[screenshot of Fringe via fringepedia (already? really?)]
Last night saw the official premiere of J.J. Abrams’ new series, Fringe (which was completely awesome by the way), but any architectural savvy television viewers who saw a “sneak peak” —authorized or otherwise—may have been surprised to see the work of a very familiar architect displaced from Toronto to New York City. The mysterious uber-corporation in Fringe, Massive Dynamic, had apparently built their headquarters right down the street from the Empire State Building in a structure that, as originally included in the pilot episode, can’t be mistaken for anything other than a Daniel Libeskind-inspired design. But it’s more than just inspired! It’s an exact replica of Libeskind’s Royal Ontario Museum.
The fake-company has also used the building in their fake-website logo. Life Without Buildings fully endorses the fictional use of unbuilt architecture but come on Mr. Abrams! The pilot for your new TV show cost $10,000,000. Did you really need to copy an existing building? We know how well that worked out for Terry Gilliam. There are no unbuilt projects in the annals of Contemporary Architecture (assuming Contemporary Architecture has annals) that could have been used? Although it was probably a wise move to replace the recognizable structure with a more generic building in the final cut, for that kind of money maybe Fringe could’ve hired someone to…oh, I don’t know…come up with an original design! An aspiring young architecture firm, perhaps?
Television shows and movies should start holding architecture competitions inviting young firms to design fictional buildings. Can someone in LA start working on that please?