Frank Gehry’s UTS building is no Opera House

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Frank Gehry's UTS building is no Opera House
A model of the UTS business school designed by Frank Gehry

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Frank Gehry's UTS building is no Opera House
A model of the UTS business school designed by Frank Gehry

In 1963, when the Opera House was just a pedestal and a possibility, Norman Juster wrote The Dot and the Line; a romance in lower mathematics. Though easily mistaken for a children’s book, it should be required reading for all students of design.

The Dot and the Line is a love story and a parable, the tale of a flirtatious dot who must choose between a sensible line and an audacious squiggle. At first enchanted by the freedom-loving squiggle, the dot learns that “what she had thought was freedom and joy was nothing but anarchy and sloth.” The moral of the story? “To the vector belong the spoils.”

This is not a style thing, straight versus curved. It is a disquisition on entropy (the measure of disorder in a system) and whether design should oppose, embrace or ape it.
I was reminded of this recently during a minor Facebook stoush over the half-built Gehry building in Ultimo. Within days of the “crazy left-wing frightbat” episode I stood accused once more, this time of being reactionary, superficial and patronising, a tiresome pseudo-critic, “the Christopher Pyne of the architecture world”.

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