New Architecture and City Planning: A Symposium

By Paul Zucker | Go to book overview

THE ARCHITECTURE OF INLAND WATERWAYS

By ROLAND A. WANK

Our subjects are dams and their powerhouses; bridges; navigation locks and inland terminals; swimming beaches and other developments of the waterfront for recreation. They relate to the manifold functions performed by rivers and waterways, and their characters differ greatly. Indeed, their only common mark is the setting: the distant views over ever-changing reflections, tempered with haze or mist. Good architecture grows superb under the dramatic effects of the atmosphere and water, and even the inadequate often acquires dignity from its impressive dimensions or romantic surroundings. Most of us carry some nostalgic memory of structures once seen mirrored in the water, perhaps struck by the setting sun; and as a nation, we have always been conscious and proud of the power and daring of the engineering works we throw across rapids and canyons, commerce-bearing rivers and takes the size of young oceans. We glory in them much as a youngster glories in his strength when he flexes his muscles in front of a mirror. Their builders become popular figures--if not heroes, at least personifications of our national spirit and ambition. We expect and spur them to build longer spans, taller masses of dams each year; their works become headline news and objects of devout pilgrimages.

For which reason the architecture of such projects truly expresses the strength and maturity of our civilization. Perhaps it is wrong

-440-

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