May 17, 2017

"That gazebo out in the water looks stupid."

Said Meade, when I asked him what he thought of the plan for a park over John Nolen Drive here in Madison.



I can't reproduce my response verbatim. I'll just say it contained the phrase "It's Frank Lloyd Wright!" about 10 times. The "gazebo" part of the new design is a boathouse Wright conceived long ago and getting that thing built has been a long-time dream of some people here in Madison...



... and I'm one of the dreamers.

It's Frank Lloyd Wright! I don't care if it looks stupid. It's our stupid. It's Frank Lloyd Wright stupid...

51 comments:

CStanley said...

It would be ok if the roof didn't look like a Chinaman's hat.

The other issue, I assume (hope) is just related to the style of the plan drawing- that the buildings along the waterfront all look like they were designed by Soviet architects.

David Begley said...

Love it. Madison landmark. Iconic. Right up there with the arch by the stadium. Do it.

chickelit said...

Wright idea, wrong place.

BarrySanders20 said...

Only looks stupid from that aerial view. How many people will see if from there?

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, Frank Lloyd Wright stupid could be pretty darned stupid. His houses are beautiful to look at, but many of them can't really be lived in and Fallingwater was falling down because of how badly he muffed the physics of the engineering calculations.

Plus, Meade is right. The building clashes with its surroundings.

JohnAnnArbor said...

It would be ok if the roof didn't look like a Chinaman's hat.

Chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature. Asian-American, please.

lgv said...

My opinion is that it is not stupid and not because it is by Frank Lloyd Wright. Perhaps a poll is in order.

robother said...

I have encountered this reverence for everything Frank Lloyd Wright in other midwesterners (come to think of it, they were also from WI).

MaxedOutMama said...

I don't think gazebo being out there is necessarily stupid, but the roofline does look quite wrong with both the lines of the dock and the city skyline as portrayed. It's jarring. I also have great doubt about the functionality.

It's just wrong. I'm gonna go with Meade on this one.

I also think the whole thing might be taken out by a winter storm, so trust Meade on this one. There may be a reason why FLW's design is still languishing after all these years.

rhhardin said...

Cannons firing inland would be a good plan.

JohnAnnArbor said...

He designed lots of stuff that wasn't built, such as "The Illinois," a mile-high tower intended for Chicago.

Imagine THAT thing in the wind. Dang.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Cannons firing inland would be a good plan.

Rare is the city that turns artillery on itself.

Eric said...

If this is just your tax dollars at work I'm okay with it, but I suspect it's one of those infrastructure projects where the large majority of funds come from others. The logic behind liking these projects is that they're getting stuff we pay for so we should get something too. Everybody gets stuff they don't value nearly as much as it costs and they resent how little of their taxes that go to the state or the feds get returned to them, so they want even more. Trying to cut funding for this is "unfair" so it just goes on and on...

rehajm said...

Looks more McKim, Mead and White than FLW.

MadisonMan said...

So they're making John Nolen/151 a tunnel under all of that? And why is East Wilson about 8 lanes wide?

MadisonMan said...

(Where's the rail infrastructure?)

Meade said...

Fine. Go ahead and build it. But then plant vines.

Renee said...

It's all about the wedding industry. Why else for a Gazebo?

JohnAnnArbor said...

Vines aren't in the original design, Meade.

I'm sure all the landscaping, light fixtures, etc. are specified. It's FLW. Detail, man.

Quaestor said...

Round boathouses have a very long provenance.

Check out this artist's reconstruction of the Grand Harbor of Carthage, the foundation of Carthaginian maritime dominance of the Western Mediterranean until Scipio Africanus destroyed the city and dammed the harbor.

Bill said...

It's lovely, but I hope its roof doesn't leak, like so many of his buildings.

Ann Althouse said...

"So they're making John Nolen/151 a tunnel under all of that?"

It's already partially a "tunnel" under Monona Terrace.

The road is already there. It's just a matter of building downtown parkland on top of it. I think it's a great use of the waterfront which is now hard to get to. Why should the cars rushing along that path be the main thing? That's a really valuable location. It shouldn't just be a highway.

tcrosse said...

It reminds me of the Witch's Hat Tower in Minneapolis, writ large.

Curious George said...

The DNR going to allow building out into the lake?

gspencer said...

No, it looks like one of those African huts,

http://www.nationalparks-worldwide.info/eaf/ethiopia/national-parks/central-parks/hut-central-south-ethiopia.jpg

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

It looks like the hotel in Marilyn Monroe movie Some Like It Hot.

I've always liked that place. I wonder where it wad. I wonder if it's still there. I'll need to Google that one day.

tcrosse said...

It looks like the hotel in Marilyn Monroe movie Some Like It Hot.

Hotel Del Coronado, near San Diego. Still there.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Thanks tcrosse, that's it! Very beautiful hotel. I need to add that to my list until I saw the nightly rate!

LordSomber said...

"Gazeeebo… ya like that word?"

Quaestor said...

Hotel Del Coronado, near San Diego. Still there.

In the movie, wasn't the hotel supposed to be in Miami?

Here it is.

And here it is in the movie.

James Pawlak said...

As his Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee demonstrates, Wright MAY have been an artist, but his lack of engineering skills would have resulted in: An award of great damages in the case of a lawsuit; And, the revocation of his licence.

Expat(ish) said...

@Quaestor - I just finished listening to a history of the Punic wars and that was EXACTLY my first thought.

The leading citizens should be wary if someone asks them to give up all their arms and siege equipment in return for a peace treaty from the Senate.

I'm just saying.

-XC

David Baker said...

Although less extravagant, they've built - and subsequently torn down - similar structures off Flagler Drive along the Intracoastal Waterway in downtown West Palm Beach. But except for the annual Sunfest music festival, which draws huge crowds over a long early May weekend, the waterfront “improvements” have been a bust. Other than a few dog-walking locals and one or two tourists, it's essentially a ghost-attraction 362 days a year.

But the reasons why are not hard to figure out. First; a lack of convenient parking. Second; security, particularly after sunset. Third; perception. All of downtown WPB sits next to a ghetto, so no matter how much they beautify the area, people are reluctant to come- except in large groups, such as Sunfest. But even in this instance, free bus service from large outlying parking lots shuttle in 99% of the festival goers.

Nevertheless, the planners are busy again about building docks, floating gazebos, and whatever else they can throw into the water. But the area doesn't need any improvements, it's beautiful as is, only a mile or so upstream from Mar-A-Lago, and directly across from the town of Palm Beach.

What they really need is a safer location. Although you can see Palm Beach just across the water, it's really a million miles away.

Meade said...

LordSomber said...
"Gazeeebo… ya like that word?"
--------------
"It's too late. You've awakened the Gazebo; it catches you and eats you."

Unknown said...

That big cone roof looks so UnWright. Now Buffalo's boathouse does look Wright.... http://www.wrightboathouse.com/

Annie C said...

https://hoteldel.com/press/like-hot-filmed-hotel-del-coronado/

Earnest Prole said...

I love it — very Midwestern Emerald City of Oz. Meade has a heart of stone.

More on the cultural roots of civic buildings on the water in “The Wizard in the White City: L. Frank Baum and the Chicago World’s Fair.”

gspencer said...

Hotel Del Coronado,

Aspiring SEALS see it every day, from afar, as they go through BUDS.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Boat house? Refined people sniff at boat houses.

Go cothon or go home.

Quaestor said...

Meade has a heart of stone.

Yes... Not a smile bowed his lips nor the faintest chuckle issued forth as he read of the demise of Little Nell.

Inga said...

That gazebo will look amazing there.

mockturtle said...

Somehow, it doesn't look Wright.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Curious George beat me to it.

Hard to believe the Wisconsin DNR would go along with this.

Meade said...

'Cause you'll never break, never break, never break, never break
This heart of stone, oh no, no, you'll never break this heart of stone darling

Rusty said...

That doesn't make it any less stupid.

Char Char Binks said...

I like the gazebo, and the word "gazebo". I'm also reclaiming the word "Chinaman"-- that's OUR word for Chinamen.

tcrosse said...

It's an inverted Chinois, which is a conical kitchen seive, and is French for 'Chinese'. It's OK if you say it in French, n'est ce pas ?

mockturtle said...

Wright idea, wrong place.

Chickelit, I hadn't seen your remark before posting mine: "Somehow, it doesn't look Wright". Yours is better. :-)

Bad Lieutenant said...

Would it be more or less PC to say coolie hat?

Meade said...

Put a beer garden on it.

John said...

Do they still have waterski shows right there? Aren't they afraid some skier will run into the boat house???