PASSED THROUGH BOSTON THIS WEEKEND and drove by Diller Scofidio + Renfro's new Institute for Contemporary Art. Quite a cantilever, I must say.
One thing that is very evident in the construction photos is the artificiality of this whole "ribbon" or "wrapper" business that dominates not only DS+R's work but also that of many other contemporary practitioners. You can see where the veneer will be applied (along the blue "slab edge" surface and back around the center portion of the building to the exterior stair) to create the image of a continuous ribbon that perhaps, supposedly, creates some sort of programmatic organizational logic. My question is: what is this image— since it is merely an image— getting us?
Maybe a random thought, you say— but very relevant to today's practice. Some have said that contemporary architecture is now in the midst of a new "international style" defined loosely by an affinity for smoothness, continuous surfaces, ribbons, wrappers, etc.... I ask again, though, what is the point, especially if this continuity often remains simply a veneer, an afterthought, a myth? There must be some potential meaning in the formal devices at play, yes?