Monday, July 11, 2011


Got a glimpse of the under-construction and relocating Dallas Nature and Science Museum, which ironically (and surely as intended) looks completely unnatural and not of science, and it's um, coming along I suppose.

I don't think nicely would describe it, but my opinion was set before the first spade hit the dirt for a building emblematic of our predicament as a Sun Belt city, a young city, with early onset of Alzheimer's. It's been so long since we knew how to build cities, when it was intuitive, a part of tradition, when it was just "in the air" and everyone knew how to do it, because that is the way it was always done as part of time tested

It's also indicative of a fundamental problem within the architecture and design professions, where standing out is all that is necessary for something to be outstanding. Where the individual is valued and strived for moreso than the sum of the parts. But you can't escape that sum of parts. It is innate. It is what produces that increment that is the reason for cities in the first place.

Sure, there is a place for the outstanding, things to be celebrated, barriers bested (ie triumphs of human achievement politically, scientifically, structurally, culturally) and in order to stand out, it ought to be a centerpiece, on a platform of the normal, not amongst a cacophony of similarly screaming children. Baroque city layouts work well in doing this (see: DC and Paris). Nor is it a mere billboard. Something to be admired or questions ("the F is that?") whilst zipping by on the way to CostCo. A cherry on top of a vanilla ice cream. But that cherry ideally is natural as well, not produced in a frankensteinian laboratory for the pursuit of the original.