John A. Johansen, to the Oklahoman’s Steve Lackmeyer, a few years back:
It’s not beautiful to others who are looking for something past as an expression of beauty. But I have relieved myself of the burdens of accepted beauty. It would have killed anything left of my process.
I don’t know. Beauty “accepted” by me stretches over a long range; something that makes me say “Holy flurking schnit, did they really build that?” is invariably well within that range.
Somewhere there must be a middle ground in all this. Do we really want to be a city where architecture consists of Walmarts, McDonald’s and tilt-up concrete office buildings? Will anyone look at Harkins Theater in Lower Bricktown in 30 years and cry when it’s torn down? Yet we also know, such forgettable architecture is also very friendly to occupants — cost efficient to heat and cool, easy on maintenance, not a big deal to tear down and rebuild.
It’s too late to build anything that stands the test of time. We don’t even know how long the test of time actually takes, fercrissake. A perfunctory look through local message boards tells you exactly what people want: big pointy things that will look good during the bumpers of NBA telecasts. Oh, and they want the beleaguered First National Center to go residential so they can move in. I believe them about as much as I believe the putative auto enthusiasts who swear they’re just dying for a diesel-powered station wagon with a stick shift.