Clinton Presedential Mobile Home
November 5, 2004 8:01 AM   Subscribe

From the vantage point of my office window, one might wonder: "Presedential Library, or world's largest mobile home?"
This part of the country hasn't seen modern architecture like this, Newsweek lamented....the Clinton presidential library is an architectural tour de force that introduces the Midsouth to a structure more significant than anything it's ever seen. ..but from the vantage point of the Interstate 30 bridge, to the average columnist or cross-country trucker, didn't it kind of look like a trailer?"

For Arkansas, the grand opening of the center — which houses the Clinton Library — will be one of the biggest events in the state's history. All former presidents and President Bush will attend.
posted by thisisdrew (25 comments total)
why are people so hatin' on contemporary architecture?

this is not only Clinton's thing, but also Polshek's, who has essentially retired from his practice and this will be his last building. If there's anything tacky about it, it's that Bill wanted a recreation of his Oval office in there - essentially throwing Revival Classicism into the mix. A few people from my office have been and think it's a good building. Not a great building, but a good building. I think the main point I have here, if there is one, is that people - in general - don't spend time with buildings. The architects have spent years designing and refining. Drive-by criticism just doesn't cut it for me. Go and take a good look at this thing before making judgments. Hopefully the reporter in question will take his last sentence to heart.
posted by grimley at 8:11 AM on November 5, 2004

Because contemporary architecture is neither beautiful or practical?

I just want to know if the museum will have Clinton's old El Camino with astroturf in the bed. Nee-ha!
posted by keswick at 8:14 AM on November 5, 2004

How are we going to get rid of the homeless in time for the library to open, though?
posted by whoshotwho at 8:17 AM on November 5, 2004

I agree. It's a pretty amazing building. Just a little bit too familiar looking for most of us Arkansans though.
posted by thisisdrew at 8:17 AM on November 5, 2004

Looks to be set on a butt-ugly, desolate stretch of land. Is it just the time of year that makes it look so drab?
posted by picea at 8:23 AM on November 5, 2004

they are developing a 27 acre park around it. most construction sites - especially one this big - are pretty desolate. give it a few years.
posted by grimley at 8:37 AM on November 5, 2004

Nevermind the building, I want a poster-sized copy of this picture. Ahh, those were the days.

I know one thing for sure, any cat worth its salt would scratch the shit out of Bush.
posted by contessa at 8:46 AM on November 5, 2004

> why are people so hatin' on contemporary architecture?

Don't follow you. It looks like a trailer, we like trailers, what's to hate?
posted by jfuller at 8:47 AM on November 5, 2004

That's the builder's prefab, right? Where's the actual library?
posted by Blue Stone at 8:54 AM on November 5, 2004

true enough, jfuller. as long as I get an airstream one of these days. though the author of the article seems to make the reference, shall we say, sarcastically.
posted by grimley at 9:10 AM on November 5, 2004

Sure it's ugly, but on the bright side, it's gonna take one hell of a tornado to blow that bad boy around.
posted by tommasz at 9:10 AM on November 5, 2004

Hey, at least it's not an OCAD. Now there's an eyesore.

(Or worse, a Gehry.) [ducks]
posted by brownpau at 9:28 AM on November 5, 2004

It's not ugly. It's not beautiful, but it's not ugly. It's more interesting to look at than most buildings in the Midwest.
posted by normy at 9:30 AM on November 5, 2004

Yeah, it does sort of look like a mobile home, but then, at UT, we used to joke that the LBJ Library looked like a sarcophagus.
posted by alumshubby at 9:40 AM on November 5, 2004

Oops, meant to link to this picture.
posted by alumshubby at 9:42 AM on November 5, 2004

I'm with keswick. Not about all modern architecture, but certainly about this particular building.
posted by Irontom at 9:58 AM on November 5, 2004

keswick's criticisms of the building are that it is neither beautiful or practical. While we can argue on the beauty of it - and I don't think that it's particularly beautiful - how upon looking at a couple of photographs can one discern that the building isn't practical? because it cantilevers? does it fail as a library? or a reference center? does it leak? is it detailed well? what about the construction? did the contractor and subcontractors perform to the specification as outlined by the architectural and engineering team? (and brownpau, predictably i like the OCAD building. and have been to it to make sure).
posted by grimley at 10:19 AM on November 5, 2004

The LBJ library does look like a sarcophagus, but it's still pretty. And I like the Clinton one too, I don't care what no one says!
posted by rhyax at 10:41 AM on November 5, 2004

Who hates contemporary architecture? I don't, but I tell ya what, I do hate it when expensive buildings for "important" patrons get FAR MORE CREDIT than they deserve.

Polshek isn't god. The only reason this is his last building is because he FAILED to go out on his D-Day museum idea, which he designed to look like a WW2 era HELMET. Even his drafters laughed at it. Polshek is WAY overrated, and he and Clinton were in each other's mutual thrall when they signed their contract---Clinton because he's an ex-Prez, and his patronage boosted Polshek by LOTs, and vice-a-versa because Polshek got lucky with that Museum of Natural History addition (which was a brilliant appropriation of Louis Boullée's 19th c. design.) Polshek's a big ass-kisser---I've met him a lot of times---nice guy (for a barker), but unless you've got rich relations he won't remember you.

Yeah, i'll take Gehrey any day over Polshek. At least he tries something new, technically if not intellectually.

The more interesting question is, what about Prez. Bush's liberry? He doesn't read, and he won't let anyone look at his papers, so programmatically, there's an issue. What about a big rectum with his face turtling out of it? Then you could PUNCH IT.

And oh yeah, the link to the freeper site was HILARIOUS.
posted by DenOfSizer at 10:51 AM on November 5, 2004

Here's an example of why most contemporary architecture sucks.
posted by keswick at 11:01 AM on November 5, 2004

keswick, you are confusing shitty construcution practices with bad design. leaks do not a deficient architecture make. I know architects blame shit on contractors all the time, but seriously, europeans do not have half the bullshit craft problems we do in this country.
posted by DenOfSizer at 2:06 PM on November 5, 2004

I grew up in Little Rock but haven't lived there for 15 years. I'm glad to see downtown finally revitalizing. I used to go there, to the river park, with my friends from the city's miniscule goth / punk community, all the time, and we'd walk through the deserted streets imagining ourselves as extras in some post-apocalyptic schlock.

Speaking of pointless memories, this reminds me of election day, 1992, when the streets of downtown were filled with tens (hundreds?) of thousands of people, in a Mardi Gras-esque victory party with Clinton giving a rousing (tho too-long) speech, a smattering of protesters, happy drunks, and this wonderful feeling of optimism that finally Reagan was left far behind us and things would start changing for the better.

So much for that idealism, but thanks for the great post.
posted by pandaharma at 2:48 PM on November 5, 2004

world's largest mobile home?"
What's the problem, it doesn't look like a shack or a mansion.
Since it's still being built, would have been nice if the article’s writer had shown the architect’s full vision of it.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:50 PM on November 5, 2004

I didn't have the URL at work, but I pretty much agree with everything this guy has to say regarding contemporary architecture.
posted by keswick at 8:11 PM on November 5, 2004


I am so alone.

posted by DenOfSizer at 5:57 PM on November 9, 2004

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