Architecture can be funny. Of course, it often makes for a well-disposed butt of the joke, like when Frank Gehry is satirized on the Simpsons, but buildings themselves can be funny as well. Philosophers like Kant believed humor was in the incongruity between what is expected and what is experienced. There are all sorts of expectations placed on buildings and an infinite number of ways that incongruity might grow between those expectations and what a building actually delivers. This video explores some of the most interesting of these humorous buildings through history, from Giulio Romano’s Mannerism, to SITE Architects BEST stores, and many more. Finally, it points to some contemporary practices that deploy humor to achieve more than just a chuckle.
Architecture with Stewart is a YouTube journey exploring architecture’s deep and enduring stories in all their bewildering glory. Weekly videos and occasional live events breakdown a wide range of topics related to the built environment in order to increase their general understanding and advocate their importance in shaping the world we inhabit.
Stewart Hicks is an architectural design educator that leads studios and lecture courses as an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also serves as an Associate Dean in the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts and is the co-founder of the practice Design With Company. His work has earned awards such as the Architecture Record Design Vanguard Award or the Young Architect’s Forum Award and has been featured in exhibitions such as the Chicago Architecture Biennial and Design Miami, as well as at the V&A Museum and Tate Modern in London. His writings can be found in the co-authored book Misguided Tactics for Propriety Calibration, published with the Graham Foundation, as well as essays in MONU magazine, the AIA Journal Manifest, Log, bracket, and the guest-edited issue of MAS Context on the topic of character architecture.