Where’s the Humanity?

I fail to see the excitement over the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles as written in "City of Angels’ Music Heaven" (ENR 8/11 p. 30). It looks like a chunk of metal that was destroyed while machining. It might have great acoustics, but great acoustics can be achieved in buildings that say something about humanity. Mr. Gehry’s building says a lot about the inhumanity of post-modernism and deconstructionism. I could easily say the same for the buildings at M.I.T. that were highlighted in ENR a few months ago. Bombed out shells of buildings in Lebanon are more attractive, and quite possibly more functional. The same goes for the World Trade Center and it potential replacements. Too much money and absolutely no taste.

The desire to shock in art and architecture has grown tiresome. I submit that every artist and architect ought to study Philosophical Anthropology, "The Study of Man." Twentieth and 21st Century architecture cries out that the designers know very little about humanity, having given up their souls to some mechanized and hyper-technological paradigm of faux-life. Try as they may, these artists and architects will never change what humans truly find pleasing. In 1,000 years the Walt Disney Concert Hall will have long been disassembled for scrap and the Parthenon will still draw throngs of us "unwashed" masses who are so ignorant as to recognize true beauty without a hint of irony.

Key Player

My concern and disappointment is that ENR would publish "At Olivenhain, 318-ft-tall RCC Impoundment Is Ready to Fill," and not even mention Washington Group International as the construction manager (ENR 08/04 p. 15). I have been the project manager for the construction management of Olivenhain Dam for the past three years. WGI is construction manager for the San Diego County Water Authority during this first phase of their Emergency Storage Project. I specifically moved to San Diego County to help SDCWA build Olivenhain Dam since they had no in-house dam construction experience.

Washington was the catalyst that kept the project on track by settling design and construction issues, insisting on maintaining the schedule, working with the California Division on Safety of Dams and ensuring the day-to-day sequencing and progress to keep the project on schedule and budget.