People often use Disneyland as a synonym for the facile, shallow, and fake. It just doesn’t wash: This incredibly energetic collection of environmental experiences offers enough lessons for a whole architectural education in all the things that matter- community and reality, private memory and inhabitation, as well as technical lessons in propinquity and choreography.
-Architect Charles Moore
The City Observed: Los Angeles
What an awesome statement.
I am an avid (and sometimes rabid) armchair architect. In our Meet Our Neighbor section, we ask what Disney employee you would want to trade places with and my first thought is Wing Chao. Before recent promotions, Wing was executive vice president, Master Planner, Architecture and Design for Walt Disney Imagineering. Basically, he has had his hand in every major building decision: land use, hiring architects, approving designs and overall master planning.
When I read the statement from Mr. Moore, I marvel at how much he says about Disneyland with just two sentences. He infers that Disneyland is, perhaps, one of the greatest shared architectural and social experiences of our time. Although Mr. Moore is talking about architecture, specifically, he does lead us down the slope (willingly) that Disneyland is more than just a theme park. It is an encapsulation of architectural styles from around America, Europe, the Pacific and the future (sort of). When we visit Disneyland, we can relate to parts of it: small-town America (home), Fantasyland (far-flung European motifs–and cherished films), Adventureland (the great unknown and excitement), Tomorrowland (the big city and exhilaration) and Frontierland (the old West).
There is something there for everyone. You can take whatever you want from the park, figuratively, of course. Oh, yeah. Disneyland is art–and simply amazing architecture!