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Mixed Reactions to News of Dale Chihuly Museum Planned for Base of Space Needle


Like with most big projects, the good comes with the bad. The news that the area around the base of Seattle’s iconic Space Needle is set to get spruced up with a new $15 million museum, celebrating the work of glass artist Dale Chihuly, is good because it means more construction work, jobs for museum employees, additional visitors to the area. On the negative side, it means they’re going to have to tear down the Fun Forest, “a small children’s fun park,” which never seems like a good karma kind of thing to do (especially when it’s called something as heartwarming as “Fun Forest”). What’s more, there are critics like Knute Berger who think “Chihuly is to art what Starbucks is to coffee.” And although Berger doesn’t mind Owen Richards Architects’ plans for the new museum at all, he sums up the whole business with: “Seattle likes schlock that pretends to be better than it is.” Post-grunge and the novelty of the expensive cup of coffee having long since worn thin, the city has been suffering from something of an image problem of late, like when the AIA said how dull its design-focus is. But we maintain that at least they’re trying, between the mayor’s plan to ban further ugly developments (though that was pre-financial bust) and this new, handsome museum (regardless of your opinion of what it holds inside). So, like we said at the start, you take what you can get, right?

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