Yesterday, AN got a first hand look at the Space Shuttle Endeavor resting inside its new home, the 18,000 square foot Samuel Oschin Pavilion at LA’s California Science Center. The verdict: go see it. No piece of architecture in recent memory has been as breathtaking as the shuttle.
The shuttle in its new home. (Sam Lubell)
There are so many reasons for its grandeur: its Herculean scale, its celebrity, the nostalgia factor, and the fact that it doesn’t look real. With its mismatched styrafoam-like tiles, space-aged gizmos and ports, and nose resembling a beak it looks like a giant toy. And that gives it a strange, endearing charm. But most of all is the reminder of the ambition that it represents. An ambition that in the world of architecture—with its bottom-line mentality, zoning codes, permits, and timid developers—is so often lost. Experiencing the shuttle is a profound experience that all architecture should strive to emulate. Even with its jumbled pieces and areas that appear to be held together with tape, this is a majestic vehicle. See it now.