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Once Supported, Zaha Hadid's Plans Now Baffle Mayberry

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The New York Times checks in with the controversy over architect Zaha Hadid's plans in Elk Grove, a city south of Sacramento. Here's the deal: Hadid won a city-held competition--back in 2000--to design a $159 million civic center complex. (Some residents wanted Gehry to do the job, however.) The complex was delayed by the recession, and now many of the city council members who voted for the development have left, so the incoming politicians and current residents aren't so pleased by Hadid's plans. The Times take on the story--a small town befuddled by a bigtime architect!--has some highly amusing moments, even the paper shows off its snobbish side. Excerpt from the story, which covers a meeting on the project:

"The stormy evening began with roughly 70 people in attendance, but dwindled to about 17 — two of whom were earnestly knitting — by the time the Hadid project architect, Bozana Komljenovic, took the podium. The architect showed two versions, both consistent with Ms. Hadid’s bold style, and explained how she had arrived at them.

Only two people spoke, including one woman whose voice shook with anger. “Who is going to pay for this monster?” she demanded between references to the “squid” and “starfish” and “sci-fi” imagery. “This is not Elk Grove.” Her only compliment was that “at least they put some landscaping between the tentacles.”

“This is more like something I’d see in Dubai than Elk Grove,” added Mayor Detrick who, like the other council members present, was struggling to see past the design to the master plan itself. "
· Star Architect’s Civic Center Design Divides California City [NYT]