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NYatKNIGHT
January 21st, 2003, 11:52 AM
New York Times
January 21, 2003
Postmodern? In a Manner of Speaking
By GLENN COLLINS

http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2003/01/21/nyregion/21gaud1.jpg
Sketches, begun in 1908 by Antoni Gaudí, above, for a hotel in Manhattan that would then have been the world's tallest building, still exist.


Halt the competition. Yet another world-class architect has created yet another design for ground zero. It is futuristic in the extreme, nearly as tall as the Empire State Building, topped with a star and polychromed in tile and marble. And it resembles nothing so much as a stalagmite — or a Buck Rogers rocket ship.

The architect? Antoni Gaudí, the Barcelona visionary who was the greatest Spanish exponent of the Art Nouveau style. And the plan, for a New York hotel, was conceived in 1908.

A group of Catalan artists and an American architect intend to enter the never-realized Gaudí plan in the formal ground zero memorial design competition of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, scheduled to begin this spring.

For some of them make the extraordinary claim that the hotel was intended not only to be built in Manhattan early in the last century, but specifically at the very site where the World Trade Center was eventually built a half-century later.

"If they only knew about this building, the people of New York would come to love it," said Marc Mascort i Boix, an artist who is co-editor of the Barcelona magazine Rojo and director of a team that has made computer models of the Gaudí building. "Bringing this to New York would be more important than the Olympic Games."

He will present Gaudí's hotel plan at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Paul Laffoley, an American artist and architect based in Boston, has mounted a separate homegrown effort to win consideration for the Gaudí hotel at ground zero, and he plans to submit the project to the development corporation in April. "It is a prime example of posthumous architecture," he said.

Mr. Mascort thinks that the hotel's great hall could be adapted to a memorial for the victims of the terrorist attacks, "and could help the city to heal."

But the Gaudí boosters are flexible about the building's use — as a hotel or a museum or an office complex — and allow that "the building could be downtown, or on Fifth Avenue, or on Central Park West," Mr. Mascort said. "The main concept is to get together the different cultures of the planet under a common dome."

The cultified Gaudí was celebrated with a rich calendar of events last year when Barcelona declared the 150th anniversary of his birth the Year of Gaudí. The hotel design, which was the subject of one of the exhibitions, has elements of two of Gaudí's Barcelona masterpieces, the exuberant 330-foot-high Sagrada Familia church and the undulating Casa Mila apartment house.

If the hotel had been built, it would have been 1,181 feet to the top of its star, the world's tallest building. (The Empire State Building, at 1,250 feet, would then have claimed the title when it was completed in 1931.)

Gaudí's studio and files were destroyed by fire in 1936, during the Spanish Civil War. But Prof. Juan Bassegoda i Nonell, curator of the Real Catedra Gaudí at the University of Barcelona, the state entity for Gaudí study, said that seven small original Gaudí pencil sketches of the American hotel have survived.

They were in a large Gaudí collection that the professor acquired for the university in 1971 from Juan Matamala y Flotats, a sculptor and artist who had served as Gaudí's assistant. The Gaudí works came from his father, Lorenzo Matamala y Pinyol, the principal model-maker and sculptor for the Sagrada Familia.

Professor Bassegoda said that Juan Matamala, who would have been working in the Gaudí studio as a teenager in 1908, wrote a 64-page monograph in 1956, "describing the hotel project and making 10 additional drawings based on memories of what he had seen in 1908." Although there is little independent corroboration of Matamala's monograph, Professor Bassegoda, 72, said that "for 40 years I have been studying Gaudí's works, and I am sure the drawings are authentic."

Although the project is described as a hotel, its central plan resembles a Brobdingnagian catering hall-cum-convention center, an all-purpose tourist attraction. Thus its name, remembered by Matamala as the Hotel Attraction.

Gaudí had planned something typically gaudy: like some of his works in Barcelona, the hotel was to have been rainbow-hued in tile and marble. The hotel would have been a group of clustered towers, of reinforced concrete over steel, in Gaudí's sturdy trademark parabolic shapes that also animate the 330-foot-tall Sagrada Familia. The hotel's 360-foot-by-360-foot ground floor was to contain a titanic reception hall, surrounded by large saloons connected to a clutch of outbuildings and towers containing meeting rooms, apartments and hotel rooms.

In the central tower there were to be five monumental dining rooms dedicated to five continents; each was to seat 400.

Yet another dining room on the sixth floor was to be topped by an exhibition hall, and above that was planned a theater and conference room.

Atop that was to be a cathedral-like 375-foot-high space honoring all the American presidents, in a hall decorated with stained glass windows, mosaics and frescos.

The starlike top, which Matamala said was called the sphere of all space, would have afforded a panoramic view for up to 30 tourists at a time.

Gaudí designed the hotel after two American business executives came to see him in May 1908, Professor Bassegoda said; they stayed for two or three weeks. Subsequently Gaudí worked on the project from 1908 to 1911.

But Matamala did not know the names of the Americans. "I searched in the passenger lists of ocean liners at that time, but couldn't discover who the Americans were," Professor Bassegoda said.

One conceivable candidate was William Gibbs McAdoo, president of the New York and Jersey Railroad Company, who built what is now known as the PATH tube system threading through ground zero. He developed real estate in Lower Manhattan and built the Hudson Terminal Buildings at Church and Cortlandt Streets.

But his collected papers at the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif., make no mention of the project. "The American visitors could have been speculators who didn't own the land," Mr. Laffoley suggested, "and perhaps they never could get the project together."

Matamala did not say why the hotel idea was dropped. Nor did the Matamala monograph say precisely where the hotel was to be built. "It says in New York," Professor Bassegoda said.

Mr. Laffoley said he first learned about the Gaudí American hotel project — and its Lower Manhattan location — as an undergraduate in the late 1950's at Brown University, in courses taught by William H. Jordy, an architectural historian.

Professor Jordy's lectures presented detailed information about the hotel and its location in Lower Manhattan, Mr. Laffoley said. And then, in the early 1960's, Mr. Laffoley was working in the Manhattan design group of Emery Roth & Sons, doing blueprints of floor plans and elevator banks for 2 World Trade Center for Minoru Yamasaki & Associates, the trade center's chief architect. When Mr. Laffoley told Professor Jordy about his job, he recalled, "Jordy said, `What a coincidence. That's the plot of land where they were going to build the Gaudí hotel.' "

Professor Bassegoda did not publish the Matamala monograph until 1989, but Matamala seems to have shared his knowledge about the hotel project with several people. A book published in English as "Gaudí the Visionary" in 1969, by Robert Descharnes and Clovis Prévost, included a chapter on the American hotel.

"I have to imagine that Matamala shared his information with Jordy, or with someone who gave it to Jordy," Mr. Laffoley said.

The notion that the hotel could have been meant for the trade center site has given rise to a campaign in both Spain and the United States to put up a Gaudí-inspired building in New York.

Professor Bassegoda said that the existing sketches were sufficient to go ahead. "The description is very complete," he said, adding: "with these drawings, an architect could do the project."

Mr. Laffoley believes that adopting a Gaudí-inspired plan might head off architectural squabbling, "since, instead of competing, everyone could acknowledge that Gaudí is a master and collaborate on realizing Gaudí's dream."

If the hotel's modernistic shape may be a tough sell for New Yorkers who haven't seen the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Mr. Laffoley said, "remember that people in Bilbao loved the futuristic shape of Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum."

"The Sagrada Familia has become the symbol of Barcelona," he added, "and Gaudí meant his hotel to be the symbol of New York."

So far, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation is arms-length toward the Gaudí proposals. Although the Catalan architects sent a description of the Gaudí plan last summer and said they received a welcoming response signed by Alexander Garvin, the vice president for planning, design and development, in an interview Mr. Garvin said that he was not aware of the Gaudí plans and declined to comment on them.

Olvido Salazar-Alonso, cultural director of the Instituto Cervantes, the Spanish government educational organization that is a co-sponsor of Thursday's presentation, said that, in the end, the hotel project is "an important Gaudí link with the city."

"But to put Gaudí and Manhattan together?" she asked. "Only a specialist could say whether it would work."

http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2003/01/21/nyregion/21gaud2.jpg
If the hotel designed by Antoni Gaudí were built on the site of the World Trade Center, it would dominate the Lower Manhattan skyline, as this collage prepared by an architect who wants to see it built there shows. The building's design is reminiscent of a Buck Rogers rocket ship.

Fabb
January 21st, 2003, 02:46 PM
That would be inappropriate.
A mountain-like building ? I don't think so.

NYatKNIGHT
January 21st, 2003, 03:33 PM
It's not tall enough either.

It is an intriguing building though. Strange it was meant for the WTC site to begin with.

NoyokA
January 21st, 2003, 03:57 PM
Embarrasment. In typical Gaudi style it looks like a mound of shit. This is not architecture, its disturbing sculpture at best.

Fabb
January 21st, 2003, 04:43 PM
Quote: from NYatKNIGHT on 2:33 pm on Jan. 21, 2003
It's not tall enough either.



Thanks.
I censored myself.

Eugenius
January 21st, 2003, 04:45 PM
Gaudi is probably my favorite historical architect. *I would love to see something by him in New York. *Unfortunately, this particular building indeed way too reminiscent of a rocketship (not that rocketships were around in 1908), and is definitely inappropriate for the WTC. *I would still like to see it built elsewhere in NY, though.

Fabb
January 21st, 2003, 04:50 PM
Yes.
I'm always thinking of the other boroughs.
They need a landmark skyscraper.

Kris
January 21st, 2003, 05:03 PM
The two tallest towers in the Bronx (Marcy?) look like giant sand castles too.

yanni111
January 21st, 2003, 05:42 PM
the two towers in the Bronx are called Tracy Towers, i went to Bronx Science which is down the block from them.

ZippyTheChimp
January 21st, 2003, 06:14 PM
Another drawing

http://www.op.net/~jmeltzer/Gaudi/misc/nyc.jpg


the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation is arms-length...

Indeed.

DominicanoNYC
January 21st, 2003, 06:27 PM
I think that this design is just.... horrible. This is what they though the buildings would look like in the year 2000 because then in 1908 these buildings seemed futuristic, but this is just a thing. I the people didn't like the other desings why would they like this one?

Kris
January 21st, 2003, 06:30 PM
"I the people". You mean you.

DominicanoNYC
January 21st, 2003, 06:31 PM
Damn. I meant 'If the people'

Fabb
January 22nd, 2003, 10:37 AM
Because for some people, relying on the past is comforting.

TLOZ Link5
January 22nd, 2003, 05:59 PM
Unsuited for the WTC site, at least from what I can see in that rendering. *Kinda looks like a giant penis.

Free
January 24th, 2003, 07:38 PM
I would just like to state that the narrow mindedness displayed on this site is exactly why the US has the cultural depth of a fly. Have you ever wondered why a small european nation has more to offer (architectully speaking) than a 270 million large country? If not, I suggest you do so, before posting criticisms on a genius whose designs I begin to think you don't even deserve. Not until you've seen the art nouveau and deco of Prague, the Sagrada de Familia, the Guggenheim at Bilbao, the Haya Sophia, the Eiffeltower, the canals of Brugge, Amsterdam and Venice, the Colosseum, the Akropolis, Knossos, Versailles (shall I go on?) and the beautiful churches, temples, mosques, streets and squares of Pompei, Sevilla, Prague, Florence, Sienna, Granada, Barcelona, London, Antwerp, Vienna, Berlin... practically every european city... do you have any say in what is gorgeous and what is not. Not to mention the absolutely gorgeous buildings the rest of the world produces. Oh yeah... except the 'lets keep it square' US of A of course.

DominicanoNYC
January 24th, 2003, 07:55 PM
Quote: from Free on 6:38 pm on Jan. 24, 2003
I would just like to state that the narrow mindedness displayed on this site is exactly why the US has the cultural depth of a fly. Have you ever wondered why a small european nation has more to offer (architectully speaking) than a 270 million large country? If not, I suggest you do so, before posting criticisms on a genius whose designs I begin to think you don't even deserve. Not until you've seen the art nouveau and deco of Prague, the Sagrada de Familia, the Guggenheim at Bilbao, the Haya Sophia, the Eiffeltower, the canals of Brugge, Amsterdam and Venice, the Colosseum, the Akropolis, Knossos, Versailles (shall I go on?) and the beautiful churches, temples, mosques, streets and squares of Pompei, Sevilla, Prague, Florence, Sienna, Granada, Barcelona, London, Antwerp, Vienna, Berlin... practically every european city... do you have any say in what is gorgeous and what is not. Not to mention the absolutely gorgeous buildings the rest of the world produces. Oh yeah... except the 'lets keep it square' US of A of course.

Well I hope that it isn't that people just want square buildings, but I think that America needs to ease into the new style of architecture. Maybe I could even narrow it dow to New York City. I really like some of the buildings in Philly. I forget the name of the the tallest building there, but anyway that and the Mellon bank building in Philly are really sort of neo-Art Deco. America was heading in a new direction when the Chrysler building was completed, but after that NYC's architecture sort of diminished. Of course there have been unique buildings. Right now some are under construction like the AOL building, or the Bloomberg tower, and even the Times Square tower is nice. When I look at skyscrapers in Hong Kong and the Petrunas Towers there's something different though. It's a new style. So, what I said about the Gaudi plan doesn't make me a cheap critic of architecture, but really it's that I'm looking for another style rather than this one.

TLOZ Link5
January 24th, 2003, 09:23 PM
Free, if you got the impression that I dislike Gaudi's work, that's totally inaccurate. *I've been to Barcelona and seen Sagrada Familia. *It is one of the most gorgeous churches I've seen, with a great touch of aesthetic symbolism. *It's interesting to watch how the facade seems to dissolve as it gets closer to the ground—an implication that everything, no matter how large or sacred it might be, will eventually be destroyed. *His greatest work; pity that it hasn't been finished, but still an awesome sight. *So I don't like his Grand Hotel design? *Big deal. *There should be no reason to believe that I would wholeheartedly reject the whole of his works.

(Edited by TLOZ Link5 at 12:30 pm on Jan. 25, 2003)

Kris
January 25th, 2003, 06:07 AM
Free, shut up. Your anti-Americanism is just too flagrant to be taken seriously. The Bilbao Guggenheim was designed by an American architect. I don't think it's at all obvious that Spain has more to offer than the US, despite its age. And even if this Gaudi project were brilliant (it isn't), why should we build an edifice almost a century after it was conceived and post 9/11, as if its prestigious author were enough to still make it relevant?

The famed European cultural superiority... Let's all worship before the altar of this myth the current god: Gaudi.

amigo32
January 25th, 2003, 06:23 AM
Thank You Christian!

Kris
January 25th, 2003, 06:27 AM
My pleasure.

amigo32
January 25th, 2003, 06:35 AM
:) :) Now you have gone and done it! *Europe generally rubs me the wrong way, *but you have helped to convince me to alter my negative attitude towards our brothers across the pond.


(Edited by amigo32 at 12:06 am on Jan. 26, 2003)

voiceofreason
January 25th, 2003, 11:47 PM
You are all standard, pseudo-intellectual, arrogant "New Yorkers"

amigo32
January 26th, 2003, 12:41 AM
As far as arrogance is concerned, *New York does not claim that top prize, by a long shot. *Also, we are not ALL New Yorkers!

NYguy
January 26th, 2003, 01:32 AM
Quote: from yanni111 on 4:42 pm on Jan. 21, 2003
the two towers in the Bronx are called Tracy Towers, i went to Bronx Science which is down the block from them.


So you were one of the city's smart kids then...:)

NYguy
January 26th, 2003, 01:36 AM
Quote: from Free on 6:38 pm on Jan. 24, 2003
I would just like to state that the narrow mindedness displayed on this site is exactly why the US has the cultural depth of a fly.

You mean because we don't like that piece of crap? *Now who's being narrow minded....

Kris
January 26th, 2003, 09:58 AM
The Voice of Reason has spoken. All bow before the Voice of Reason now.

Just the modesty of his name takes my breath away.

TLOZ Link5
January 26th, 2003, 10:37 AM
Quote: from voiceofreason on 10:47 pm on Jan. 25, 2003
You are all standard, pseudo-intellectual, arrogant "New Yorkers"


And you, sir, are a standard, ignorant, anti-New York-biased out of towner who draws all of your knowledge about the city from the two whole seconds you've spent there. *Wow, you are the voice of reason.

NoyokA
January 26th, 2003, 10:56 AM
..."old" Kris has made an appearance. With arrogance in rare form...

Kris
January 26th, 2003, 11:33 AM
I'm hardly arrogant.

yanni111
January 26th, 2003, 12:16 PM
Quote: from NYguy on 12:32 am on Jan. 26, 2003

Quote: from yanni111 on 4:42 pm on Jan. 21, 2003
the two towers in the Bronx are called Tracy Towers, i went to Bronx Science which is down the block from them.


So you were one of the city's smart kids then...:)


yes i admit it, i am a genius :)

Agglomeration
January 26th, 2003, 02:38 PM
All I can say about this little plan is that If that Gaudi tower is ever built, I want to see it filled with office space instead if an empty shell with written names.

Eugenius
January 26th, 2003, 05:14 PM
Quote: from Free on 6:38 pm on Jan. 24, 2003
I would just like to state that the narrow mindedness displayed on this site is exactly why the US has the cultural depth of a fly. Have you ever wondered why a small european nation has more to offer (architectully speaking) than a 270 million large country? If not, I suggest you do so, before posting criticisms on a genius whose designs I begin to think you don't even deserve. Not until you've seen the art nouveau and deco of Prague, the Sagrada de Familia, the Guggenheim at Bilbao, the Haya Sophia, the Eiffeltower, the canals of Brugge, Amsterdam and Venice, the Colosseum, the Akropolis, Knossos, Versailles (shall I go on?) and the beautiful churches, temples, mosques, streets and squares of Pompei, Sevilla, Prague, Florence, Sienna, Granada, Barcelona, London, Antwerp, Vienna, Berlin... practically every european city... do you have any say in what is gorgeous and what is not. Not to mention the absolutely gorgeous buildings the rest of the world produces. Oh yeah... except the 'lets keep it square' US of A of course.
Having personally visited about three quarters of the places and buildings you describe, I would agree that historical architecture in Europe is a sight to behold. *However, it is the narrowminded who look exclusively to the past for ideas on the future. *Why do you think no one is building tremendous gothic cathedrals anymore (St. John the Divine and Sagrada Familia excluded, as they were started in the 19th century)? *The modern age has taught us to emphasize economic viability and function. *The USA excels there. *Those two principles helped shape New York. *That is the reason that New York is the vibrant city of the future, while Rome, Venice, Florence and Seville are stagnating tourist traps.

amigo32
January 27th, 2003, 01:25 AM
awwwwwww.... * "old" *kris is being naughty again...., * *switching between pseudonyms... * shame, shame on him. :)


parlor games and tricks are always good for a laugh.

(Edited by amigo32 at 3:24 am on Jan. 27, 2003)

sergi
January 27th, 2003, 11:42 AM
hello everybody:
i'm from barcelona...and i think it's a aste of time and money to build this piece of history in NYC...the most important thing you (USA) haven't got is history...so...you don't want this building?? it doesn't matter...it's your "very beautiful city"...hehehe

bye

billyblancoNYC
January 27th, 2003, 12:09 PM
DAMNIT... on some of forums you always get the "I love Asia, not the US posts" but now this nonsense from Europe, too.

What a waste of a username.

I guess it's short for: Free from logic, intelligence, and the understanding that this is for people that love NYC - a city in America, of all places.

Kris
January 27th, 2003, 03:23 PM
This project would not add history, it would add an anachronism. It is, as Sergi said, already a piece of history. It makes no sense to dig it up from the past and place it in the present. You don't manufacture history this way, it is made in the present. This would be as uninspired as to rebuild the twin towers.

DougGold
January 27th, 2003, 07:53 PM
I for one, simply think this design would make for an incredible skyscraper that would be a unique and memorable addition to ANY skyline, New York's included. I just don't picture it being the replacement for the WTC. It's more of a fun, Times Square sort of building.

(Edited by DougGold at 7:29 pm on Jan. 27, 2003)

NoyokA
January 27th, 2003, 08:31 PM
Anything could work in Times Square. I have always thought a roller-coaster would be the greatest expression and compliment.

DominicanoNYC
January 27th, 2003, 10:26 PM
Oh yeah and Europe is so great! The only architecture I hear about is the Big Ben, Eiffle Tower, a few other things, but how about Asia. They really have unique architecture.

amigo32
January 28th, 2003, 04:57 AM
Are you positive about your opinion sergi? *:cheesy:

ZippyTheChimp
January 28th, 2003, 10:57 AM
Jeez, you'd think we were plotting the dismantling of Western Civilization.

brownieboy
January 30th, 2003, 02:01 AM
I have seen several renderings of Gaudí's design for "Hotel Attraction" in a number of websites, *and I believe it is an extraordinary building.

There are many reasons why it would work in NYC, and specifically on Ground Zero. It is gorgeous, naďve, futuristic and retro at the same time. For a city that hasn't built a single gracious skyscraper since the 1950's, this would put New York back on the right track of design, a position of pre-eminence that has been sadly lost lately. The optimistic quality of Gaudí's building would accelerate the erasure of the awful vibes still associated with that part of town.

Let's face it: downtown Manhattan is not a pretty place for the most part, and the entire WTC complex was a feat of early 70's horror and bad taste. On the other hand, Gaudí mirrored in his lifetime many of the qualities inherent to this town: He was a crazy visionary, an individualist who forged ahead with his vision regardless of misunderstanding of his work. He was also a Christian fundamentalist, but... We will leave that for later.

"Hotel Attraction" not tall enough? I'm sure with today's technology of structural calculation, one could re-scale the design to make it as tall as the Petronas Tower, if phallic mine-bigger-than-thou preoccupations are at stake here.

I'd say hurry up, New York... If you don't buy this project, somebody else will. You've lost the new riverside Guggenheim/Gehry, now you might lose the luxury of having a building by the best architect of the last 200 years.

amigo32
January 30th, 2003, 04:04 AM
I'm shocked! *:o :wink: :wink:


(Edited by amigo32 at 3:14 am on Jan. 30, 2003)

JerzDevl2000
January 30th, 2003, 04:11 AM
Welcome to the forum brownieboy - I like your strong opinions!

Suzana Spasic
January 30th, 2003, 10:53 AM
Christian, you're right. Just go on.

DominicanoNYC
January 30th, 2003, 08:42 PM
Well I think that the problem is that these ideas are ideas of the past and that they won't really fit into the modern picture. I think that Art Deco would fit in more. Something like the Chrysler building, but a modern version. Something like the One Prudential of Philidelphia. :) The World looks to the future.