Thursday, July 06, 2006

Monona Terrace

So named because it's on the shore of Lake Monona on the isthmus in Madison, not because it's in Monona, the city on the other side of the lake. Clear as mud?

Monona Terrace is a convention center based on a 1938 design by Frank Lloyd Wright. The design as envisioned was to be for a civic center on the order of Marin County's, but it ran into a lot of political opposition and the idea was shelved. They'd occasionally bring it out, dust it off and fight over it for a little while before shelving it again. This went on for decades until 1992 when finally the city, casting about for designs for an exhibition center, approved this watered-down version of Wright's plan.

It's a very pretty place, and you can see Wright's influence in the design, but it's a far cry from what he originally planned, and when you take a look at the Marin County version it almost makes you weep to think of the jewel Madison could have had.

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