Saturday, July 30, 2005

Great article in The New York Times today about this beautiful building that's gone up in Davenport, Iowa.
For three decades, the moribund downtown of this historic Mississippi River city, where barges heaped with coal ply the water and freight trains rumble day and night, has waited for its future. That future, many here say, has finally materialized in the form of a new museum...
Here's an example of a small city (population 100K), making the right choices in selecting outstanding architects and attracting welcome national and even international attention. That's exactly what we need in Elgin. We missed the last opportunity with the Gail Borden Library, but we've got a new opportunity in the form of a new concert hall. And we ought to seize that opportunity.

It's not just about attention. Attention itself may last 15 minutes. What a building like this or like Calatrava's building in Milwaukee or like Frank Gehry's building in Bilbao does is catalyze change. It changes the way that people perceive their own city. And of course it changes the way that other people perceive it.

We all know that Elgin has an image problem. It's perceived to be, in a sense, backwards. Remember what Charles Falls of Demi & Cooper said when he asked his staff about moving to Elgin:
No one wanted to move to Elgin. After all, there was crime, no parking and poor technology. My staff's picture of Elgin was one of blue-collar with old-time manufacturing.
We can change that perception. A new building designed by a famous architect, a building that will be noticed by the New York Times, will change that perception. We owe it to posterity to make that change happen now.

Read the New York Times article. Need a password?


Post a Comment

<< Home