I was on a train going over the river the other day, and saw the Houses of Parliament silhouetted against the winter sky. And I thought to myself – it may be a ludicrous bit of Victorian pastiche, and the decision to make the parliament Gothic may have been hideously backward-looking and a touch Disney, but it sure looks striking in silhouette.
This has encouraged me to develop the Matt Groening Theory Of Architecture.
Apparently, the speed with which the London Eye and the Gherkin have been absorbed into the tourist souvenir industry – i.e incorporated into snowglobes and so on – is very unusual for new buildings. But in a Groening interview I once read, he explained his theory of cartoon character design – that they should be instantly identifiable in silhouette. Just cast your mind over the characters in the Simpsons, and you’ll see what he means. Well, one thing the Wheel and the Gherkin have in common is that they have completely distinctive silhouettes.
He also said he made the Simpsons yellow so that they’d immediately stand out when people were channel-hopping, but I don’t think that would be such a good idea applied to buildings.