The inspiration for architectural adornment stumped one reader, but Dr. Know cleared things up in the December 2012 issue.
I’ve been told the tiara-like structure on top of the Great American Tower at Queen City Square was designed as a tribute to Princess Diana. Why? Does Cincinnati have some special connection to the late princess? —Architecturally Confused
Dear Confused:The association with the late Princess of Wales is as slim as the Duchess of Cambridge’s ankle. Irony-free architect Gyo Obata, faced with the task of camouflaging the usual collection of air-conditioning attachments and concurrently pressed by the ambitions of the project’s developers to exceed the height of the Carew Tower—the graciously long-reigning holder of the title of Tallest Building Between Wheeling and Evansville—found the solution in Cincinnati’s widely accepted status as the Queen City of the West and decided a coronation was in order. Apparently unable to find just what he was looking for in the jewel boxes of Queens Elizabeth, Margrethe, Sonja, Beatrix, or Noor, Mr. Obata took his design inspiration from a tiara belonging to the lower ranking but wildly popular Diana. So the bit of fluff at the top of the tower is not so much a tribute to a problematic princess as a ripoff of the work of an uncredited jeweler.
The senior member of the Doctor’s extended family, a Cincinnatian more than halfway through his 10th decade, refers to the Great American Tower at Queen City Square (and what a catchy and convenient handle that is, don’t you agree?) as “that building with the tea strainer on top of it,” failing to see the intended resemblance to any of the late Diana Spencer’s Big Night Out headgear. The Doctor, who is much older than you might imagine and has therefore seen far more television in his lifetime than is healthy, also has trouble grasping the Spencer connection, finding himself usually recalling Laraine Newman and Jane Curtin in their career-making performances as Coneheads.
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