Monday, May 13, 2013

Gehry's Spark

Last night's PBS special “Ten Buildings that Changed America” was a quick look a several “uniquely American” architectural styles. All the big names were there:  Thomas Jefferson’s neoclassical temples,  Richardson’s Romanesque, and ending with Frank Gehry’s free-form Walt Disney Concert Hall. The show was especially timely for me; I had been admiring one of Gehry’s lesser known works only the week before: The Weisman Art Museum on the University of Minnesota campus. The playfulness of its stainless steel siding has given a new life to the University’s Mall for across the street there is now another inspiring a modern masterpiece (with the most uninspired name, however) “Science Teaching Student Service”:

The information desk couldn’t help me with the name of the architect (William Pederson), but the design he and his team created is a winner, both on the outside and the interior:

When I was at the “U” this was the site of a truly dreadful temporary building made of concrete and plywood.

The idea of human progress isn’t dead yet:

This may have been built without the spark from Gehry’s Weisman, but I doubt it.

By Professor Batty


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