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View Diary: An architect dies. His greatest building lives... for now. (43 comments)

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  •  Having spent many happy hours (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    back in the 70's occupying the outer offices of Mayor Kevin White and various other dignitaries, I found that the concrete reality of the building directly contradicted its espoused meaning. Back then its apologists defended it on suitably democratic grounds - the open space underneath was supposed to integrate the life of the streets with the halls of power, and the inverted pyramid somehow symbolized an anti-ziggurat of people power.
    In reality, the workings of government seemed to be more removed from the populace, looming over the desolate plaza like a threatening anvil cloud. I'm sure that the autocratic regime of Mayor White helped to create that impression; had there been a Mel King administration I might have found more to like in the architecture.
    BTW, I do like some other futurist piles that many can't stand, like this one

    Plangentarchy: dictatorship of the whiners

    by Perry the Imp on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 12:52:34 PM PDT

    •  Holy crap. (2+ / 0-)
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      NYFM, Perry the Imp

      Looks an awful lot like UWM's Curtin Hall (reputedly shrunk by 10% because of budget issues, and very believable if you actually use the building: everything is too small).

      Google map. Do street view for a gander at the formed concrete monstrosity!

    •  Glad you posted that, because.... (1+ / 0-)
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      Perry the Imp

      appropriately, this is where, at the tender age of 17, I saw my very first screening of "A Clockwork Orange".  It was a Friday night in October, and my older brother and I just stood in line like the rest of the UMass students. You enter the auditorium from the lower level portal seen in this picture.

      It's appropriate of course because of ACW's architectural settings...

      and to add to the atmosphere, because the showing was sold out, a small riot of unhappy (and likely imbibed) UMass students were pounding at the fire doors just to my right to be let in.  That whole evening was surreal, and all the more so because of Kubrick's masterpiece.

      •  Building 20 (0+ / 0-)

        On the subject of funky but beloved university buildings, I had the the distinct pleasure and honor of working in MIT's Building 20 back in the 80's and 90's, shortly before it was finally demolished after hosting the development lab for radar during WWII, the office of Noam Chomsky and the rest of the Linguistics Dept, the Solaria solar car workshop, the innovative multimedia developers in the Laboratory for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, and pretty much anything else interesting at MIT in the 2nd half of the 20th Century. It was lauded by Stewart Brand in How Buildings Learn and Jonah Lehrer in The New Yorker.
        How exactly this building came to be such a legendary incubator of creativity is not known, but it is pretty clear that one important factor was that the building itself was not a work of art or an institutional status symbol. If you needed to bust a hole in the roof or run an unofficial cable between offices you could pretty much do it. For some reason, institutions continue to ignore this lesson and erect inflexible structures that begin to obsolesce before the ground is broken.

        Plangentarchy: dictatorship of the whiners

        by Perry the Imp on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 07:00:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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