Paul Goldberger was in town two weeks ago to deliver the keynote address for the first David Dillon Architecture Symposium. While here, he took a look at the situation with the Nasher Sculpture Center’s parbroiling by Museum Tower. Goldberger recently left the New Yorker for Vanity Fair, and his verdict on the condo vs. artworks controversy appeared on VF‘s website today. He quotes the Museum Tower’s architect, Scott Johnson, on how the Nasher should be ready “to do something on their end” to help remedy the problem of reflected sunlight coming off the tower and spoiling the Nasher’s artworks, its viewing experience and even the grass in its garden.
Then Goldberger takes Johnson to school:
Why, in heaven’s name, should they have to? The Nasher was there first, it didn’t create the problem, and it is suffering from it. When there were far less serious amounts of glare coming from Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the hall quickly took responsibility and made adjustments to its façade. The source of a nuisance—whether noise, or falling debris, or glare—is normally where responsibility for fixing the problem lies, not with the victim. Replacing 42 stories of glass with something less reflective, or covering the present glass with some kind of sun baffle to block the reflections, wouldn’t be cheap. But aren’t builders and their architects and engineers supposed to know the properties of a material before they use it?