In practice, a focus on experience is usually code for irregularity, pure and simple. This was a major discovery of the picturesque: buildings resembling a collision of irregular volumes produce pleasing visual variety. The idea is to disallow a Gestalt reading of a strong form that would get in the way of a non-predetermined unfolding of experience. Herzog & de Meuron rely on a more difficult and dangerous strategy: the Parrish Art Museum needs an initial Gestalt reading — the iconic extrusion set in the landscape — in order to subvert it, creating a sense of surprise upon the discovery of an architecture that is not reducible to a simple figure. It is both a strong form and an experience that cannot be understood in these terms alone.
Matthew Allen has written a wonderfully delicate, restrained and thoughtful critique of Herzog and de Meuron's Parrish Art Museum for