No the original lower floor levels. You know you went into Club Cool and walked down some steps? There used to be another six areas like that in CCore.
No worries, just put a strobe light on it. Fixed.A friend of mine was there yesterday and he said one of the prisms is already cracked and the other one has a huge chip...I think that part is below the wall line that we can current;y see in the posted pictures...
Which one was the one that had the "computers" where you had to arrange the stars and stripes within a certain amount of time? I spent hours doing thatThose areas were utterly fascinating to one young HauntedPirate.
Great... now I'm feeling the need to go watch your Communicore video.
The CommuniCore is not an example of Brutalism. There is almost no structural or tectonic expression which are hallmarks of the style. There are massive elements but the size of the columns is an aesthetic choice to match the depth of the long span trusses and not an accurate reflection of the structural steel columns.
As stand alone structures the CommuniCore buildings may not be the most engaging and striking works, but that is actually what makes them good design. The big loss with the CommuniCore demolition is not the buildings themselves but the spatial organization they provide. They were key components in a larger design. Future World had a hierarchy. They did not grab attention because they were not the focus, that belonged to the theme pavilions.
One of the major ways EPCOT Center differed from the Disneyland model is in its use of space. At Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom, buildings are arranged as space making objects but in EPCOT Center the pavilions exist as objects in space. Think of how an actual Main Street feels different than a strip mall even though they are both retail and dining aligned in a row. Objects in space easily become a disorienting mess of design because their is no order, no underlying system of design. EPCOT Center handled this by giving its objects an underlying organization, World Showcase rings the lagoon and Future World radiates out from the CommuniCore. Without labels or foreknowledge, a person looking at a map or aerial could understand that Future World and World Showcase are two distinct areas.
That clarity of design is what was being lost for the neighborhoods and the Festival Center. The Festival Center is/was a big flashy showpiece intended for similar programmatic uses as the CommuniCore was or could easily handle due to its open, adaptable design. The walkways wrapping over each other don’t serve a purpose beyond levels being cool, they don’t activate a vertically layered place. The neighborhoods are now three collections of buildings. There is no no underlying organization to any of them, with a hierarchy of movement and space. The content of the pavilions may be related by varying degrees but that is not expressed in the built environment and themed entertainment is storytelling through a built environment.
I think this is a really interesting key statement here, for a couple reasons.
The Communicore buildings, as has been mentioned, were not a Spaceship Earth, but is that a fair standard to judge them by? Casey's on Main Street is nice, but it's no Cinderella Castle - well, of course not, that's what Cinderella Castle is for. You can't complain that everything else isn't as iconic as your icon. The Palais de Chaillot at Trocadero isn't as grand as The Eiffel Tower . . . few things on earth are as grand as The Eiffel Tower, and the Palais was designed instead to frame the Tower. A compliment, not competition. I won't pretend the Communicore buildings are/were even as grand as the Palais de Chaillot, but they serve a similar function as a more understated framing of what is clearly the dominant structure in the landscape.
It has also already been said that they work to establish the structure of Future World, a place otherwise full of disparate buildings designed in disparate styles and dedicated to disparate concepts. A place like that needs some neutralizing structures that assert the order of the greater area. The Worlds Fairs would typically large central plazas that completed such tasks, but beyond them was frequently a hodge-podge of buildings and attractions all competing for your attention that didn't benefit from the structure because the fair lacked master planning. One of the great assets of EPCOT was that there was a unified collective planning the entire thing who could negotiate how all the buildings related to each other. The Communicore buildings offered a legible interlude between Spaceship Earth and all the other "out-there" designs of the Future World Pavilions. WE all know what the Imagination Pavilion is, but imagine confronting it for the first time in the middle of a vast expanse from where you can also see The Land, The Seas, the Energy Building, Mission: Space, Test Track . . . that's a lot of competing design and competing choices to take in at once, and would make Future World feel like an overwhelming expanse flanked in the round by "weird" buildings that are foreign to the language of architecture we usually encounter. Not only did the Communicore buildings offer a Steve-Jobs-level of intuitive design to Future World (you had 3 options - left, right, or straight through, and once you got there you had your pick of 3/4 Pavilions, or left towards Mexico vs right towards Canada) but they offered visual and conceptual buffers between the other structures in Future World. They broke it up into manageable bites.
The point about "if they were built today" is also interesting - I agree, for many reasons, that they are not the kind of buildings that would be built today, but there again we have to question whether or not that is an asset. The Communicore buildings were "baked into" the park from opening day because of all the needs they filled (one I've yet to mention - they were, actually, also an appealing attraction, if not on the scale of the other Pavilions). With new construction the onus is on it to actively draw more people to the park - well, infrastructural design isn't always flashy. Main Street is, of course, ornate, but infrastructurally it's one, straight road. It clarifies the space and activates guests in their entry to the park. Lots of parks have much more of a free-for-all orientation and it's almost impossible to renegotiate that after the park has opened - for all the money they spent redoing Disney's California Adventure, it's lousy layout is baked in and they can't overcome it without trashing significant portions of the park, which ain't happening. EPCOT has a FABULOUS layout (see above paragraph!) and is playing with fire. If they get this wrong the front half of the park will be a headache to navigate for the first time in its history - well, other than now with the construction walls - and it's really, really unlikely to come back from that. That Big White Table "looks cooler" than the Communicote buildings, but it doesn't tell you ANYTHING about where you are and how to get around there. I pray they get it right.
Which brings me to my last point . . . for now . . . the Communicore Buildings may not be show-stopping examples of Imagineering design, though I'd obviously argue that they are great ones on other terms, but I think part of the concern people now have about seeing them go is the question of whether or not today's Imagineering department can actually do better. The guys who designed EPCOT Center were absolute masters of their craft and created a new language of theme park that was bold and ambitious but worked and was consumable by guests. Imagineering's track record has faltered in the past 15-20 years, I'm sorry to say, and EPCOT has been a particularly sore spot. We've seen them replace pieces of the bridge and rarely have the results been wholly better than what was there before - now they're messing with the keystone of that bridge and I'm not sure they realize that. The park will survive, sure, it's not like people will stop going over these buildings specifically, but do we think they're actively solving the park's problems at its core or merely making change for the sake of change? Have they shown us evidence that they have a strong grip on what they want EPCOT to be? Imagineering can still do great work when they get a high-profile project with a healthy budget, but that's few and far between and not the EPCOT spine project. The issue with the Communicore buildings has never been the way they organize Future World, that has always worked wonderfully. The problem has really only ever been that what was inside them was disguised from guests' view and left to turn uninteresting. The obvious answer there is to rework the interior of the building - instead they've decided demolition is the answer. That says to me they don't understand the problem. You don't tear down your whole house because the kitchen isn't up to date. So even if the Communicore buildings aren't a Spaceship Earth-level design marvel, will they still manage to do better than what struggled as an attraction but worked as a foundational design element of the park from day 1? I'm skeptical.
I swear I told myself I wasn't going to let this turn into a dissertation . . .
TLDR: That the buildings aren't an obvious example of great Imagineering is actually a testament to how great they are, and I think people question the ability of today's Imagineering to do better because replacing them is a deceptively complex conceptual and infrastructural ask. All they had to do was leave them and put cooler new stuff inside . . . and maybe give them a new paint job while they're at it. *YEESH*, that color scheme . . .
Love this! Never thought of Communicore in that way, but you’re right. They set the stage and gave a sense of order to what was revealed. Honestly, after Communicore became Innoventions, I rarely stepped in to explore. It had lost something but I wasn’t sure what. Definitely the appeal was gone.THIS is what I love WDWMagic for. Thank you both for these thoughtful, and thought-provoking, responses to my post about the CommuniCore buildings.
I often explain to people how Disney's design is holistic, where things that don't seem to be significant in themselves are actually essential to the experience of moving through the space of a park. John Hench talked about Disneyland never giving people "too many" options, but rather, two or three at a time, followed by another two or three, etc., so it was never stressful or overwhelming.
However, I never really thought of the CommuniCore buildings as functioning like Disneyland's/MK's "hub," allowing for a limited set of directional decisions (Future World East, Future World West, or World Showcase). I can indeed see how their removal could turn the surrounding Future World pavilions into an overwhelming "visual clutter." This is indeed a problem, after all...
With all the uncertainty about what they’ll do with the Innoventions area, what will replace the bar stool on legs Festival centre etc, what is the current thinking on the FoN replacement fountain?
I can’t even remember what was planned before, was there any detailed concept art for it?