Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Futuristic Hogwarts for Rich Weirdos

A flying saucer is really the perfect place for packing in pasty rich kids.

Bernard Tschumi Architects won a competition to design a performing arts center for an exclusive prep school this month. Entirely befitting a school made up of the malformed spawn of the astronomically rich, the place looks like a flying saucer.
The new building at the Institut Le Rosey--finishing school to the likes of the king of Belgium, the Aga Khan, the progeny of Liz Taylor, and many, many others whose parents have more money than God and a tiny gene pool--is a low-slung, shiny steel dome destined for the shores of Lake Geneva. The shape is meant as some sort of eco-friendly thermal shield, though to us, it has a vague martial quality; you half expect Gort to march out at any moment and start fire-beaming the Rothschilds.

According to the school’s clearly out-of-date Wikipedia entry, Carnal Hall (named for the school’s founder, not students’ pubescent yearnings), was supposed to be designed by the architect Paul Noritaka Tange, son of the great Kenzo Tange and himself a Rosean. Not sure what happened there. Our guess: The design was scrapped because it was kinda’ blah--not at all what you'd erect for the crownheads of Europe.

In any case, Tschumi is probably a better choice. The former dean of Columbia’s architecture school, he is best known, in recent years, for designing the controversial New Acropolis Museum in Athens. If he can navigate a political minefield that cuts to the bone of who owns ancient history, surely he’ll be fine answering to pernickety boarding-school types.

[Images courtesy of Bernard Tschumi Architects]

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