Look, Mickey, No Kitsch!

Disney has become the world's foremost patron of high-profile architecture

As architects began rediscovering the virtues of color and history and whimsy a decade ago, the buildings that resulted were often derided as cartoonish exercises in kitschy nostalgia. Disneyesque became a standard pejorative applied to the work of such post-Modernists as Michael Graves and Robert A.M. Stern. Now, rather suddenly, the figure of speech is biting back: under chairman Michael Eisner, Disney has become the premiere patron of architecture of the late 20th century, commissioning major works by a majority of the world's most celebrated architects.

Disneyites occupy a zany new Neoclassical corporate headquarters that Graves designed in Burbank, Calif. (the...

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