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Messing with the master
From the Isthmus archives, July 20, 1990
Bud Arnold: 'Wright's inspiration is still there.'
Bud Arnold: 'Wright's inspiration is still there.'
Credit:Don Kerkhoff

Editor Marc Eisen's cover story, "Knowing Wright from Wrong," lays out the authenticity debate regarding the altered Frank Lloyd Wright design for a Lake Monona convention center. Among the proposed changes: eliminating a theater and stage house, adding a 23,000-square-foot banquet room, raising the exhibition hall ceiling from 20 to 32 feet, and dropping the overall profile to preserve the view of Lake Monona from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Wright biographer Robert Twombly says adapting the master architect's design for new use "violates the integrity of the original concept." Local engineer Bud Arnold argues, "Wright's inspiration is still there." Jack Holzhueter of the Wisconsin Historical Society is ambivalent: "In my heart I want them to build it because I love Wright. But in my mind I know the structure - no matter what they do - is going to be misleading." Construction begins in 1994, and Monona Terrace opens on July 18, 1997.

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