Skipping through the Interner recently. I came across the above picture of the engineering building of the Cooper Union in New York City ... remember the Lincoln Douglas debates? I immediately thought that this must be another Frank Geary mishmash. I was wrong. 41 Cooper Square was designed by Thom Mayne ... see: Cooper Union Write-up.
Why do architects design such oddities? (Why do they have a first name like Thom?) The answer is obvious ... it is to set themselves apart from conventional architects whose buildings use materials that work, are functional, are reasonably economical, and look good. I can't believe that the above building meets any of these norms.
The first such architectural monstrosity I recall seeing was the Guggenheim Museum by Frank Lloyd Wright, another man with a "monumental ego". That building has been plagued with problems ... like many of Wright's houses. And the interior viewing space leaves lots to be desired. Unfortunately, Wright was wildly successful in getting commissions ... and so is slavishly emulated by the likes of Geary and now Mayne.
The people who commission these ego monuments obviously have more money than brains.