May 5, 2006

Skyline irony.

The Frank Lloyd Wright building revitalized downtown into putting up lots of taller buildings that diminish the impact of the architectural marvel that once dominated the view of Madison as you drive in from the south and look across Lake Monona:
"[T]he very downtown renaissance that it was meant to help induce has now rendered Monona Terrace smaller in proportion -- an irony that is doubled when you consider that the vertical backdrop renders Monona Terrace almost Prairie Style in its low, flat geometry."

The linked article really needs a larger photograph. I should link to a better skyline photograph -- or go take one. For now, here are some pretty cool 360° shots of the Wright building.

UPDATE: I did go take some pictures.

13 comments:

Sissy Willis said...

Here's a beauty from a quick Google search:

http://international.wi.gov/images/00030048MadisonFromLakeSmal.jpg

Sissy Willis said...

Direct link

Sissy Willis said...

Why is it so hard to get the darned html right?

John said...

The Terrace is far more impressive from the inside than the outside. I'm not sure it would ever have been a focal point - especially with the beautiful capital building in the background. Therein lies the real tragedy - blocking the view of the capital!

BTW - I clicked through to The Long Emergency and it restored my optimism. The article was dated March of 2005 and by the tone and content, it's amazing we're all still alive over a year later!

Ann Althouse said...

Sissy: Yes, but it's totally the wrong picture, because it's a "before" not an "after." How does the skyline look today? You found a "pre-irony" photo.

Maxine Weiss said...

No no no ......Ann, don't even think of photographing another building.

You don't need any more copyright infringement problems.....

You and that digital camera of yours.......

If you'd listen to my theories: you could avoid any liability by simply using a brownie/disposable camera.

Sigh.

Peace, Maxine

MadisonMan said...

I'm not how higher buildings can detract from a low-slung one. They're entirely different. The true annoyance, as John notes, is the blocking of the Capitol View.

At least you can still see it from Springfield Hill on Hwy 12. A nice beacon at night.

brian said...

It's really difficult to find a recent photo of the skyline, especially as so many recent projects have transformed the Capitol area. I certainly haven't seen any shots with the sardine can condos, that's for sure.

Telecomedian said...

On my trip through Madison in 2004, I was rather impressed by the Monona Terrace. It's almost tucket away from the taller buildings like a little gem, yet incredibly accessible.

In almost every other city in the US, the local convention center is a hulking mass of concrete and steel, and seldom attractive. The old eyesores in Washington DC, Baltimore and Denver come to mind, not to mention the massive, sprawling complex in Las Vegas.

Madison at least has a pretty one. There are lots of bigger cities in the Midwest (Des Moines being aperfect example) that had to spend millions of dollars to make a better looking convention center.

Ann Althouse said...

It's not just pretty, it's Frank Lloyd Wright!

Slocum said...

BTW - I clicked through to The Long Emergency and it restored my optimism. The article was dated March of 2005 and by the tone and content, it's amazing we're all still alive over a year later!

But if you take 'The Long Emergency' seriously, there'll be no need for anything like a 'convention center' since a 'convention center' assumes, among other things, that cities will still be populated and people will be travelling over long distances (neither of which, according to Kunstler, will be the case during the 'Long Emergency').

I really don't understand what kind of person A) accepts Kunstler's views so matter of factly (that civilization as we know it is about to end) and yet B) spends time worrying about the aesthetics of Madison's skyline.

Eli Blake said...

Even small college cities are growing up (I used to live in Missoula, MT for awhile, I suspect it's not so unlike Madison). It's sort of a sad thing, as even the 1960's-1980's past of small cities that were small enough that you could still walk everyplace on a good day, and could count on running into people you knew on a night out seems to be fading into the collective memory book of America, where it will gather dust and wait for future generations of historians...

I still thank my lucky stars every day that I live in a town where the tallest point in town is the top of our church steeple, where you'd want to keep an eye ahead when you walk in order to miss the horse manure, and where new people in town are always made to feel welcome because when you see someone you don't recognize you know they must be new in town. There may be 'nothing to do,' but there's no better place to raise my kids.

downtownlad said...

A couple of things.

1) It is not a real Frank Lloyd Wright building, because it was built after he died. An architect really needs to oversee construction of his work for it be truly his. But it is pretty close. And it's quite good.

2) Frank Lloyd Wright would be horrified. He favored the horizontal and not the vertical. He was not a fan of skyscrapers (unless they were a mile high). He despised the architecture of New York City's highrises for example.