I grew up in Tucson, Arizona, so anything desert makes me happy in a dry, dusty sort of way. Every time I go there for a visit, I find something to take pictures of. Last time I visited I found out the Tucson Creative Dance Center, home of Barbara Mettler Studios and a place I used to go as a small child because my mom was a member of their improvisational dance troupe, was holding an open house. They also needed photos for the foundation. Score! I love architectural photography! And I get to re-live my childhood, take awesome photos, and make a little money to boot. Life is good!
I love the design of Mettler Studio, and though Frank Lloyd Wright himself didn’t actually pen the drawings for it, John H. Howe did. Howe, a former apprentice of Wright’s at the Taliesin West studio, earned the reputation as “the pencil in Wright’s hand”. So a John H. Howe design is considered as good as a Frank Lloyd Wright design. Almost.
Regardless, it’s an amazing structure that’s starting to lose it’s flavor the more urban “improvement” in Tucson builds up around it. You see, it was designed to melt into the environment, which it did perfectly in 1963 when it was built because it was surrounded by the Arizona Sonoran Desert. But the more Tucson removes the desert in and around it, the more the studio stops looking like an amazing structure that’s been inspired by the land around it, and starts looking like a strange architectural experiment amongst normal buildings.
When Barbara Mettler died, she willed the desert land west of the studio to The Nature Conservancy who promptly bulldozed it and put in an office building. Huh? Yep, you heard right. A completely unnecessary building. With plenty of parking. Here’s a picture to show you that not even corporations who say they care about nature care about nature.
Bitter much? Yes. It makes me very, very sad to see the utterly avoidable destruction of our planet. And the fact that The Nature Conservancy (of all corporations, for God sake) would be given land and choose to build on it is unforgivable. They could’ve purchased one of the many available existing structures in Tucson and used the desert around the dance studio as an educational tool, or a park, or a godforsaken bird sanctuary, or anything that is not a large building with a parking lot.
#hipocrite #natureconservancy @nature_org
To read more of my less-ranty stuff, click here. If you need directions to my website, NJohnston Photography, try this link. If you’re The Nature Conservancy, please stop being yet another mindless corporation who’s sole purpose is to expand.