If cutting-edge architecture were pleasing to the masses of ordinary folk, then it wouldn’t be cutting edge, would it?
So of course, being a regular Joe, my immediate, visceral reaction to Chinese architect Ma Yansong’s design for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, planned for the lakefront, was to sigh, then shake my head in bewildered sorrow, then jump onto Twitter to lay claim to what I hope will be its derisive nickname attached to it in the same way that Anish Kapoor’s “Cloud Gate” is affectionately referred to only as “The Bean.”
“I’m not in love with George Lucas’ Space Mountain design,” I tweeted. “It looks like landscape of the planet the UFO landing on Soldier Field comes from.”
A little awkward, that last sentence. But Twitter’s 140-character limit can throw you off your stride.
“Space Mountain,” of course, is the cheezy roller coaster at Disney World.
I am not an architecture critic, so I figured it is a done deal if they’re releasing the sketches, and understood that, not being an expert, the wonders of Yansong’s design were perhaps beyond my ken.
So I was gratified to see that the Tribune’s Blair Kamin, who is an architecture critic, and a good one, gave both barrels to the Lost Alp last week, calling the “widespread public revulsion” toward the design understandable because “this cartoonish mountain of a building would be glaringly out of place” on Chicago’s lakefront. Amen.
If you want to see where a building like this belongs, look at the Denver International Airport, a series of peaks not unlike a CGI droid army of the ski slope that George Lucas plans to build downtown. The style was sorta hip 20 years ago, but even located in the middle of a Rocky Mountain nowhere, it’s hard to view it kindly. I’ve been through it many times, and my primary thought is: I bet they saved a bundle, putting up a tent, as opposed to constructing an actual roof.
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