I suppose there is a part of me that thinks, considering the dynamic scale of downtown and campus projects, the gateway new architecture school ought to be at least as visually exciting as, ta-da, the Kent State University power plant.
Or Akron Art museum. Or The Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland. Or even the dynamic new Case Western University off campus housing development.
But looking at the four semi-finalists in Patch, I took a deep breath and went looking for a cup of coffee here in my hip little loft. And took another deep breath. Chatting about this in email later, someone suggested, well,if you feel that way, blog it. And I do blog about architecture: energy efficient small scale housing in Japan, with special attention to Yoshiharu Matsumura, the work of Lars Spuybroek in Holland, who addresses the radically opposed positions of high tech and sculpted, biomimetic design for a sustainable future ... I mean, I have my moments. Don't get me started on Makoto Sei Watanabe's evolutionary Tokyo Lidabashi Station. You will hate seeing an adult get so passionate about a subway station.
So, I am attaching some photos of other regional projects from here in Northeast Ohio and throwning in a couple of others to illustrate what I am thinking when I say: the scope of the semi-finalists projects, as they were presented in Patch, was competent, of course, just what you would want for the new high school or something: sturdy with some nice touches. Not signature work, not statements, not proposals that seemed to inject life into the idea this is a gateway bridging campus not to just downtown, but symbolically to the world, the stance and posture of the 21st century set down on a formerly troublesome little campus neighborhood.
And it was easy to imagine the politics of it all: relationships, internships, graduate placements, friendships and alumni blessings, whatever, all the whatevers from the companion world where things get wired up and presented to public view. But there is a penalty for this — a "product" roll out that pales in comparison to the power plant.