A shot from some dystopian movie? Photo collage? Just a fantasy? No, no, and no. It's real.
Those who write biased reviews of the "totalitarian architecture" usually ignore this structure. Probably because it stands too far from their eyes. But where? And who's on the top - Ataturk, Chairman Mao or some Latin American hero?
Well, too much questions. If there's anybody from Oregon or at least someone who has been to Salem, the state capital, she/he should be laughing now. The "totalitarian" marble building topped with the golden sculpture is the Oregon State Capitol, built in 1938.
There was a lot of discussions around the location and design of the new building. Governor proposed a new site, far from downtown. Another proposal called for the relocation of the state Legislature to the University campus. Local businessmen for obvious reasons opposed - and succeeded in securing the 'historic' location.
Oregonians were not too eager to accept the design. The most controversial was the 166-feet dome with its unusual modernist appearance. They said it resembled a paint can or a squirrel cage. The public could give the new Capitol much warmer reception if it was topped by a conventional dome. Nevertheless, the design has not been altered.
It's quite interesting that the Capitol building in Salem bears more than a passing resemblance to the Moscow Palace of Soviets(several times redesigned, widely advertised, never built). With all the differences one can clearly see that both buildings have a statue on the top of cylindrical structure - breathtakingly high in Moscow, modest and matter-of-fact in Oregon. Probably it is just a coincidence, but you never can tell...
And instead of footnote: the statue atop of the Capitol is not a monument to any particular person, but just a symbolic figure of Oregon Pioneer sculpted by Ulrich Ellerhusen who also created sculptures for another state Capitol (it will be featured here, too).
Images: Wikimedia Commons; Color photos by M.O. Stevens and Andrew Nealon