A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ugly Modern Building

I consider myself a preservationist, but that doesn't mean I'm against the new. I'm for saving the best of the past, but of course if we never get rid of anything, we'll soon be drowning in our old stuff, with no raw materials left to create anything fresh.

And it would seem that the human race, having consciousness and memory and language, would learn from the past, and create ever-more-splendid artifacts as it progresses. One has only to look at the contemporary urban landscape, however, to see that that's somehow not the way it all shakes out.

Here's an example of a really ugly modern building in downtown Springfield. Charlie Ryan tore down a lot of lovely structures in the Sixties, when he was mayor the first time around, in order to make room for these graceless concrete bunkers. The original developers were going under, and so local big rich company MassMutual took it over. They have some of their offices in the tallish structure.

If you're interested, the whole sorry story is outlined on deadmalls.com. Which might give you an hint as to what a big success it ended up being to knock down brick, granite, and brownstone, and replace it with concrete.

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