Uninspired by the New Tappan Zee Bridge Design

The new Tappan Zee Bridge should be inspired by a sensitive use of light and air, forms found in nature and a sense of history, not a tuning fork inspired by the king of Post Modern kitsch.

Can’t… or rather… Shouldn’t we include nature in the new Tappan Zee Bridge design?

The Tappan Zee Bridge was built in 1955… on the cheap. It was meant to last 50 years, 57 years have past. A simulated photo of the new bridge design shown below accompanies a recent online article published in Nyack News and Views, which reader’s can access through the provided link.

Perhaps a night time, low angle simulated image of the impending bridge was chosen to better appeal it to the public, but I come away with the sense of a forcefully cold, bland, bare bones structure that is almost painful to look at. Most people will approach and pass through the structure during day light hours. They will encounter straight flat unyielding steel beams rising abruptly into an historic, often luminous valley vista. There are no curves, flow and movement considered in the vertical elements… no organic sensual lines like those found in nature.
The new Tappan Zee Bridge should be inspired by a sensitive use of light and air and forms found in nature. If environmental impact can be taken into account, why wasn’t the surrounding habitat considered? A tuning fork design ignores history and the beauty of this scenic spot, while subjecting all to the whims of Post Modern kitsch.

I’M under the not too vague impression… that Post Modernism is passing… if not already past… and the new trend in art and reason is about self-determination relative to an enduring relationship with nature. Post Modernism = appropriation. Isn’t the artist/panelist Jeff Koon’s all about appropriation? Isn’t Koon’s ALL ABOUT the material world? Another panelist/decision maker was the Architect Richard Meier. Many of his design elements incorporate curves and a feeling for sensuality, as does the third panelist and architect, Keith Brownlie’s bridge designs. I just don’t get it. Simplicity is key – yes – always, but it seems to me we’re getting Costco… an unimaginative bare bones replication… on the cheap… again.


(Two earlier comments posted by me to this article are printed below.)


 I agree with Marie and Starfire… lowest bids are cautionary tales in the making.

Also… if a tuning fork is the best representation of Post Modernism in bridge design then perhaps it’s time to call on an architect like Frank Gehry who knows something about adding nature and flow to design, or perhaps a disciple of Oscar Niemeyer. Many of Richard Meier’s  projects also have a sense of flow and movement, curvilinear lines that add a heck of a lot of elegance. Why isn’t there any in this design? It’s stiff, immoveable, cold and banal. It’s kitsch… like Koons. It will cross a major American, not to mention historic river 25 miles north out of NYC. It will be a gateway to all points west… a tuning fork… REALLY?

Jeff Koons:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Koons

Jeff Koon’s web site:  http://www.jeffkoons.com/

Richard Meier’s web site:  http://www.richardmeier.com/www/

Keith Brownlie:  http://www.worldarchitecturefestival.com/judging_judges_detail.cfm?officeContactId=47328&eventYear=0

Oscar Niemeyer:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/06/world/americas/oscar-niemeyer-modernist-architect-of-brasilia-dies-at-104.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0www.nytimes.com/2012/12/06/world/americas/oscar-niemeyer-modernist-architect-of-brasilia-dies-at-104.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Post Modernism:  http://www2.iath.virginia.edu/elab/hfl0242.html

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Margaret Callahan December 23, 2012 at 11:56 PM
gives new meaning to 'put a fork in it.' I agree, the design is out of place!
Bjorn Olsson December 24, 2012 at 05:53 AM
I like the one chosen best of the three. And it is pretty much impossible to build an uglier one than the current.
Mystery Man December 25, 2012 at 02:37 AM
It's a bridge stupid. If you want to make it a piece of art you pay for it.
DJKornell December 26, 2012 at 06:14 PM
You mean, it's just a stupid bridge right?
elizabeth December 27, 2012 at 12:38 AM
I find the whole endeavor very ugly and depressing. Think about how much prettier the views from Nyack and Piermont would be without the bridge! Why put it here? Why not put it futher north or south of the present one? Why not save billions of dollars, and just repair the existing bridge? Residents of the river villages are being used, and duped! It's easy to support this new monstrosity, when you don't have to look at it, or hear it, every day, from your neighborhood.


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