Sunday, February 5, 2012

Civic Milestones: A Historical Aside

Now this is an elegy!

Now, the [Civic Arena] has been replaced by a soulless structure akin to the Soviet era, devoid of Pittsburgh personality and character. The upper levels, covered in siding, show that the architects did not know that Pittsburgh is a vertical city and that our buildings, seen from the surrounding hills, must be interesting from bottom to top. She never had that problem. (Trib, Joseph Sabino Mistick)

One could add, the old steampunk mother ship and its attendant parking lots reeked of history and of a history that is signally unfinished. It will be spellbinding to watch the debris and dust settle!

Lighters, please!


  1. The Civic Arena has a certain Fallout-like flavored* charm to it, I'll admit. But Mr. Mistick's elegy has a "take your rap music, Nintendos, and tofu and get off my lawn" characteristic that has unfortunately framed a lot of the discussion around the new and old arenas, and many other things in Pittsburgh. True, the spaceship-like dome surrounded by a sea of surface parking lots had a unique visual appeal. It will be missed. But the experience of going to a concert or hockey game in Consol is much improved. And it's, you know, connected to actual city. I always felt that the old area was designed with snipers in mind. A good place to take the high ground in case George Romero was actually a prophet.

    I'm in agreement that the whole process could have benefited from a bit more sunlight, its all been a bit behind closed doors for my liking, but its hard to imagine the Penguins or anybody else replacing the Civic Arena with something worse.

    *For the uninitiated, think "The Jetsons" world gone horribly wrong.

  2. Hi, Ghost.

    "But the experience of going to a concert or hockey game in Consol is much improved."

    I've never been inside the actual building, so that may be spectacular. But meh -- from the outside, it's nothing special. Not even the entrances are particularly spectacular or noteworthy. Maybe the statue will improve things?

    "And it's, you know, connected to actual city."

    Well that would be nice. It does blend, only not with anything there yet. It would be a little different if the storefronts were active, maybe. But so much depends how it weaves with the 28 acres and the "Hill District" to its east. BLAH! So much to plan. Maybe don't plan it, let the Market guide it where we can. Maybe make a tithe instead via the $1/car fund. Big job.

    "I always felt that the old area was designed with snipers in mind."

    Yes! Given the historic time-frame, they probably built it with Cold War implications in mind. "Everybody, evacuate here!" You think it was a coincidence it was the Pittsburgh G20 security hub? This contractor is having a hard time with the building because it was designed and built with a Soviet nuke somewhere in mind.