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Header: Jess Anderson in Madison Wisconsin
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Madison: Monona Terrace Convention Center
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Monona Terrace from the air
April, 1997, about three months before the grand opening

Just after dawn on a suffocatingly sultry July morning, one week after the grand opening, I went to the deserted site and took the photos below. You can get the full-size picture by clicking on the small one. [Loading the thumbnail images takes a few seconds.]

{icon} A bike path runs around the entire 12-mile perimeter of Lake Monona. Here, it's about to reach the new building, where it will curve out to the right, beneath the just-visible imposing five-story facade, which faces the water. [21K jpg]
{icon} At the opposite end, looking back from a fishing pier. Spiral ramps at either end of the building give access to the parking deck, which hangs over a four-lane road and a railroad track that lie between Monona Terrace and the steep embankment beneath various State Office Buildings and other former shoreline structures. [24K jpg]
{icon} The normal pedestrian access to Monona Terrace is from the Capitol side, along this walkway spanning the parking deck and reaching the building's main entrance on the 4th floor. One story up, reached by ramps on either side, is a very nice rooftop terrace, which affords a grand view ahead over Lake Monona or back toward the Capitol. [30K jpg]
{icon} From the rooftop terrace (I was astounded to find a gate standing open so I could get up there), looking northwest toward the State Capitol. The saucer-shaped thing with a dome light in the middle will eventually be a fountain; there wasn't enough money in the original budget to complete it. The roof terrace is quite a large space; at the grand opening, it was jammed with special guests (including your perspiring scribe) waiting to see a laser lightshow. [27K jpg]
{icon} Looking under the wide overhang at the main entrance toward one of the long ramps leading up to the rooftop terrace. Wright would have hated that window treatment, I'm sure. [30K jpg]
{icon} There are a lot of very long straight lines, despite the many curving masses of the building. The spherical luminaires would be great, were it not for the hideous blue-green arc lights they contain. I can't imagine Wright not insisting on incandescent lighting, since he always favored warmer colors. [36K jpg]
{icon} View northeast showing a parking-deck ramp, a security cop descending who apparently didn't see me. [38K jpg]

Other web sites provide a wealth of information about the building, its history, and all manner of related subjects. Especially fruitful ones are:

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