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Karen Perry-Anderson, West Fargo, Published September 14 2013

Letter: From an aesthetic perspective, a skyscraper is not the best fit

I am not against development and progress. I also think Kilbourne Group’s ideas for sharing space with the city and private businesses is a brilliant collaborative effort to provide an attractive and functional downtown for Fargo. I would like to expand on comments by Fargo City Administrator Pat Zavoral “to take a look at all the options.”

I am in the business of aesthetics, which means I observe things, take in information from many areas and make inferences based on beauty, function and sustainability. So here is my take on what I viewed when I sat down with The Forum on Sunday, Sept. 8. (“The next big thing”? Page One.)

We are North Dakotans, which means we are “horizontal” people. We are anchored to the land and view and feel things through the lens of that perspective.

My point is the proportion of that building does not fit with that temperament. It would be nice to see an architectural structure more fitting to “close to the ground where the people are.” This is not to say it has to be flat. There are ways of incorporating this idea and still fulfill the mission of filling the “gap” in the downtown area.

To have one of the selling points of the project as replacing the state Capitol as the highest building in the state is not a positive idea, again in my opinion. I like the idea that our Capitol has that distinction. It is what is cool and quirky about North Dakota. But if you want to use arguments of progress to explain why this structure needs to be taller than any other building in North Dakota, you should understand that skyscrapers provide function where space is at a premium.

While I understand the need to plan for future growth, if you do not have a waiting list of clients vying for the naming rights or bulk of the planned office space, then it may warrant another look at the design. Even if you do have all of those prospective clients in place and knowing how expensive it is to revise architectural renderings, please look again at the design.

Again I do not want to be anti-progress. The possibilities are exciting for creating a destination downtown area. The idea of walkways invigorating downtown Fargo in the winter is welcome. Just view the classic neon Fargo sign and use that vibe and feel as a guide when envisioning the future for downtown Fargo.