Tuesday, May 03, 2011
“Mammas, don't let your babies grow up to be Xanadu”
Too big to fail one more time? How about too ugly or redundant to succeed? The long-languishing, and design-challenged Xanadu project sparks such thoughts.
Rebranded “American Dream@Meadowlands,” Xanadu is highly visible, and abuts an ecological treasure. Perhaps I can offer a comparative context. The Twin Cities' Mall of America is another mammoth retail complex that Triple Five co-developed. It, too, received substantial public funding—mainly for such infrastructure as access roads and parking ramps. In 1993, it was the country's largest mall.
Via Impudence, The Era of Big Malls Is Over - Room for Debate - NYTimes.com
What is is about failure with projects named “Xanadu?”
There's Samuel Coleridge's poem, unfinished because he was interrupted by Dirk Gently, also known as the person from Porlock (okay, okay, the poem's actual name is “Kubla Khan”, but it's one of the most, if not the only, famous literary reference to Xanadu).
Then there were the Xanadu houses, all since gone.
There is (or was?) Ted Nelson's Project: Xanadu (named after the poem), the precusor to the World Wide Web and never fully realized (it being “six months from being done” for over thirty years).
And lest we forget the movie, which sucked. Big time. Enought for it to be Gene Kelly's last movie.
Don't name anything “Xanadu” if you want it to succeed.