Friday, April 06, 2007

A Proposed Hack Monument

Rockitecture took great offense to our recent statement that Robert Madison, FAIA is a “local hack architect.” Rockitecture also leveled a potshot at BOTC, questioning our level of education + awareness.

However, in the face of such withering critical fire, we here at BOTC still stand by our original statement since Mr. Madison has not really contributed much original architectural thought or built work in quite a while. Rather, he and his firm have become the bagmen for many government projects, like the current Cuyahoga County Administration complex.

Anyone listening to that debacle on WCPN earlier this week could hear that Mr. Madison’s arguments for the demolition of the existing Breuer Cleveland Trust Tower were as flimsy as his, or actually, Kohn Pederson Fox’s proposed curtain walls. The answers to the many questions offered lacked any substance, narrative, or intellectual profundity. His statements resembled caricatures of bad marketing and surface historicism. Madison’s supposed reasoning for the project + demolition have been contaminated by the grease of local politics and the contamination of a lucrative contract.

BOTC does not question the intestinal fortitude of Mr. Madison and the discrimination he fought + overcame in his early days in Cleveland. However, as we enter a new century and look for true change and progressivism within our local government and design ranks, BOTC believes that we must abandon the old-thinking and closed-door politics that have driven us into the ground. Business, politics, and architecture-as-usual will not alter Cleveland’s downward trajectory.

Instead of being an international leader in the restoration or re-use of a modern master’s office tower, Cleveland will again follow, destroying a historic artifact. Instead of generating knowledge and intellectual capital (with a restoration) that can be exported, leveraged, and earn income and revenue for the region, Cleveland will import and pay for knowledge that earns revenue for other regions.

Tim Hagan is confident that Madison will create a monument. Yes, Madison, or more accurately, KPF will create a monument that will tell of the lack of foresight, intellect, and progressivism that plagued Cleveland in the first decade of the 21st Century.

1 comment:

Frank A. Mills said...

Well said. Cleveland's "elite" know one thing and one thing only, how to destroy a city. It has been my contention that urban planning, and all of its related disciplines, are rapidly becoming out of touch with reality. Hence, Urban Paradoxes (new URL) has been totally reformatted to create a dialog about new models of urban repair.