Well, If Architectural Digest Thinks Calatrava Bridge Is a "Parabolic Pylon" of Virtue ...

Categories: Schutze
CalatravaLighting2.jpg
Photo by Justin Terveen
I don't want to suggest that my wife is a sharp stick in the eye, but from time to time she does like to "point things out." To me. So this morning when I reached for the place on the bedstead where I had neatly and carefully laid out my trousers for the day, what should I find but a copy of the March 2012 Architectural Digest on top of them opened to a full-page photo of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge under the headline "Well Connected."

Digest senior writer Samuel Cochran describes the bridge as "the most dramatic addition to the Dallas skyline in recent memory." He calls it "a parabolic pylon" and goes on (a bit): "Laced through that soaring arc are 58 cables, some eight inches thick, which extend in weblike sweeps to either side."

He says when the bridge opens, "it will allow for easy passage between downtown and the rapidly revitalizing neighborhood of West Dallas."

Well, you know they're not allowed to say anything negative in that magazine. But, fine. OK. I never claimed to be a big architectural cognoscente. I'm like that famous rock and roll line, "Don't know much about architecture."

I do not find "weblike" in the OED as a word. So that was wrong. He could have said "web-toed." Is this small of me? Oh, I'm so terribly sorry. Just jab a sharp stick in my eye, then, why don't you?

Fine. So maybe I was wrong about the architecture of the bridge. Maybe it's OK.

Architecturally speaking, it's an OK bridge. You heard it here first.

Who the hell subscribed to Architectural Digest at my house? How much does that thing cost?
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GospelBob
GospelBob

When I eagerly went to see the bridge for the first time, I had to laugh.  While a suspension bridge aims to cross a river with a wide span for the river to pass unobstructed, ours actually sets its giant piling right in the river itself, and other pilings along the "suspended" section also support it.    So our fancy bridge is really just a big decoration.   Silly, huh.

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

Stick to the Gospel, Bob, and avoid architecture commentary. The bridge is NOT a suspension bridge, was never intended to be a suspension bridge nor to be confused with one.  While it evokes certain familiar forms found on suspension bridges -- the cables, the arch -- these are evoked for esthetic purposes, i.e., for their beauty. Now I know discussion of beauty sets teeth on edge here in Dallas, and we cling to the idea that in order to be legit beauty must follow function, in truth it ofyen doesn't. Sometimes beauty goes its own way. Those I beams so conspicuously running up the side of the Seagram's building (one of the icons of modern design), for example, were stuck on there by the architect to give the building a high-tech upward sweep. But they're not holding up anything. Or, to cite a more ancient example, all those bits and pieces of stone on Greek temples -- triglyphs, dentils, etc. -- have no earthly function except to call to the minds of the Greeks the equivalent, and functional, forms on their even more ancient wood temples. They were there for esthetic purposes, in other words, much like the cables and soaring arch of the Calatrava.So let me suggest you interrupt your laughter long enough to stop trying to figure out the function of the parts and look at the bridge as a whole with an open mind and an innocent eye. Do this often and long enough an you'll begin to see its beauty.  

stanwright
stanwright

Where does the author think that words in the OED came from?

kate
kate

How has nobody mentioned the fact that this bridge (and two as-yet-unbuilt companion bridges) are direct knock-offs of Calatrava's own work??

http://www.pegasusnews.com/new... 

scottindallas
scottindallas

Calatrava is a hack and he had gauche clients

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

Assertion is not argument.

scottindallas
scottindallas

 Pretty sure I earlier posited the premise that "good architecture" is appropriate for the setting, function, and budget.  This project fails on that score alone, and Calatrava's affect is so similar that he is a hack that puts the same solution on a seemingly vast assortment of situations.  And, there's no defense for the City

Daniel
Daniel

That Dallas is a "gauche client" is fairly self-evident, Bill.

RJ
RJ

Like it or not, articles in Architectural Digest and photos by Justin Terveen are going to bring people into Dallas to see and drive over this bridge. Homes and offices will be built to take advantage of the views.

Maybe if it were in Detroit you might drop your grudge and admit that its economic impact will exceed its cost and perhaps even invoke a little pride.

Sam
Sam

Well what do you know, a 23-story office building announced today with a good view of the bridge. That's across from another 23-story apartment buildng. 

scottindallas
scottindallas

 Bridges aren't quite the novelty in other cities as they are here.  I mean, I was excited to drive across the Lake Pontchartrain bridge/causeway, but I really wasn't gonna make a special trip to NO to do it.

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

To all the crackerbarrel critics  here: You're in good company.  This website has has a long tradition of shoot-from-the-lip criticism. Recall the picnic pavilions in the park at Webb Chapel at Walnut Hill? Everyone had a fine time  poking fun. Neighborhood, on the other hand, uses and loves them.

sparechange
sparechange

Take that back! We are not cracerbarrel critics. We are the peanut gallery....geez! If you're going to make disparaging remarks at least make the correct ones! 

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

Don't care what AD or JS have to say about the bridge. The ultimate argument is the eye. It's a dazzling addition to Dallas' skyline and, let's face it, for beauty the skyline is about all this city can offer.

Daniel
Daniel

Assertion is not argument.

scottindallas
scottindallas

That is less important that the budget and the return that will offer.  As such, the prospects for a decent return on our money seem grim.  Aesthetics are should follow cost/affordability, function and need.   If this were a privately funded matter, then we'd have no say in the matter.  As such, your criteria are wholly adolescent.

sparechange
sparechange

Your eyes argue? 

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

spare,in fact they do. Organically, the eyes are a part of the brain. They can think and they can argue.

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

Brain got in the way of my typing fingers. Meant to say  "As a onetime art critic..."

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

Your dogs are barking up the wrong tree.My point is that what we see of what's in front of us is a picture put together in the brain, by the brain. Not just the eyeball, which is physiologically a part of the brain. There is abundant neuroscience for this. That picture is compounded of the stimuli the eyes take in, how the brain sorts through it, our expectations and memories and even our prejudices, all of which emerge from the thinking brain. So the eyeballs are only a part of seeing (not metaphorical seeing but actual seeing), and sometimes not the most important part.This is what art critics mean when they talk about "the argument of the eye" see John Ruskin and many others since). As a onetime argument, I can attest to the fact that the eye -- meaning the whole physiological faculty of seeing -- does indeed argue. Sometimes it revises its argument, rejects it, comes back with an alternative.  Ever wonder why things look different depending on experience and circumstances?    So I don't know what your dogs see. But I know they see diffrently from mine because they have different brains.

scottindallas
scottindallas

I agree with what you just said, but that doesn't mean that this is correct at all:

 " the eyes are a part of the brain. They can think and they can argue."

All dogs are animals, not all animals are dogs.

Daniel
Daniel

Excerpted from The World As Bill and Representation.

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

Not a metaphor. A literal fact. Seeing takes place in the brain, not in the eyeball, which is only a lens, a receptacle. Which explains why we so often fail to "see" what's right in front of us.

scottindallas
scottindallas

 Bill, I think your child has taken over your computer.  That's stupid, and physiologically wrong.  Just because we make metaphors doesn't mean those can be transposed literally on reality.  You're better than this

PLFarmer
PLFarmer

It's DallasThe old bridge was with us for twenty years. Keep us safe, did what it had to do to get the job done. Started looking a little worn, so we trade it in on the trophy bridge.Lets call the lower level at the Mavs game the Calatrava level.

Lakewoodhobo
Lakewoodhobo

If they only knew that Jim literally crapped inside the white steel one day.

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

West Dallas redidents get ready you are about to be moved out,West Dallas will be another UpTown and Short North Dallas now I understand why DHA did not want to do anything with that Lake on its propertry.DHA start looking you will be gone also. I wonder what will happen to all people living there.

scottindallas
scottindallas

 Sorry Betty, but that is a good thing.  The principle goal of a city planner should be to improve the land values in the city.  They will be able to move to subdivided McMansions in the suburbs soon enough

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

So the purpose of city planners is to pimp for developers. And all these years I'd been assuming that it was to give us a liveable and even beautiful city.Well, this explains so many of your posts.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

I would have to agree about the existing neighborhoods.  Just wait till the Dallas County Appraisal District taxes them out of their houses.   I wonder to what extent that the city population demographics will support more high end residences.  I mean that there is a limit to people who can afford to live in high end communities.

Montemalone
Montemalone

 Maybe they can move into some of the new $1100/mo studio apartments going into Victory.

Joe L
Joe L

What is this obsession with the Calatrava Bridge?  It's a bridge for gosh sakes!  It's a silly design to go over so small a river but it's distinctive and was paid for with private funds.  It brings visual interest to a place without visual interest.  It makes a city with a skyline pretty much like every other North American city a little different.

sparechange
sparechange

It's the prettiest bridge i've ever seen!

                        Sincerely,                        Stevie Wonder

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Apparently the defenders caught wind of this post.

The thing is going to look out of place until one of the other companion bridges is built. For now, it's just too far from the Dallas skyline status quo (80s-era boring, let's be honest) to fit in.

Maybe a ferris wheel would help.

JimS
JimS

What can I say?

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

How about, "I get out of my depth when I try to write about architeture"?

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

I wonder if the city betters paid to have the article written?

LakeWWWooder
LakeWWWooder

I'm a proud Dallasite and I love seeing the bridge. I'm the kind of guy who delayed going home from work last night to drive around downtown and take photos and videos of the 'red' Reunion Tower. 

 Apparently MHH Bridge going to work economically as well as artistically, with all the development projects in the works.

Oh and did you notice? You can peel off the traffic jam on I-35 and use the bridge (once it opens) to get to the other side of the Trinity.

CorrectAsUsual
CorrectAsUsual

Wow what a bunch of wet old farts.  Like, you guys are day old cabbage and blood sausage for breakfast farts.  It's a rad bridge, it looks cool, and you all need to be thankful it's not another boring concrete bridge provided by the state.  

And picking on a magazine that pays your city a compliment?  Really?  

scottindallas
scottindallas

hearsay.  Have you driven. or been on it?  It is an ostentatious symbol of a city with fucked up priorities.  We can't fund our gov't, but here we have a faux suspension bridge over a creek.  That is simply bad design, planning and use of scarce funds.

sparechange
sparechange

You had me at day old cabbage. You wanna make out? :)

RTGolden
RTGolden

I don't think anyone is questioning the fashion of the bridge. Anything so distinctly out-of-place, so violently opposed to its locale, must be on the cutting edge of fashion.

What people dislike about the bridge is the tremendous waste and disassociation it represents.  It is admirable that those who pushed for the bridge at least ponied up some of the dough, but couldn't that money have been put to more basic uses? Fixing streets, revitalizing neighborhoods, tearing down abandoned houses (and abandoned city structures for that matter) and simply raising the level of basic city services would go much farther than this stupid bridge.

With the bridge and the deck park, the city isn't trying to put lipstick on the pig, they're drawing dreams on their own eyeballs, trying to envision a princess in the pigpen.

scottindallas
scottindallas

 at least the deck park creates land where it is scarce.  An unnecessary and garish bridge to nowhere...

hatemonster
hatemonster

"...simply raising the level of basic city services would go much farther than this stupid bridge..."

another dummy down suggestion.  let's fix pot holes, fix curbs and remove dogs.  yea, that'll fix everything.  

RTGolden
RTGolden

Yes, I had to look it up, had never heard of it before.  I'm not the one applying the principle, Dallas is.  Of course it's possible to fix the community and build bridges.  One happened, the other, not so much.

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

Principle of the excluded middle. (Bridges or the poor...which should i choose?) You could look it up.

JimS
JimS

RT, why do I agree with you so much when I disagree with you, but I disagree with you violently when we're in agreement? Are you a figment of my imagination or I of yours? 

RTGolden
RTGolden

I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.

What would be your solution to the crumbling infrastructure, cash migrations, blight, crime and piss-poor education that is ruining Dallas?  Build some fancy bridges so the well-heeled don't have to drive through the blight on their way from Park Cities to Kessler Park?

sparechange
sparechange

Shh...tone it down a bit. You don't want to upset him and make him spill his double tall macchiato on his Affliction tee, now, would ya?

Ed D.
Ed D.

 So not fixing potholes is a solution? Uh, no.

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