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Mr. Beem’s recent critique on Portland’s architecture is misguided and self-contradictory. He states, urban vitality necessitates a…“clash of the old and new”…, and granite sills and lentils are bland and homogeneous. Seriously? He must enjoy the distress occurring on Munjoy Hill. Many new structures here are so thinly skinned and shadowless; the facades can be referred to as ‘Botox’ Aesthetic.

His thesis that the only way forward is ignoring and demolishing the old in favor of the brash, might be self-reflective. But he pulls the rug out from under himself when he admits to the travesty of the Union Station destruction; erasing architectural quality, positive memories and identity of many Mainers who traveled through it. He admits, or suggests, the LEVER design is the best of the worst of the four finalists. Was the I.M. Pei office that designed the initial Payson building addition contacted? This is not the result that the PMA board should accept.

His feelings on Portland’s past and present architecture seem forced and confused in order to support Big Foot; this design from the other Portland. Mr. Beem should know that architecture can be forward-looking while being informed by, and integrated into, historic predecessors — in the hands of a talented architect.

Robert Kahn

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