Here, for those among us who have forgotten or dismissed or come to admire the Hearst Building as amended by Norman Foster, is an earlier weigh-in that presents a variety of feelings about it in the comments section.
I respect C's opinion that its top is too blunt and might be improved by the addition of ten or twenty more floors before its occurrence.
Here is a sidewalk photo I took Saturday afternoon that attempts to demonstrate the welding of new to old. It probably won’t change the opinions of those who are irritated by it, but if you are as enamoured of it as am I, it will give you a measure of pleasure.
We were delighted to find the lobby open at last, and hurried in, expecting to be told by security that no photos would be allowed. Quite the contrary, we were allowed to gawk and snap to our hearts’ content.
For several months we’ve pressed our faces to the doors, intrigued by a glimpse of a many-tiered Mayanesque glass fountain cut diagonally by an escalator that leads up to a mezzanine level and to the foot of a gigantic beige painting of some sort. Now we are in, and able to see the entire composition.
I am sad to report that the space is an uncomfortable, clumsy, sterile, disjointed, gloomy, inarticulate and static collection of shapes and surfaces. The warehousing of a bland collection of bad ideas.
I imagine a meeting of the “Lobby Design Committee”. They are all distracted by cell phones as Norman Foster says, “I’d like you to picture the jamming of a large cellophane wrapped wedge of wedding cake into a freezer full of Tupperware.” They respond, “Sure. Whatever. Mind the budget and finish it by Christmas.”
The stepped glass pyramid fountain, which should have glowed, seems gluey and in need of Windex. The escalator, which should have soared, seems depressed and in need of Zoloft. The painting, which should have been inspired, is a shroud in need of an image. The entire lobby, which should have been playful, is autistic.
I was rather disappointed.
Here’s the video I made. I defy anyone to watch it from start to stop without falling fast asleep.
If Norman Foster’s goal was to create a restful public space, well bravo and welcome to his sepulcher. (Requiscat in aeternum, Sir Norman. I kept looking for the wall niche that will eventually hold your ashes.)
Finally, since it is my nature to be helpful, I suggest that the giant beige painting at the top of the escalator be replaced with this enduring image of the machine gun toting Patty Hearst as Tanya.