Empire State Plaza’s “Egg” has hit the big time- The Popular Mechanics “The World’s 18 Strangest Buildings and Why We Love Them” list.
This July, the American Institute of Architects forecasted steep declines in nonresidential construction spending through 2010. Spending is projected to decrease by 16 percent this year and another 12 percent in 2010. With less money flowing through the industry, high-end design projects are likely to be scaled back; architects, builders and regular folk are opting for retrofits with more practical design. While the demand may be turning to minimal and frugal architecture, unusual design still holds a place for museums and other prominent locations, primarily because it is so effective at turning heads. Here are some of our favorite unusual designs for museums, offices, homes and libraries—and why they are so effective at drawing attention.
The Egg is in good company. The magazine also lists Frank Gehry’s “Dancing House” in Prague, Czech Republic (12), Gehry’s “Guggenheim Museum” in Bilbao, Spain (10),” “The Gherkin,” aka “The Towering Innuendo,” in London, UK, (2), and “Habitat 67,” Montreal, Canada (3). But let’s not get too excited. The list also includes “The Flintstone House” (5), “The Basket Building” (8), and “The Community Bookshelf” (9).
Here’s how they described The Egg:
Background: This building is the Center for Performing Arts. It holds two theaters for concerts and shows, one seating 450 people and the other with capacity for 892.
How It’s Strange: You won’t see many copies of this design because it requires an intensive support system. A heavily-reinforced concrete beam helps maintain the egg shape and transmit its weight to the supporting stem, which extends six stories underground. The end result is a building that looks like a sculpture, with an interior without straight lines or corners.