May 27th, 2008


I KNOW WHAT IS BEST FOR EVERYONE ( with apologies to Onion columnist Edwin Wiersbicki)

Problem one: the controversy over the public art for the Capitol Hill Light rail station. Background:

Basically the arguments (not necessarily the arguments I would make) against this sculpture are:

1) fighter jets, even pink re-purposed ones, are not the kind of public art we like here.
2) this is a light rail station. let's make the public art more fitting with that site.
3) while I have no conceptual problem with the IDEA of fighter jets turned into pink birds, the design is ugly/half-assed/inappropriate for the site.

Problem two: Is the Ballard Denny's worthy of Landmark status? Background:

The controversy is thus:

1) Company buys old Denny's restaurant building for $12.5 Million, intending to tear it down and build condos on the site.
2) During historic preservation review, argument is made that building (that was not originally built as a Denny's) is a preservation-worthy example of Googie architecture. Landmark Board agrees; gives Denny's landmark status, meaning the building can't be torn down.
3) Argument is made that no one believes Denny's is noteworthy architectural landmark, but that people in the neighborhood just don't like condos and want to stick it to the developer.
4) Argument is made that Denny's has been altered enough since building originally erected that Googie argument is not reason enough to preserve building.
4) Marketplace economics suggest that after paying $12.5 million for the site, there is no way for developer to restore building and get fair return on investment. This seems to be part of the reason for eventual turnabout on landmark designation, meaning Ballard Denny's can now be torn down.

Solving Problem one and Problem two at the same time:

Get Mike Ross to re-do light rail station art design to mimic the Ballard Denny's Googie-style architecture.

The Anti-war people will be happy, the Googie preservationists will be happy, and light rail commuters will have pleasant thoughts of pancakes each day while waiting for their trains. EVERYONE WINS!