Tuesday, December 8, 2009


No matter your stance on the MAPS3 issue, get out there and vote and unleash the power of the free exchange of ideas in the marketplace.

But for those of you with a short memory about Oklahoma City, you might consider that whatever complaints you might have with this City, we're here today with no one to blame but ourselves. And Mr. I. M. Pei. (Scroll down for Pei's Central Business District Project, planning of which was completed in 1966. Razing of many historical and lovely downtown buildings commenced soon thereafter for a project that, well, is it complete or not?)

And for those of you who might think these new MAPS3 projects will materialize within the next few years (Yes, yes, I know, the original MAPS projects happened remarkably quick. Remember, though: past performance is no guarantee of the future.) the lovely Myriad Gardens (A post about our recent visit coming soon!) was part of Mr. Pei's plan. Let's see, planning completed in 1966, work commenced in 1970, the Gardens opened in 1988. Why that's only 22 years in the making!

Oh, and one of Mr. Pei's most famous designs is now having a little trouble. If you can call an $85 million repair job little:
In the summer of 2005, National Gallery of Art personnel and a consulting engineer were chasing down a leak on a roof terrace atop the gallery's marble-clad, I.M. Pei-designed East Building. Suddenly the beginnings of what would turn out to be a far more serious problem caught someone's eye. One or two of the 2-by-5, 438-pound marble panels on the building's main air shaft were tilting out.

At first, gallery officials believed the problem was localized, caused by the freezing of water lodged on the shaft's deteriorated asphalt lining. But tilted panels soon started cropping up on different parts of the building. To date, the displacement of some 400 of the East Building's 16,200 exterior panels—about 2.5% of the total—has been observed. That may seem a small amount. But because this is a public venue, and because "we can't model or predict the rate of failure," says Susan Wertheim, the gallery's deputy administrator for capital projects, National Gallery officials decided in 2008 to reinstall all of the panels. They plan on hiring a contractor to oversee the project next year.

Sometimes you get what you ask for.

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