95-year old WTC concept
January 22, 2003 6:28 AM   Subscribe

Gaudi's Grand Hotel During his life, Barcelona’s “bauharoque” architect Antonin Gaudí pioneered imaginative structures with Moorish spires and whimsy likened to Dr Seuss. (Counter to popular myth, however, the word “gaudy” is not among his legacy.) Several of his works broke his patrons’ budgets and remain unfinished. Now, Boston artist-architect Paul Laffoley is attempting to revive Gaudi’s dramatic 1908 New York City concept and give it a second chance—at the WTC site for which it may originally have been commissioned. His thesis is both an intriguing history walk and a cloying, self-ingratiating, told-you-so piece.
posted by skyboy (14 comments total)
via, ahem, gag-me-with-a-yuppie-spoon Gawker?

Laffoley is, to say the least, an unusual character.
The drawing is not bad, certainly not worse than other WTC projects (like the infamous "Godzilla's hockey goal") It's probably a step in the right direction. Even if it's a prank
posted by matteo at 7:08 AM on January 22, 2003

thanks for the etymology of gaudy - someone claimed exactly that the other day in conversation and i never checked. now if only i could remember who it was. incidentally, that second meaning of gaudy (the dinner) isn't in common use in the uk, as far as i know (and it's marked in my concise oxford dictionary as "not US"). maybe it's an oxford thing (don't remember it at cambridge and those two universities seem to have a monopoly on using silly words to make otherwise simple things obscure).
posted by andrew cooke at 7:09 AM on January 22, 2003

Antonio Gaudi expressed Barcelona's Islamic and Gothic heritage through riotously polychrome biomorphic forms.

That'll go over well.
posted by gottabefunky at 7:59 AM on January 22, 2003

The Reina Sofia museum in Madrid just wrapped up a huge Gaudi exhibit, very interesting! Here's some further Gaudi info [in Spanish] neat stuff!
posted by Pollomacho at 8:24 AM on January 22, 2003

Um, in that first link, has anyone else gotten to the point where the author claims that, on 9/9/01, a demon sent by Satan to "bring down a ladder in New York City" (ie, the Twin Towers) instead sees the author climbing a real ladder, knocks it down, and enters the author's ankle in the form of an infectious inflammatory disease?

That said, I do like the Gaudi design about ten times more than anything else that's been proposed for the former WTC site.
posted by lisa g at 8:24 AM on January 22, 2003

"incidentally, that second meaning of gaudy (the dinner) isn't in common use in the uk, as far as i know"

Perhaps you are familiar with a little book by one Dorothy L. Sayers, namely "Gaudy Night?" H'm? H'm?

And, yes, it's an Oxford thing. They still have 'em, too. Here in the US, we call it "Homecoming," and the accent is more on the football game than on the College plate and vintage claret.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:02 AM on January 22, 2003

Matteo: Hadn't ever heard of Gawker (got my tip from BBC World on the AM telly), but I appreciate the link, esp leading to the NYTimes article.

Lisa G: Right on. Gaudi's rocket is shocking at first glance, but I have to agree that it's much more compelling than the ones commissioned by the LMDC so far.

Gawker points to a Salon piece about a new short by Richard Linklater. It sounds like he's found an even better idea from the wondrous spirulina mind of Tim "Speed" Levitch. (If you _heart_ NYC, run out and rent The Cruise.)
posted by skyboy at 9:49 AM on January 22, 2003

We need a whole FPP on Laffoley. I tried reading an interview with him (from Disinformation-The Interviews), needless to say my head hurt as a result.
posted by sharksandwich at 9:52 AM on January 22, 2003

Syd Mead (the illustrator best known for his work on Blade Runner and Tron) has his own wtc proposal. And if you like Gaudi, you might like this exhibit of Gaudi buildings done as origamic architecture.
posted by snez at 11:08 AM on January 22, 2003

Beware with this Laffoley guy... Someone that writes that The best translators of Basque on the Spanish side of the border speak Catalan (a mixture of Basque and Spanish) is NUTS.

Not to mention the Basque Curse connection.

Who's this guy?
posted by samelborp at 12:40 PM on January 22, 2003

Great links, skyboy. Thanks.

While I strongly doubt that this'll ever come to pass (I can't imagine a non-American, even a dead one, being accepted as the project's lead architect), I have to say I think it's a fantastic idea.

Anyone who's spent any time in Barcelona quickly learns just how powerful Gaudi's architecture is. Gaudi's undulating apartment buildings bring life to entire city blocks. The Sagrada Familia is simply breathtaking in its size and elaborate detail. And Gaudi's Park Guell is among the most inspiring manmade public spaces on the planet.

In fact, I remember thinking of Park Guell's long swerving benches covered in embedded bits of busted crockery as I watched footage of the debris being cleared from the WTC site. Thinking: that's what they should build there, an American Park Guell. This long-forgotten skyscraper would be amazing as well.
posted by gompa at 4:04 PM on January 22, 2003

I'm with Speed Levitch. Buffalo would be perfect.
posted by muckster at 4:55 PM on January 22, 2003

I love it! We'll call it the TOWER OF DILDOES!
posted by the big lizard at 7:21 PM on January 22, 2003

Perhaps you are familiar with a little book by one Dorothy L. Sayers, namely "Gaudy Night?"

errr, no. i'll try finding it - hope it's better than la sagrada familia (which i found a real wash-out - a disappointingly small scale construction site).
posted by andrew cooke at 3:54 AM on January 23, 2003

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