Edifice complex - G&M Letter to the Editor Print

Letters to the Editor, Globe and Mail, Wednesday, May 1, 2013, p. A10

Re Housing Great Art, At The Cost Of Renouncing It (Arts, April 27):

The problem Lisa Rochon cites exists in Saskatoon also, where the renovation/expansion plan for the much-beloved, architecturally significant, structurally sound Mendel Art Gallery has been jettisoned by council in favour of a far costlier alternative.

Once finished, the renamed and relocated gallery/event centre would be an overscaled, multi-utility, undistinguished boxy structure jammed behind a theatre complex and up against an elevated freeway.

Like the projects mentioned in the article, this initiative is highly controversial and divisive.

The Freudian-sounding "edifice complex" – defined at jargondatabase.com as "the tendency of politicians to have large buildings and stadiums built as a concrete reminder of their 'legacy' " – is one explanation at work in these cases.

A headline on a column in The Guardian put a finer point on it: "Size is everything to a mayor consumed by edifice complex."

David Geary, Saskatoon