One man's Guggenheim, another man's toilet

Unconventional design is like an architectural Rorschach

Way back in 1978, at the dawn of postmodernism, the architect and social critic Charles Jencks noted how bad most architects are at gauging public reaction to their work. Apparently unlike most architects, Jencks recognized that laypeople, rather than perceiving sly aesthetic references to history or some other arcane theoretical underpinning, more often associate unusual architectural forms with things that are closer to their experience.

To cite a common example, while modern architects considered the monotonous window grids of their high-rise buildings to be the apotheosis of form following function, critics and cartoonists routinely lampooned them as grid-paper charts or huge filing cabinets.