Thursday, March 18, 2010

Big Chair And Three Women: (2) Big Chair

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright dreamed of building
a mile-high skyscraper. Technologies
and financing schemes fifty years ago
never could have brought his vision to life.

In the decades since Wright died now and then
some billionaire would announce plans to build
a mile-high skyscraper. Most recently
an oil-rich sheik in the Middle East planned
a mile-high tower and even announced
architects and contracting partners but
the global financial melt-down combined
with bad site surveys scuttled his project.

Architecture buffs all around the world
keep track of this kind of thing—existing
structures, current constructions, proposals.

That’s one reason why global media
went wild when a six thousand foot tall chair
appeared in the Arizona desert
outside of Phoenix. The giant chair appeared
overnight, with no construction noises
and no one in Phoenix knew anything
about chair. No one in the world knew
what the chair was made of, who built the chair
or why the chair appeared in the desert.

Traffic copters from local media
just after sunrise began broadcasting
video of the big chair and police
began dealing with hundreds of phone calls
on their 911 line from citizens
frightened or amused or just curious
about the giant chair out in the desert.

National networks wouldn’t run the feed
because they thought it was some kind of hoax
using video effects. When ground crews
began sending confirming video
from different angles around the big chair
national networks ran with the story
and global media quickly followed.

All the coverage assumed the giant chair
was some kind of publicity gimmick
either from a computer company
or a movie studio but no one
could figure out how the giant chair was built.

News analysts speculated the chair
must be an immense air-filled contraption
that somebody inflated over night.

But soon after the story went global
two local Phoenix thrill-seekers chartered
a helicopter and flew to the “seat”
of the chair. The helicopter touched down,
proving that the chair in fact was solid.

At that point the National Guard began
to arrive and secure the location.
They ordered the chartered helicopter
away from the scene. The two thrill-seekers
became global celebrities when they
base-jumped from the seat of the chair safely
to the desert thousands of feet below.

National Guard troops encircled the base
of the chair. The Guard troops sealed off the ground
and closed the airspace surrounding the chair.

The media on the perimeter
began documenting the unending
stream of physicists and geologists
and engineers and architects joined by
military men and politicians
visiting the site as they attempted,
with quite literally everybody
on the planet, to understand the chair.
What was the chair made of? Who made it? Why?


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Big Chair And Three Women: (1) Three Women

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