Monday, March 12, 2007

trials of a courthouse

the following excerpts are taken from this denver post article by kyle macmillan about the revised design for the denver justice center courthouse. previous #1. previous #2.

"I think this building will hold itself against any building in the country," [architect brian klipp] said. "I think it's that good. But will anybody else think that? I don't have any expectations for that."

so far-off to a bad start. in that statement, mr. klipp not only boasts his firm's design "prowess," but already acknowledges his contempt for public opinion and process, meanwhile elevating his own taste in design above everyone else's, architect and layman.

he has effectively crowned himself supreme ruler maharajah designer of country of U-S of A.

"It is not a very complicated building," said Keat Tan, the project's lead designer. "It's simple. It's a building that's easily understandable. When you enter the building, the plans are laid out very clearly and succinctly."

simple, eh? un-complicated, eh? that sounds good i guess. translation: BORING.

Running down the middle of the structure will be a core of 35 city, juvenile and district courtrooms (six are being left undeveloped for budgetary reasons), eight or so per floor.

we're confused. why did steven holl get fired then? oh that's right-budget reasons. and who's paying for this massive overtime effort put forth by klipp to make the construction schedule? wait a second...
[if they're like every other architect whore in this country they are probably doing it for *gasp* free-but that's another post...]

Wrapping around this appendage and folded along the entire east facade will be the building's most spectacular and distinctive feature - a graceful, slightly sloped glass-curtain wall that will look as though it is peeling from the main structure...

'peeling'?? now doesn't that make you feel better?

We wanted to basically embrace [the courtyard] and start to contain it with the building, so the shaping of the folded-glass wall is all about this urban space and all about capturing the Tremont (Street) axis (angled to the north)," Klipp said.

The wall will serve as a metaphor for the ideal of transparency of justice...

wow...all that metaphorical talk about transparency of justice got us semi-aroused. if this 'folded-glass wall' is soooo cool, why do we keep seeing crappy renderings and shitty model photos of it? and why does glass have to tilt to be spectacular and distinctive?

Unlike the detention center, overseen by Hartman-Cox Architects of Washington, D.C., which hews to a neoclassical style, klipp sought a look that is neither radically vanguard nor traditional. Brian Klipp calls the style "rational modernism."

"There were real discussions about should this building be more about the classical nature of the Civic Center district, and I felt strongly that it should not be," Klipp said. "I felt strongly that it should really be a modern building.

"This building should talk about what is going on in the city and the culture of Denver in the 21st century."

we're so glad that there were real discussions [as opposed to fake ones], about living in denver here and now, because evidently no one knows what that's like.
but we're still suspicious. if the city selected steven holl up front, with the denver art museum in place, and a progressive mayor in office, did klipp really have to fight an uphill battle for modernity? not to mention having a budget the size of a thin-mint, who could afford all those classical cornices and column flutes and dental friezes anyway?

"...there is nothing that we have done that will be judged as harshly and that will have a more lasting influence as a building in Denver than a courthouse building within the Civic Center district..."

way ahead of you...

at least they can predict the future.

all praise and glory to epicure of epicures for submitting this link.

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