“Appropriate” is my term. However, there’s a short distance from architectural criticism which couches itself in context-based rhetoric to an anti-progressive ideology. Now, I am not levelling that criticism against my co-blogger, but merely point out my perception of this issue for clarification – I think there is a dangerous fork in the road here, a nasty path of regressive criticism that is very easy to wander down.

As for the PacBell vs. Skydome question, well, that’s beyond loaded. PacBell is a piece of thoughtful and determined urbanism – it relies on the city around it, clever interior dimensioning, committment by the city to regenerate an entire neighborhood, and all those smaller but oh-so-important things that go into urban design and architecture (I don’t think I gave it the thumbs down, if you re-read my post, in fact, I think my review was pretty darn favorable). Skydome is insulated, hermetic, and embedded in the downtown of a city that has extremely short seasons. They have differing attitudes urbanistically, different attitudes stylistically, different functions in fact (Skydome doubles as a stadium for the Toronto Argonauts, PacBell is exclusively a ballpark). Answer a more difficult question for me: what exactly does style have to do with quality? A non-answer is that other parks were made of brick too. I want more from you.

Incidentally, Skydome could be looked upon as one seminal piece of work, the first prominent park with a retractable roof. It’s introduction as a ballyard can and should be viewed as a truly important moment in the re-thinking of stadium architecture, and as important to our current crop of fields as Camden Yards. It’s problem is that it is just not that conventionally pretty, it doesn’t have a gap in centerfield that looks out at the city (just a Hard Rock Cafe), it has astroturf, and it’s in a place where it snows in late April.

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