FLW's Banff Pavilion to be rebuilt

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Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Don't get so defensive, Yew.

While we are at it, when did you attend Taliesin? Your name isn't on the list of attendees.

Romanza, I don't like to be threatened. I have lawyers of my own, so tread carefully.

KayFrancis
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Post by KayFrancis »

Wow, this is getting crazy. When I posted above my reaction, I was starting to get concerned about what is going on with this project. It now seems that Roderick Grant's post was not true, so why would he do this? What's the motivation?

peterm
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Post by peterm »

Roderick does owe Yew-Thong Leong an apology, or at least an admission that he was mistaken, though from my ten year experience here at Wright Chat, I've yet to see that happen. Quickly Googling a name and then assuming it’s the same conman is shoddy research. And then, on top of that, instructing him, "Dont get so defensive" just doesn't cut it.

As an example, Wright Chat’s very own Roderick Grant (not!):
https://www2.ocadu.ca/bio/roderick-grant

This is how “fake news� of the Trump/Russia era is created and transmitted. A gentlemanly “oops� is in order, not blaming the victim who has already been maligned first by a false accusation and secondly rubbing salt into the wound by branding him “too defensive�.

Also-There must be something that I’m missing, because on the Ryerson website Mr. Leong only claims to be a “fan� of Wright, not a Taliesin apprentice. Where was it stated that he attended Taliesin?

At the same time, it would be helpful to see some design work that Mr. Leong has done in the past?

DRN
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Post by DRN »

Please correct me if I am mistaken, but I read Yew-Thong Leong’s comment to mean that Mr. Leong believes Roderick to be a former Taliesin Fellow and an architect.
It was my understanding that Roderick interviewed at Taliesin ca. 1961, but never joined the Fellowship. As to his profession, I don’t believe that has ever been established in this forum, but it is clear that his knowledge of architecture, architectural history, FLLW, and the American motion picture industry are extensive.

peterm
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Post by peterm »

To clarify, R. Grant asked Yew-Thong Leong (first post, top of this page) when he attended Taliesin, as if he had somewhere made that claim. (Maybe he did, but I haven’t read that.)

“While we are at it, when did you attend Taliesin? Your name isn't on the list of attendees.�

There’s no disputing Mr. Grant’s knowledge or intelligence. Even the most knowledgeable might on occasion consider admitting to the remote possibility of being mistaken.

It’s also possible that the tiny fragments of information that Mr. Leong discovered about R. Grant through his internet search created an incorrect or incomplete picture of Mr. Grant’s architectural experience or career?

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

I don't mind chaos, but this is getting tiresome.

I misread Leong's comment to mean that "he" had attended Taliesin; I don't know where he got the idea that I had, or that I am an architect. I did not merely Google Yew. There was a connection between something posted and the site that made accusations. Nor did I see a photo of the Canadian Leong until he responded.

I propose we put an end to this long, contentious thread, and start over. The rebuilding of the Banff Pavilion is a worthy enterprise, if it can be pulled off adequately. If Ms Francis can accept this site on its own terms, without expecting unconditional praise for a questionable effort, we should be able to offer commentary and even insight without slipping off into apsidal subjects, leaving Peter to tend his garden.

peterm
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Post by peterm »

You have proven my point. The contentiousness is always from everyone else, isn’t it? No responsibility, no apology for accusing a Canadian architecture professor of being a conman...
You can always refrain from posting on this thread, but I, for one, am still interested in seeing where the Banff project is headed. I vote to reject your proposal. Haven’t you shut down enough other threads already?

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

That, if you read my post thoroughly, was my point, to start a new post on Banff without all the agitation. I have never shut down any thread. But you prove your own point about contentiousness, and where it comes from.

KayFrancis
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Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2016 4:21 pm

Post by KayFrancis »

No, I don't think this should be dropped and started over at all. I still do not get any clear idea of at least 3 things. If you are not a Taliesin fellow, as Yew-Thong Leong mentions, who are you, and what do you do? You need to explain this, since it looks like you have posted untruths. I completely don't understand your "explanation" of how you came to post them, why you don't admit your mistake and at least apologize, and most importantly, what motive do you have to make these claims in the first place?

flwromanza
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Post by flwromanza »

Roderick Grant, if you wish to handle this matter through your attorneys, would you please provide us with their contact information? If you don’t wish to do so publicly on this forum, you may send the information through Messenger on my Facebook page Frank Lloyd Wright Romanza.

KayFrancis
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Post by KayFrancis »


DRN
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Post by DRN »

In the comments section, "Benny" earnestly raises valid new points, and some familiar ones, that must be considered by those involved for a successful outcome of this effort.
This has been a really interesting project to follow since it first cropped up a few years ago – here are a few thoughts (from a local) offered in aid of filling out the discussion between Betsky and Miner:

A reconstruction of a formerly demolished building would be infinitely richer in experience than a virtual copy experienced only through technological means. In regards to a reconstructed FLW Pavilion, there would be no greater experience than to touch and smell the wood of the structure, to see sunlight streaming through the windows picking out the dust motes, or to hear the adjacent Bow River while taking in the panorama of Mts Norquay, Cascade and Rundle. It would be lovely and idyllic.

But make no mistake, it would be a reconstruction. Even if the pavilion is reconstructed in the most painstaking way to the nth degree of accuracy, it will never be original. And nor should it be. Recreating history is not the right approach. Acknowledging it, interpreting it, and then building something appropriate (modified for today) is a more appropriate approach. A replica is a Disney-esque theme park, or the Eiffel Tower in China.

Granted this would be a replica in the same approximate location, but Banff is in Canada's oldest National Park whose reputation is already known world-wide for its natural beauty and wildlife, not for a small pavilion by Frank Lloyd Wright.

There was some initial discussion when this project first came to light that the proposed pavilion would be a classed in some fashion as historic and therefore eligible for funding from the Provincial Government from a historic conservation standpoint. That was squashed since this is a replica. There are no extant remains of the building to classify the project as preservation, rehabilitation or restoration under the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.

The pavilion has been presented to the Town of Banff as sort of gift – which is very kind, but is really more of a white elephant. The Town of Banff is located wholly within Banff National Park, and the town is responsible for its own buildings. Parks Canada does not provide assistance or funding in regards to Banff's buildings. There are also Parks Canada Buildings within the Municipality and they are maintained without input or funding from the town. Banff's budget isn't huge, and the pavilion is seen as a building that would require special care and attention from a maintenance standpoint. The pavilion doesn't come with a stipend or ongoing gift of a maintenance budget.

The original Pavilion was located at the Rec Grounds at the south end of the Banff townsite. The proposed site for the reconstructed pavilion is also at the same Rec Grounds. This is an area prone to flooding; it was flood water that damaged the original pavilion and one of the causes leading to its eventual demolition. It would seem ill-advised to expend significant effort and money to reconstruct a pavilion where it would likely be flood damaged.

The proposed site is also on urban city park-space within the town boundary – a very limited commodity in Banff. The town does not have the luxury to extend its boundary to find new park-space to replace what would be lost to the Pavilion. It is unfair to ask the town residents to give up a local "parks and rec" amenity to accommodate the recreation of a building that is being championed primarily as a tourist attraction.

The original Banff Pavilion was a bit controversial – it was seen as a building primarily for tourists; something foisted upon the town by the powers out East (a common gripe in Alberta). Locals wanted a building that would support curling and hockey; what they got was an unheated building intended for summer picnics and also as a general meeting and dancing space. The building eventually did come to be appreciated and even had a brief stint as a Quartermaster's Store during WWI, but it was very much an object of pleasure (as a pavilion should be), open only during the short summer season.

Much like the original pavilion, the proposed reconstruction is not without controversy as it is also being promoted as a tourist draw, and one which would not serve the local community since it would displace portions of the only baseball diamonds in town. A proposed alternate location, which leaves the baseball fields intact, instead places the pavilion even closer to the Bow increasing the risk of future flood damage.

The original pavilion failed due to a number of reasons including: flood, poor soil and (likely) inadequate foundations that suffered frost heave; as well as some anecdotal evidence which points to inadequate funding from Parks for maintenance leading to the building's eventual poor condition and demolition. There is no budget for or discussion of flood mitigation to protect a new pavilion built in the approximate location of the original one. Foundations for the new pavilion would have to meet current building code to resist frost heave, and would require thoughtful detailing to appear in keeping with the look of a true replica. To date, there is no will by Parks to fund this pavilion. It is considered a town project and the Municipality would be responsible to the cost to construct and for the upkeep.

The original pavilion was designed before there was an appreciation of the necessity for universal design and barrier free access. Discussion to date has focused on providing a reconstruction that would for all intents and purposes be exactly like the original. Quoting from the 2015 Proposal to Banff "...for the resurrection of the Banff Pavilion, with the hope of securing approval from both Town Council and its residents for the re-creation of this architectural treasure."

The original pavilion was essentially a three-season, open space with Men's and Ladies' retiring rooms at either end. There is no mention of how the plan would be made applicable to contemporary town needs other than touting the new pavilion as an attraction and to increase the Banff's reputation by way of rebuilding an essentially minor work by a famous 20th-century American architect. It seems to be more about Wright's legacy, than Banff's reputation.

Frank Lloyd Wright once commented that "Canadian architecture was boring, with the exception of buildings in Montreal, and a modest little pavilion I once built in Banff". There is also conjecture whether or not the building was commissioned to Frank Lloyd Wright or to Francis Sullivan in Ottawa. The plan of the original Banff Pavilion is an almost identical version of the 1906 River Forest Tennis Club in Oak Park, Illinois. Banff doesn't necessarily need a re-do, of a re-do of a Tennis Club.

There seem to be a lot of issues to resolve in regards to location, the program, historic accuracy of reconstruction versus usable building that meets code and accessibility concerns, cost of maintenance; and what really are the tangible benefits to the Town of Banff.

Reconstructing the Banff Pavilion isn't about educating the unwashed masses about Frank Lloyd Wright and architecture, or about tourism. It is about the appropriateness of real versus recreated, and how best to recognize the legacy of a famous architect within Canada's most renowned National Park. It may be a reconstruction, or it might only be interpretive through an installation of photos and text on a plaque. Either way, there's a lot of work to do yet.
Thanks for sharing this Kay.
Last edited by DRN on Thu Feb 27, 2020 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Any airing of the issues, discussions about the various forms in which architecture can be assessed and can be appreciated, is worth having, it seems to me. Like religion, like ownership of one's own body, one's own soul --
universal subjects about which there are multiple opinions and convictions -- all attempts to understand, to share, to strive for (re)conciliation, are to be encouraged -- and attended to.

If there is one part of the recreation-of-architecture discussion that virtually everyone in the field can agree upon, it is the faithful re-representation of the design and the object -- that is, accurate to the letter as well as the
spirit, of the specification and/or the recorded or remembered reality of the object to be replicated. If this is so, then there are members of the community have not been successful in re-creating a work of Frank Lloyd Wright.

There is no way for outsiders to a project to assure themselves and each other that "the good thing" will happen . . . is there ?

SDR

DRN
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Post by DRN »

I have no objection to demolished buildings being recreated or unbuilts built if there is sound reason for the act and if the work can be done faithfully to the original intent.....for that matter a concept could be used as a point of departure for an inspired work that is altogether different.

Personally there are a couple of unbuilts residences in the Wright cannon that I would love to build if I had the means and opportunity. But a single family house privately built and maintained is a very different prospect than a building for public ownership and access. I would like nothing more than to experience in person all built and unbuilt ideas from the mind of FLLW. However the world of reality and economics comes into play..... buildings are expensive to build and expensive and time and resource intensive to maintain....buildings are commitments that last generations. If a private individual takes that on, so be it. But I would tread carefully and consider all possibilities and pitfalls, before I would even suggest to a public entity or a group of individuals such as a church congregation to undertake such an effort and commitment to be stewards in perpetuity.

peterm
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Post by peterm »

KayFrancis wrote:Yesterday on Dezeen

https://www.dezeen.com/2019/01/31/micha ... -rebuttal/
Kay- I saw on Facebook that this link was shared by “Elaine Francis�. I assume that’s you?

I also noticed that all 27 of your posts on Wright Chat related to the Banff Pavilion. Is there other architecture which also interests you?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kay_Francis

https://www.rmoutlook.com/article/detai ... s-20190103

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