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September 26, 1968 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-09-26

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Page Two


Thursday, September 26, 1968

, , . . I i . , , i IM P , , M , I - , z W I e . I I I , , - , I I

Building for the year

2000: No




bus iness


If there is one interest which'
Time valiantly espouses, it is
cause of the corporate enter-
prise and the personalities who..
run it.
In a recent cover story which,
included eight full pages of color
photographs, Time attempted to
assuage the discrepancies be-
tween the pervasiveness of the
corporation and the pressing
needs of society at large.
The subject was architecture.
The theme was "Building for
the Year 2000." The corporate
personality w a s Nathaniel
Owings, founder and partner of
the prestigious architectural
firm of Skidmore, OWings and
Merrill ("the General Motors of
architecture, with a record of
high performance in everything'
fron its corporate Cadillacs to
its economy Chevy's"), and the
living testimony to the myth
of the self-made man ("from
black dirt belt to megalopolis").
Not unexpectedly, in its mis-
conceived and oversimplified
reliance on corporate enterprise
as the key .agent in the city-
building process, Time seems
ierely to be saying "what's good
enough for G.M. (or S.O. & M
for that matter) is good enough
for the country."
For example, Time lauds San
Francisco's Alcoa Bldg. saying

it "upgrades the bland apart-
ment houses around it and thus
makes a positive contribution to
San Francisco." The structure
also blocks magnificent views
of the'bay.
The towering John Hancock
Bldg. in Chicago is character-
ized as "a radical departure"in
skyscrapers." That is to say,
it is shaped like a sawed-off
obelisk instead of a rectangle.
A photo shows a worms-eye ,
view of tpe 140 Broadway Bldg.
in the Wall Street financial dis-
trict, thus disregarding the ob-
vious-that the building cannot
be viewed from this perspective
except at the risk of a badly
strained back.
Then there is a shot of Lake
Point Tower, "the world's high-
est apartment building on the
shore of Lake Michigan." It
is also the world's most mono-
tonous - 70 identical floors
and an infinity of identical win-
dows applied like a blue-green
Time calls these structures
"New Shapes and a New Spirit."
In fact, they are only the same
old shapes, and the same old
spirit shined -up a bit to look
more spiffy.
Why is architecture locked,
in the doldrums? Simply be-
cause of the law of the land-
in our society land goes to the

highest bidder, that is, to the
Thus, while the centers of our
cities have virtually undergone
reconstruction three times in
the lives of our grandparents,
the result has been only more
noise, higher density and more
magnificent ugliness. Buildings
are profitable even when they
are designed as filing cabinets
for people-as-functions.
Le Corbusier, the great French
architect, ironically dubbed our
skyscrapers , "too small." His
vision was .,a generous one
whereby mammouth structures
would house. whole communi-
ties amidst green trees, blue
skies and multi-colored flow-'
Louis Sullivan, though he was
committed to the skyscraper by.
necessity, abhorred the Amer-
ican city. And Frank Lloyd
Wright suggested the solution t,.!,
New York City's problems would
be happy devastation by the
atom bomb.
Clearly, the individual archi-
tect, no matter what his genius,
has been reduced to the benign
adversary of the corporate giant.
Meanwhile, the corporate a chi-
tect and his big business cB'nt
continue to satisfy their mutual
Only a few weeks ago, for
example, it was learned that

corporate interests want9d to
construct an office tower di-
rectly above Grand Central
Station in New York. Not on-
ly would this building block
light and the view, but it vould
create incredible traffic con-
gestion in the immediate vicin-
The proposal met opposition
from Lindsay's urban design
consultants and the City Plan-
ning Commission, but civic
power in the field is negligible.
(The architect, by the way,
is Marcel Breuer, famed pro-
duct of the Bauhaus and a
prime mover in the modern
movement of architecture. For.
Breuer at lerct, the moral seems
to be "if you can't beat 'em,
join 'em.")
What kind of measures will
the challenge of rebuilding our
urban environment really take?
Not only the profit-motive and
the private sector, but the pub-}
lic interest and more initiative
on the part of the government.
The place to look for signs of
change is not the penthouse of
Sunoco, nor the Four Seasons of
Seagram, but the Housing and
Urban Development headquar-
ters and t h e office of Mayor
Lindsay. Only through the vest-
,ed powers of government will
the necessary coordination be

Moishe Safdie's Habitat of Ex-
po; the central district of Cum-
bernauld - a new town in Eng-
land; Market Street East - re-
development in Philadelphia's
Central Business District; and
the Linear City Proposal f o r
Brooklyn are all urban design
projects which go far beyond
the concept of the monolithic
corporate structure. Their con-
cern is with the complex needs
of the total urban environment.
And significantly, government
played a decisive role the plan-
ing of each.
Ultimately, the architecture of
the year 2000 will have to an-
swer a three-part question to be
worthy of modern civilization:
- Is corporate interest willing
to make the necessary sacrifices
in the interests of the total com-
- Is government ready to ac-
cept its responsibility in the ar-
ea of urban planning?
- Can public interest prevail
over both governmental and cor-
porate interests to assure an en-
vironment for people rather
than for automatons?
Unfortunately, but expectedly,
Time has ignored these pressing
questions and instead has once
more praised the golden calf of
the American corporation. For
Time's lack of forsight, only the
people will suffer.

Saldie's 'Habitat': Some hope for the future

Local boycott planned
to back grape pickers

Table grapes may be hard to'
find in Ann Arbor, if a group of
University professors and students
supporting the boycott of Cali-
fornia table grapes have their
The group, led by Prof. Nicaulos
The Czechoslovakian invasion,
five 'weeks old today, will be re-
newed in the minds of University
students as the Young Americans
Freedom (YAF) collect petition
signatures on the Diag to protest
the Soviet military intervention.
The petition reads: To our
elected National representatives:
We the undersigned urge that our
government use 61l means possible,
excepting armed force, to encour-
age the Soviet bloc to withdraw
forces from Czechoslovakia imme-
diately and to permit this country
to resume its efforts at achieviig
freedom .and self-determination."
The drive was originated by
YAF faculty sponsor Prof. Ross
Wilhelm of the School of Business

Mills of the English department,
will hold its meeting tonight to
discuss organizing the boycott.
Prof. Mills, who has worked with
Cesar Chavez and the United Farm
Workers in California, said the
group will approach chain store
owners in the area trying to con-
vince them not to reorder Cali-
fornia table grapes.
Stores who do not comply will'
be picketed, as they have been in
most cities where the boycott has
been in effect.
The group has already received
the financial support of several
local church groups and the build-
ing trades unions in Ann Arbor.
Student support is necessary to]
make picketing sand boycotting of
the chain stores effective, Prof.
Mills said.
Another aspect of the group's
work will be' educational-convinc-
ing students and townspeople that
they should not patronize stores
that keep the California grapes.
The boycott has been particu-
larly successful in such cities as
Boston and New York where the
mayors of those cities came out
i4 support. Mills estimated its
success at 90 per cent in New Ybrk
where it also received the strong
support of the local AFL-CIO and

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Ends Tonight

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Vinler of Ten

- -- - -- - -- - - -- -
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8:30 P.M
Special Events Building
6:00-9:00 P.M.
Presented by the U. of M. Men's Glee Club



DAILY AT 1:30 and 7: 0


Directed by Tyrone Guthrie, 1964
The great Greek tragedy, perforrmed with many of
the conventions of the Greek stage.,
SHORT: ON THE JOB (Stan Lauren:

KATHERINE directed by
screenplay by
noeEEbyBERT"Soe d Esceby Ncer"-m cU*

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