$300 Million Offered to Any City That Won’t Hire Frank Gehry

We’ve loved writer Joe Queenan since as far back as we can remember (we have some particularly fond memories of reading his response to the overnight success of director Robert Rodriguez in his book The Unkindest Cut). It makes us even happier when, every once in a while, our little design-based world collides with his. A few months back, Queenan wrote a terrific piece about New York’s art deaccessioning plans. Now he’s written a bit about architecture, claiming to have found “an Iowa-based philanthropist and architecture aficionado” who will pay any city in the world $300 million if they agree never hire Frank Gehry to build something there. Per usual, it’s a wonderful pile of Queenan snark, and in particular we love his constant use of “swoopy” in describing the starchitect’s go-to style. It’s highly encouraged reading, Gehry fan, hater, or otherwise. Here’s a bit from the beginning, a quote from this mysterious, wealthy Iowan:

There’s a swoopy Frank Gehry building in L.A. There are swoopy Frank Gehry buildings in New York, Seattle, Cleveland, Toronto, Cambridge, Mass., and Princeton, N.J. That’s not to mention the swoopy Frank Gehry buildings in Basel, Switzerland, Miami Beach, Las Vegas and Bilbao, Spain. Everywhere you go on the planet, whether it’s an art museum, a concert hall, a corporate headquarters or a hospital, there’s a swoopy Gehry building. I’m not saying that the world doesn’t need any more swoopy Gehry buildings that look like dented Miller Lite cans. I’m just saying that maybe the world doesn’t need quite so many.