Sunday, September 28, 2008

Architectural Memories

This is a bit off-topic for souvenir building collectors, but today I read a story in The Washington Post about recently-renovated Museum of Arts and Design building in New York City. Edward Durrell Stone originally designed the building on Columbus Circle and Post writer Philip Kennicott wrote about its recent changes. I read this story with interest because I’ve been to Columbus Circle and have noticed this building many times. In fact, all of the projects mentioned in the article and designed by Stone I have also seen. The Unitarian Church in Schenectady, NY - I’d been to once while living in that area. The University at Albany campus is not far away and I’ve been there many times. The Kennedy Center in D.C. has been the venue of a few productions I’ve seen. I even remember the old Department of Cultural Affairs building at Columbus Circle because I went to the visitor’s center on the ground floor many, many years ago during one of my first visits to NYC. I never realized the same architect designed all of these buildings, but now it makes sense. They are all grand and a bit over-the-top in scale. The story also makes me ponder the way architecture is sometimes fleeting. Styles change, tastes change. But, why do we so often rip down building and build something newer, bigger (better?) In this case, the building was not torn down, but gutted and refaced leaving little of the original architect’s design to remain. In Europe, buildings last for centuries, here they may only last a few decades. Do you think this constant drive to change and ‘progress’ is good or bad? Does anyone know of a miniature replica of this building on Columbus Circle ever being produced?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Check out a Stone-designed house in Dallas that's featured in October's Architectural Digest. It was treated more kindly in its remodel than was the "lollipop" building.

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