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Big honking "egg" design
By Dave Kiffer

March 05, 2005

Ketchikan, Alaska - Judging by the "design" competition just completed for the new Capitol building in Juneau. I am absolutely, positively, 100 percent sure the following conversation MUST have taken place earlier this week.

jpg proposed capitol design

Design for the new Alaska Capitol by winning design team Morphosis of Santa Monica, California. - Graphic courtesy

Secretary:  Narcosis Design, how may I direct your call?

Thuggins:  I'd like to speak to Rhomboyd Plaine please.

Secretary:  Please hold, while I connect you.

Plaine:  Rhom Plaine here.

Thuggins: Rhomboyd, it's Senator Muck Thuggins, calling from Willow.

Plaine:  Senator Thuggins, how nice to hear from you again. How are things in Willow?

Thuggins: Just fine. In fact they're looking real good now that the competition is over and the people are voting with their feet, so to speak.

Plaine: Yes, the reaction was not unexpected. People just don't understand art, do they?

Thuggins: Well, they understood that big honking "egg" design you laid on downtown Juneau!

Plaine: It wasn't an egg, it was a capitol dome.

Thuggins: Whatever. Anyway, I was just checking make sure that you received our little "honorarium."

Plaine: The what?

Thuggins: The "honorarium."

Plaine: I don't follow.

Thuggins: The "Honorarium!" For Sheffield's sake my man, I can't really call it what it was. You never know who might be tuning in to this conversation. The mayor of Juneau used to be the state AG. Who knows what high tech surveillance devices he took with him when he retired?

Plaine: Oh right, the "honorarium." Yes, it was received.

Thuggins: I hope it was adequate, me and the other members of the "Way to Go: Willow" committee wanted you to understand how grateful we were.

Plaine: I appreciate that. But I have to reemphasize once again that your "consideration" had no effect on the final design. My sole allegiance is to the Capitol Planning Commission.

Thuggins: Uh, right.

Plaine: It is my job to give the state of Alaska the kind of capitol building that it deserves.

Thuggins: You don't really think this "design" is going anywhere, do you?

Plaine: Of course, I do. You will see a majestic glass dome rising over Juneau in time for the 50 year celebration of Statehood in 1959. Don't you agree?

Thuggins: Of course....not. If the $100 million price tag isn't enough to kill the project, the proposed "designs" of you and your competitors surely will be!

Plaine:  I'm sorry to hear you say that Senator. Alaska and Juneau deserve a showpiece Capitol for its next 50 years.

Thuggins:  And if that showpiece also wins a Pritzker for the "most complete disregard of context," so much the better?

Plaine:  So much the better. Say, now about that possible commission for a Cap.....ooops, I mean a group of  "buildings" in Willow?

Thuggins: Yes.

Plaine: You're sure that the site is flat.

Thuggins:  Flat as a legislator's palm!

Plaine: Well that makes things a lot easier. Gives you a blank slate, a tabla rasa.

Thuggins: The perfect palette for your vision?

Plaine: Does the name "Brasilia" mean anything to you?


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Dave Kiffer ©2004

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