Deborah McQueen, Livermore
There is a famous line from the movie Forrest Gump, where Forrest states, "My mom always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." Anyone peering at the new downtown installation of Livermorium Plaza can empathize. Who would have imagined another water installation bubbling up from a black granite ball surrounded by cement block “benches” with two sizeable competing water fixtures?
Livermore's downtown was once a special place to go with a green space in front of Demitri’s, a green space next to Peet's with mature trees for shade, comfortable park benches, and two lovely fountains. Since Covid, they have ripped up all the grass, and the downtown has become a cluttered cement boozing ground. Livermorium Plaza is a lifeless tech installation you might find in front of a prominent San Jose corporate building and nothing matches. No architectural theme or artistic principle is guiding these downtown installations anymore. A block away is the "ugly to the bone" Legacy building, which also doesn't architecturally blend with anything around it. It's rumored that the L St. Garage will be an art deco style, and Eden Housing will be another colossal behemoth of more "mission-style" architecture. All this pastiche is being done in the name of "progress," says Marchand.
There are so many things wrong with the Livermorium Plaza that it would take an entire page to discuss them, but here are a few highlights expressed by citizens: "It’s not what I expected; there isn't any shade; the concrete blocks are too low, and there is no place to rest your back; it's ugly, and it was nicer before; the ball is too small, and now they have a sign – do not climb on the ball; the Livermorium Plaza sign is too large; the bare brick wall is ugly; everything is out of scale; wish it was more natural-looking; the choice of trees should have been willows with larger canopies and less messy; the owner of Locanda probably died and went to heaven; who will be the first to learn to moon-walk on top of the ball," etc.,
Standing at Livermorium Plaza, one's eyes search vainly for a focal point, only to scan the top of the Schenone building. Our dear United States flag and pole stand disengaged from their surroundings - or was that intentional?