Saw a story the other day about a Dutch architectural firm that was catching flak because its design for a new project in South Korea kind of looks like the twin towers of the World Trade Center blowing up.
The design by MVRDV is called The Cloud, and that billowing “smoke” in the middle is a bridge between the 2 towers and is meant to suggest, you know, a cloud.
The firm has since posted an apology on its Facebook page. It says it “regrets deeply any connotations The Cloud projects evokes (sic) regarding 9/11.”
Some people may look at the design and think, How could they not see that it looks like 9/11, but I understand, because I live in a city where the skyline is dominated by a building that looks like Batman.
The AT&T Building (formerly the South Central Bell Building) was completed in 1994 and is topped by twin spires. When you look at it from the street, it looks like a regular office building, but from a distance, it looks like the silhouette of Batman. In fact, locals call it the “Batman Building” or just the “Batbuilding.”
It’s hard not to notice the resemblance, but a few years ago, I was talking with someone who worked at the local firm that designed it, and I asked, “When you were designing it, didn’t anyone notice that it looked like Batman?” She said no.
She said the towers are there because they suggest a pair of antennae (I don’t know if they actually work), which seemed appropriate for a communications company.
According to the Wikipedia article about the building, the president of the architectural firm Earl Swensson Associates said South Central Bell wanted “a signature piece of architecture.”
I’d say they got it.
In 2009, the French online business journal Le Journal du Net named “la ‘Bat Tower’” one of the 12 most-original office buildings in the world. Plenty of mid-sized cities have glass office towers or old buildings with gargoyles, but only the Nashville skyline is guarded by the Dark Knight.