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Wow. I was flabbergasted by the pictures of the final four designs for the new Capitol. As a lover of modern architecture, I think they're terrific.
There will no doubt be detractors who say that with this kind of state capitol Buck Rogers should be governor. Very funny. Sure, I know that one of the designs looks like two heater vents sticking out of Telephone Hill, but what better way to advertise that Alaska oil helps heat the world? And another looks like a distorted biplane, but why not tip our hats to the bush pilots who helped open up the Last Frontier?
One of the designs does look a bit like insect-eyes, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I always say. OK, the design with the big structure that looks like a drive-in movie screen probably couldn't stand up against summer breezes, much less Taku winds, but let's not get too picky. I think the dual-use concept that includes outdoor movies is just what we need.
Some will say Alaska needs a capitol with a gold-leaf dome and fluted columns, but that kind of architecture is so old millennium. And there are those who will say that all this shows once again that Juneau is on the fringe and out of touch with the rest of the state. But I think we need to leave behind the classic designs that have stood the test of time, and have been inspirational for more than 2,000 years since the time of the Greeks and Romans. Heck, those societies only lasted several hundred years, so what did they know?