Thursday, April 7, 2011

Neutering the Dinosaur Nat'l Monument Quarry Building

There's a new post today about graywashing the reconstructed Dinosaur National Monument Visitor's Center at the project's blog.

It's a sad day for me. I remember visiting this amazing place as a child. Here's a little homage to the building that once was:

I'm disappointed that an historic landmark has been neutered by committee and budget. First, we learned that the rotunda was simply going to be removed from the structure. That decision represented a dramatic revision of the structure that's certainly not in keeping with the status of the visitor's center as an historic landmark. To finish the job, the quarry structure is now being painted one shade of neutral warm gray. This not only negates the historic colors applied to the building, it also eliminates the contrast that the different tones of paint added to the building's structure. The darker tones of the original colors contrasted with light color panels to define the "bones" of the building. I'd be willing to bet that the architects, especially the historic architect, who compiled the renovation recommendations for this project look at this new paint scheme in dismay.

The Dinosaur Visitor's Center was an iconic building, and was a rare representative of 50's architecture in public monuments (although the rotunda has more of an art deco feel like structures designed a decade earlier). It's sad that the buck and pedestrian tastes appear to be the ultimate arbiters of historic preservation. It's much cheaper to paint the structure one color than it is to accent the structure with multiple shades. And this gray that offends nobody is the ultimate expression of design by bureaucracy.

I modified the extremely low-quality building rendering the Park Service has floated showing the redesigned building. Note that the original rendering appears to preserve the historic color scheme and does not reflect the graywashing. I wasn't quite able to evoke the true monotony of Warm Inoffensive Gray, but the retouched image should look a lot more like the look of the building in real life. I repainted the pink Rambler in the same color, after all, who'd want to drive a pink car?