hearst121.jpgPliable, our reliable friend across the pond, informs us that toute New York is aflame about a new 30-story Norman Foster edifice to be built on Madison Avenue.  We must confess we have not been following this controversy owing to the pressing need to sort out this unpleasant Iraq business and to ponder the fate of the republic should it be determined that its leader is clinically unable to continue in office and that his backup is even loonier.

Noting that architecture has been an inspiration for a number of fine musical pieces, Pliable has issued a challenge to the Sequenza21 gang to respond to Norman’s efforts.  If you can’t wait for the new building, perhaps you could write a ditty honoring Foster’s just opened Hearst Tower which is located less than 100 yards from where I’m sitting.

3 thoughts on “Sir Norman’s Chapel”
  1. Yeah, The Guggenheim was what I was referring to by “1959” – but since then… ?

    Piano’s Whitney “addition” turns out isn’t going to be an addition at all, but a satellite site downtown, where things are still radical – y’know, radical like H&M… and Prada… and Starbucks…

    From what I heard the original plan for the UES location wasn’t particularly wackadoodle, but rather elegant. There were naysayers, of course, but mostly of the sort who knee-jerk oppose any changes to their neighborhood – we’re going through that in Brooklyn right now with the new Gehry-designed Nets Stadium.

    Piano’s designs – at least I feel – tend to flow with their surroundings rather nicely. Weird, Piano’s name coming up… was just at the Morgan yesterday. (Speaking of which, those into it should check out the Steinberg show while it’s there. Frickin’ awesome. The Bob Dylan exhibit on the other hand was a snooze – bunch of handwritten lyrics and photos and album covers. Whatever, I can see all that in a book. Though I did have a powerful “moment” standing in the presence of Woody Guthrie’s Martin. I mean, I don’t believe in “auras” or any of that crap, but… holy crap…)

    Anyway… the Foster thing, on the other hand, is pretty “out there” – building a building on top of a building, it’s just kind of weird looking (from what I’ve seen of the sketches) and is quite jarring to the eye. And not in a cool way, like a Richard Serra or something. It’s very corporate-bland, but stuck in a surrounding that – while also bland – is bland in a completely different way. Like, there’s nothing actually jarring (or even interesting) about the building itself – the only “radical” thing is where they’re putting it.

    Personally, I don’t care for it – but then I don’t care for the entire UES to begin with, so… I guess I just don’t care if they build it or not. I don’t care about much, apparantley. Hey, it’ll look nice next to the Trump Casino in Central Park, whenever they get around to building that.

  2. Seth, I think Sir Norman Foster was thinking of architectural radicalism — Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim, Marcel Breur’s Whitney, and Renzo Piano’s recent extension to the Whitney. I don’t now know the exact dates for the earlier two examples, and have to run, but think you understand my thrust of argument.

  3. I love Foster’s comment about how the new building will fit in with the neighborhood’s neighbourhood’s “tradition of radicalism”.

    Can anyone here remember the last time something radical happened on the UES? 1959? Please, that ‘hood is about as radical as the Republican Governor’s Association.

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