[Reader-list] Turtles, Tatas and Reva

S. Jabbar sonia.jabbar at gmail.com
Tue Apr 22 19:43:57 IST 2008

I'm reminded of this delightful architectural exercise to build the George
W. Bush Library. Of course, my submission would have been a small doll's
house to house the current incumbent's collection...
Check it out, it's pretty funny. Here's the url for the actual sketches :


The Back-of-the-Envelope Design Contest

We asked readers to sketch their own visions for the George W. Bush Library

Campus Architecture

For millennia, great and not-so-great leaders have celebrated themselves in
monuments. The ziggurats of Mesopotamia, the pyramids, the Forbidden City,
the Louvre, and Monticello all convey their builders' legacies, as did the
many lavish palaces of Saddam Hussein.

Modern U.S. presidents have only their presidential libraries. Now that the
George W. Bush era is almost over, the world needs a place to archive the
legacy of the 43rd president. That place will be Southern Methodist
University, in a building designed by Robert A.M. Stern. The building will
probably cost $500-million.

We thought that Chronicle readers would have their own ideas about how that
building should be designed, and we invited people to send in designs on the
backs of envelopes. About 120 people sent in sketches that were good, bad,
serious, humorous, abstract, or really angry. Their designs took the form of
toilets, bunkers, crosses, and W's, some crudely drawn and some very
elegant. A sampling of those designs is displayed on these pages.

We invite readers to take a look at some of the designs we have posted here
and to vote for the best one. You can scroll through the designs and choose
the one you like the most, then go to the Forum poll and vote (Forums
require a free chronicle account.) So as not to prejudice the voting, we
will not fully identify contributors until the voting ends.

If you felt your vote didn't count in 2000, it will certainly count here.
The winning designer will get an iPod Touch. Hail to the chief.
The envelopes, please ...

On 4/22/08 5:43 PM, "Shuddhabrata Sengupta" <shuddha at sarai.net> wrote:

> Dear Aman,

You wrote - "Our utopian city should not be one full of REVAs, and
> it  
should not
be one full of Nanos either .. it should ideally be full of
> bicycles  
and public transport ..and roads designed for cyclists and rickshaw
pullers rather than automobile users - perhaps the ideal vehicle  
could be a
> cross between the Nano and Reva - small, cheap and non- 
polluting.We could
> call it the Never"

I totally agree. My enthusiasm for the Reva needed your
> note of  
temperence. And better never than nano. : )

And I think that you
> are right in saying that cities worth living in  
need to be smaller so that
> they can be gotten around in cycles and  
rickshaws. Delhi, in the 19th
> century was apparently such a city.

Now, if a city like Delhi could be
> redesigned (speculatively, and in  
good humour, as a heuristic exercise) we
> could begin by erasing what  
is erroneously called 'Lutyens' Delhi off the
> map, it's too much  
space for too few people.That could leave maybe a few
> bungalows  
(maybe just 3 or 4) to double as libraries, themed discotheques
> and  
chess clubs. Wonder how much that would shrink the city. Maybe not
much, but it could be a beginning, then we could demolish the  
memorials by
> the riverbank, all of them, and collect all the ashes of  
all the national
> leaders and put them in a reasonably sized urn in  
the corner of a former
> underground parking lot converted into  
municipal storage space, and also get
> rid of the eyesore called the  
Akshardham temple. And then invite the decent,
> hardworking people who  
once used to live on the riverbank to return.

> there are architects and urban planners on the Reader List  
listening in,
> perhaps someone from amongst them could begin proposing  
alternative maps for
> the future of our cities - as sketchbook  
scenarios, with no (political)
> limits on what can be imagined.  In  
case the architects and the urban
> planners are too shy to reveal  
their speculative selves, or even if they are
> not, maybe the rest of  
us could also respond. Any takers?



> 22-Apr-08, at 4:11 PM, Aman Sethi wrote:

> Sengupta
shuddha at sarai.net

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