The Two Towers

The towers on the left, visited this past weekend, put the spire in inspire. Whereas I’ve long put the dis in disdain whenever regarding the tower on the right, visited late Monday afternoon — in surprise at how almost beautiful it looked illuminated in the last rays of that day’s sun.

Both are markedly incongruous to their surroundings. The ones on the left rise from a wedge of backyard surrounded by inner-city blight, the vision and arduous 30-plus-year creation of an untrained but entirely skilled loner who “set out to do something big, and did it.” The one on the right dominates an easily mocked revision to the city’s oldest public park from an architect no doubt well trained and skilled but who set out to do… something.

From my jaded point of view that “something” was to reject any connection to the city’s downtown core and garishly set the open space apart with a color scheme that pays all its tribute to the superficial 1980s and none to the historic 1880s when its first design as a park was realized.

At one point early on in the history of the towers on the left, the city tried to reject them. With little in the way of proof, civic officials dismissed the monumental achievement as unsafe, little more than a worthless and poorly built hazard whose demolition they unconscionably ordered.

It was spared the wrecking ball thanks only to the dedicated efforts of a few citizen heroes who, realizing its immeasurable cultural value,  first purchased the site and then engineered a stress test to prove its structural integrity. Convincing the reluctant bureaucrats to allow the test to be conducted,  it ultimately proved the towers were completely safe, sound and thus saved.