Wednesday, November 16, 2005

EDS Lovin'

Tropolism and Curbed are reporting about the webcam set up to document the renovation of Edward Durell Stone landmark thats about to get heavily changed. The outrage continues. But lets talk about a wierd, weird twist in the saga.

Perhaps the single loudest architectural voice crying for its preservation is one Robert A.M. Stern, the founder and head of RAMSA and the current Dean of the Yale School of Architecture. This letter and all these articles are just the begining, he's even been encouraging students to write op-eds in the Times for preservation.

Mr. Stern was the Cheif Editor of Perspecta 9/10, which snuck out a early copy of Robert Venturi's famous essay Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture. With the publication of that essay Mr. Stern was able to help coin the 70's and 80's (very publishable) catch-phrase 'the Whites vs. the Greys' to get some spotlight. He sided with Ken Frampton, Robert Venturi, and Vince Scully against the New York Five (Eisenman, Graves, etc.) in the battle for the soul of Postmodernism.

Defending this Edward Durell Stone building is in Mr. Stern's strongest interests. Two Columbus Circle was originally designed to showcase the "modern"-art collection of supermarket heir Huntington Hartford, and was specifically designed as a critique of the new Mueseum of Modern Art uptown (MoMA's building and art is as White as it comes). Both the collection and the building were trying to comment on the direction from modernism and those lollypop columns were a thumb-to-the-nose for those Whites.

All this explains RAMS's perfectly understandable motivations. Then The Gutter runs this on November 9th! Bwwwaaaa??? They're ranking him at [1:1] to be the architecture curator for the enemy? That is, hot ice and wondrous strange snow. If this is going to happen, then I'll be looking for the four horsemen and the locust in the sky.

And why not save the EDS building? The guy was awesome. He got on that plane a married man, sat next to a movie star, and was married to that movie star in less than a year. And, he died pennyless and drunk, sadly, the mark of all the great masters.


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