The silver metallic Marina Condominiums development that looms over Lake Monona features a distinctive design by Madison architect Kenton Peters that resembles a bright student's geometry demonstration that towering cylinders and large square boxes can indeed be forced to coexist. Not everyone is wild about Kenton Peters' work, but at least people know the name of the architect, which is more than can be said of many of Madison's condo projects. From a Capital Times story about reader feedback on local architecture that appeared in June of 2005, before the development was finished:
"Rubes," a Web forum participant said. "The Marina looks like a corrugated cardboard warehouse, or maybe even a correctional institution with the bars extending around the balconies. Too bad we can't do like Lodi and remove the Plan Commission members for approving this disaster."Two years later, the mayor is newly reelected, the building is done, the windows are in, and more than a few are dark. And, curiously, the name of the man who committed architecture is not mentioned anywhere on the Marina Condominiums promotional website.
But the building had some fans.
Teresa Sanders wrote that she was "falling very much 'in like' with the tin can condos on Wilson."
Carol Kincaid, while rapping Peters' Union Transfer condos on East Wilson, confessed, "I have to admit I kind of like his Marina condos up the street, at least from what I can tell so far."
Again Mayor Cieslewicz rose to the defense.
"I think Kenton Peters gets unfairly maligned because he is trying to commit architecture," he said. "I admire the fact that he takes chances, that he's got a strong vision. Some of his buildings are failures and some of them work. I don't like his federal courthouse. But I like those tubes out in Warner Park, and I like the 848 building, the silver building on University Avenue. And I think Marina Place is shaping up.
"It's unfair to judge a building before the windows are in and before it's done."