19 June 2007
Smarmy banker feigns taste.
The New York Times published an article today explaining recent developments in the story of modernist architect (and designer of NYC's Whitney Museum) Marcel Breuer's only skyscraper, the Cleveland Trust Tower in Boston. The city of Boston has purchased the building and plans to demolish it and construct in its place a 15-story building at a cost of $223M (retrofitting the existing 29-story tower would cost $185-$200M, a significant savings for taxpayers). Along with Walter Gropius (founder of the Bauhaus school), Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier, Breuer was a founding architect of the modernist movement, and a designer of tremendous skill and distinction.
It goes nearly without saying that I think the building is worth preserving and retrofitting for both cultural and financial reasons, but Julie Baker, a commercial banker quoted by the Times, disagrees: "That thing looks like a collector’s case for Matchbox cars...If I could get a wrecking ball, I’d tear it down myself.”
Wow, thanks for your opinion, Julie! If I had some brass knuckles, I'd punch you in the face. I don't give a damn what you think, you unconsidered savage. I bet if your thinking was so short-sighted at that fancy commercial bank of yours, they'd have fired you last week. Regardless of what you think, the building has a singular meaning for the city of Boston and for the architectural community, and the vicissitudes of your taste are a minuscule irrelevance compared to it. Also, it's great of you to consider the waste of material and embedded energy produced by demolishing a building that large...I guess it's just like throwing away a paper towel you used to dry your hands, right? Thank you, though, for participating in the now well-worn cycle of judgment that so often underappreciates an artist in his or her own time or soon thereafter, resulting frequently in the destruction or mistreatment of what time almost inevitably accords--especially in the case of otherwise celebrated creators--widespread acceptance, AND, gasp!, sometimes even appreciation.
So, numskull, how 'bout you tighten up that loose cannon mouth of yours and consider the dialog occurring between the tower and the adjacent Beaux-Arts rotunda -- you might put your brain to good use.