Tuesday, September 12, 2006

CowParade: Cow Lloyd Wright

Cow Lloyd Wright
Location: Law Park, near Monona Terrace
Artist: Ben Bauman
Sponsor: The Capital Times

This is the third and last of the Law Park herd, named for famed architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Many buildings in and around Madison were designed by Wright, including the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, which only took 60 years to build. Not kidding. My Dad remembered them debating the building of the center way back when he was a kid in the 30s. Though it was finished four years before he died, I don’t think Dad ever actually saw the Convention Center, since by that time he rarely went anywhere near downtown.

The original plan proposed in 1938 included a depot, marina, courthouse, city hall, and auditorium – all connected to a community park along the shores of Lake Monona. The idea of a community civic center on the lakefront property would arise and be defeated numerous times over the years. In 1955, the people of Madison selected Wright as architect for an auditorium, which he later said meant more to him than any other award. In 1990, Wright’s plan was resurrected yet again, and two years later voters approved of building the Monona Terrace on the same site Wright proposed. In 1994 construction finally began on the convention center.

Though the overall design concept is purely Wright’s, the inside was redesigned to suit more modern times, and includes meeting rooms, an exhibition hall, an auditorium and banquet halls. A beautiful rooftop garden crowns the project, and is the new home of the Otis Redding Memorial, which previously sat in Law Park where the Monona Terrace now stands. Redding died when his plane crashed into Monona Bay during a snow storm. A bicycle/walking path snakes between glass front of the building and the lake shore, and the park spread out on either side is a popular spot for fishing – summer or winter.

Monona Terrace Timeline
Monona Terrace at a Glance

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