Yesterday, AN got a first hand look at the Space Shuttle Endeavor resting inside its new home, the 18,000 square foot Samuel Oschin Pavilion at LA’s California Science Center. The verdict: go see it. No piece of architecture in recent memory has been as breathtaking as the shuttle.
There are so many reasons for its grandeur: its Herculean scale, its celebrity, the nostalgia factor, and the fact that it doesn’t look real. With its mismatched styrafoam-like tiles, space-aged gizmos and ports, and nose resembling a beak it looks like a giant toy. And that gives it a strange, endearing charm. But most of all is the reminder of the ambition that it represents. An ambition that in the world of architecture—with its bottom-line mentality, zoning codes, permits, and timid developers—is so often lost. Experiencing the shuttle is a profound experience that all architecture should strive to emulate. Even with its jumbled pieces and areas that appear to be held together with tape, this is a majestic vehicle. See it now.