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Time to replace the Old Man of the Mountain with…

Time to replace the Old Man of the Mountain with… a glass sculpture?

That is the idea behind a proposal from award winning architect Francis D. Treves (of Princeton, NJ). His plan is to re-create the Old Man with some 250 glass panels that would also allow visitors to walk inside the structure. Sounds technically impressive. But is it a fitting tribute to a beloved natural structure?

I’ve had a hard time digging up images or details of the plan, but here is what I have found so far:

Glass Man

From a distance

I can understand why there is a desire to replace (or honor, some would say) the Old Man… the rock formation became a brand for the state, making its way onto license plates, stamps and even the back of the New Hampshire version of the US quarter.  And businesses in the area have reported severe drops in revenue since it fell off the mountain in 2003.  This glass sculpture, or any of the other proposed replacements/memorials, would ideally bring visitors back.

But of course this topic raises strong emotion and opinion.  The New Hampshire House has already shot down a few proposals, reportedly due to cost concerns.  And many people, including a lot of outdoor enthusiasts, have scoffed at the very idea of something artificial being crafted in such a natural environment.  (Apparently all of the cables, bolts and epoxy that held the Old Man in place for several years were ok though…)

Ultimately it just feels like it is time for everyone to move on.  The Old Man was an amazing natural formation, they did their best to make it last, and we enjoyed it while it did.  There are a lot of a great things about New Hampshire that can, and should, define it.  Let’s focus on those.

2 Comments

  1. Francis Treves
    Francis Treves05-06-2009

    The Spring time photoshop composite you have found unfortunately is distorted and it doesn’t do justice to the work. Also what is missing is that the layered glass model was only done to study the light transmission. The white massing model is a further study that closer approximates the number of layers and the disposition of the angled panels of glass. The technical drawings that you are missing have been largess unpublished except for the crossection that was in the Concord Monitor article last year on April 26th. The Globe unfortunately did not publish adequate detail of the design. The NJ-AIA has two representative images of the design that represent more clearly the concept. You have to go to their website and click pull down menu for design day and click 2007 awards. Also the AIA-NH has a presentation board 20″x20″ traveling in an exhibit of the 2008 award winners somewhere in the state. You will have to contact the NH-AIA to find out the exhibit schedule. I believe you might be able to find more answers if you find the exhibit panel and read the text as well. Once you have more complete understanding of the design and its intent then I believe you will be able to broadcast a better personal opinion.
    Good Luck
    Francis Treves

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  3. Mary Carnahan
    Mary Carnahan05-12-2009

    Can’t we let the Old Man just rest in peace?

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