Art: The Road to Xanadu

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Though the Pavilion was devoted to showing modern science, it looked as if it could have been the setting from a poem by Coleridge. From any angle it cast a spell. It had reflecting pools, stage-set lighting, delicate bridges, six buildings decorated with Gothic tracery. Inside, it subtly lured visitors along, stopped them just where the designer intended that they should pause and look. Probably no building put up in 1962 caused such a world of comment or brought into action so many cameras. Professional critics found dreadful flaws, but to almost everyone else the U.S. Science Pavilion, that pleasure dome of the Space Age at Seattle's Century "21" Exposition, was a modern Xanadu, built for their delight, a declaration of independence from the machine-made monotony of so much of modern architecture.

The creator of this pleasant pavilion is Architect Minoru Yamasaki, a wiry, 132-lb. Nisei who was born 50 years ago in a slum less than two miles from where the Science Pavilion now stands. In manner, he is the most courteous of men, often humble to a fault. But the core of the man is all steel, tempered not only by the anti-Nisei discrimination he has known, but also by his often lonely fight to reintroduce into architecture the embellishments that many modern architects tend to despise.

More Is More. Early in this century, the French architect Auguste Perret declared, "Decoration always hides an error in construction"; later, the great Mies van der Rohe summed up the approach to purity and discipline in the phrase "Less is more." These tenets have to a large degree held sway ever since. But to Yamasaki, this architecture lacks "delight, serenity and surprise," and if he must have decoration to achieve these things, he will have it. Until the Seattle Pavilion opened, the unserene battle over architectural philosophy that Yamasaki stirred up was kept mostly within the profession, but the public reaction to the building brought it into the open. And now Yamasaki has a commission that will soon make him the country's most hotly disputed architect. He has been picked to plan the Port of New York Authority's giant World Trade Center, to be built on Manhattan's Lower West Side, from where it will be a neighbor of that landmark of an earlier decade, the Woolworth Building (1911-13). So vast are the space demands of this project that if they could be met by building one fat skyscraper, it might have

to be 300 or more stories high. The $270 million center will be bigger than the original Rockefeller Center, and because of this vastness alone, the size and shape of the project will keep the profession in suspense for the next two or three years. "Some Real Dogs." Because of excessive ornamentation in his earlier work, Yamasaki's critics have tended to type cast him as an "exterior decorator," or cosmetician. Yamasaki is aware of the criticism — and agrees that much of it is deserved. "In the past few years," he will

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