A letter to the editor, Sydney Morning Herald, January 14, 2011.
The ABC screened a nice documentary last night, “Getting Frank Gehry”, about the new UTS Business School building. The only thing spoiling the show was Sydney’s rusted-on architecture critic Elizabeth Farrelly having another self-conscious whinge. And I remembered that I wrote a letter to the Herald after she had a go in 2011 when the design was unveiled (see “Gehry has designed a building that is more about him than us”).
Where would damp squib critics be without the ‘starchitects’ they love to hate?
Letter as published
Ironically, Elizabeth Farrelly’s diatribe against Frank Gehry and his UTS design is really all about her. She spends 12 flabby paragraphs defending criticism (please! Aren’t Australians OK by now with the idea of critics?) and bravely mocking Gehry as “starchitect”.
Eventually Farrelly lets go her best shots: mild rhetorical questions about the proposal’s still unseen interior, daft literalism about buildings being unable to move, and a “quibble” about harmony. I guess she likewise dismisses Gaudi and his famous fluid masonry.
Farrelly’s contempt for the university’s ”boot licking” engagement with this celebrated architect is simply myopic. The thing about geniuses like Gehry and Utzon is that brave clients can trust that the results will prevail.
Stephen Wilson, Five Dock