional anticipations.
- A competition entry
The Right Angle | Winter 2017/2018 | 11



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017

Message from the Board
Why aren’t All Buildings Beautiful?
Resilience: The Forest and the Trees
Index to Advertisers
Locations: City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Intro
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - cover1
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - cover2
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 3
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 4
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 5
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 6
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Message from the Board
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Why aren’t All Buildings Beautiful?
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 9
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 10
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 11
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 12
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 13
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 14
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 15
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 16
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 17
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 18
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Resilience: The Forest and the Trees
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Index to Advertisers
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - Locations: City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - 22
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - cover3
The Right Angle Journal - Winter 2017 - cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0220
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0120
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0419
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0319
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0219
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0119
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0418
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0318
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0218
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0118
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0417
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/BEFQ/BEFQ0317
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com