Shortly after posting about the proposal to replace The Old Man of the Mountain with a glass structure I was contacted by the design’s architect, Francis D. Treves. He expressed concern about the way his design was being represented on the web and that the imagery and information that is widely available was not doing his work justice. Of particular concern was that the cropped, low-resolution photographs found on most websites were not giving an accurate depiction of the design – and that little was said about what these photographs were specifically trying to show. In addition, the technical schematics of the plan were largely unpublished.
Mr. Treves has been taking a bit of a beating in public forums over his idea, and the lack of real information about his proposal has not helped. Even while typing up my original article, I had to resist expressing any personal opinions about the plan… I just could not find out enough about it. So I certainly understand his desire to disseminate quality, accurate information. After all, having people reject your idea when they understand it is one thing… having them reject it when their understanding is partial or inaccurate is something else.
After a phone call and several email exchanges, Mr. Treves and I agreed that Towns and Trails would be a good place to present additional images and information about the project.
The schematic above shows a cross-section of the design. In it you can make out the access tunnel to the skywalk, which would allow visitors to walk out into the glass structure and look out over the valley below. You can also see a gallery with a skylight. But one of the more interesting features of this schematic is that it shows how surface water would be redirected into an internal waterfall within the monument.
This is the type of detail that is largely missing from most of the reports available online. For me, it really helps to drive home the scope and vision of the design. This is not some eclectic modern art project, and it is much more than just a glass replica of The Old Man… it is a monument of ambitious proportions.
This photo, which was widely published in news reports (but in poor quality), is a rendition of the mountain as it might look in the spring. Four of these images were created – one for each season. These conceptual images might be recreated once a more detailed light study is complete. I’m particularly interested in seeing a quality winter composite, which would provide a more accurate visual representation of the inspiration behind the project.
“The grand metaphor with this piece of glass on the mountain is it’s not really a piece of glass, it’s a piece of ice,” Treves said. The Old Man, he added, “was sculpted by the glaciers; the ice gave it birth.”
– The Boston Globe
You can find full-sized versions of both of the images above by clicking on the thumbnails below. There you will also find 3 additional images. One is another springtime composite of the design, but from a farther distance. There is also a previously uncirculated schematic, without the cross-section, which better shows the layering of the 24 glass panels. And the last one is a multi-panel image which includes a “White Massing Model” and a “Light Study Model.” The light study model was used to understand how light would be transmitted through the design.
My hope is that all of this presents Mr. Treves’ proposal more clearly – and in a way that is more closely aligned with his vision. Personally, the additional information has helped me appreciate the magnitude of his design, and grasp the impressive technical scope of it. However, whether a clearer understanding of his design will translate into public support is another thing. Transitioning from a beloved natural monument to a man-made one is a tricky issue, and there are many emotions and attachments involved. Even before considering its potential price tag.
Click on the thumbnails below for full size images
All images: Copyright Francis D. Treves Architect All Rights Reserved