Balking at buildings

A design proposal for a new Olympic stadium to host the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. (Provided/Zaha Hadid Architects)

Charleston isn't the only place where new buildings cause a stir.

Yes, people cheered when Clemson withdrew its appeal to build an ultra-modern building at the corner of Meeting and George streets. But it was only a $10 million project down the tubes.

The Olympic stadium designed for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, which drew 500 protesters into the streets last summer, would cost $1.37 billion.

The Clemson building would have been just two blocks from the historic College of Charleston campus.

The Tokyo stadium is to be near an early 20th century shrine.

The Clemson building - particularly its southern exposure - was described as a large pair of lips.

The Tokyo building is being described as looking like a turtle and serving as a white elephant.

Charleston city fathers are so concerned about the quality of new buildings that they agreed to hire Andres Duany to assess the situation and recommend ways to improve the process of approving buildings.

Mr. Duany has an international reputation for city planning. That might come in handy, as it seems that new buildings are a universal challenge.