The Pyramid, the most dramatic building on the Memphis skyline, and second only to Knoxville’s Sunsphere as an icon of Tennessee modern architecture, is being mothballed by the city of Memphis.
When the Memphis Grizzlies NBA team came to town, they insisted on a new arena, one with sky boxes and other means by which to extract money from patrons. Thus came about the FedEx Forum. The University of Memphis, whose teams played basketball in The Pyramid, soon lusted for the newer arena, and usage of the third largest pyramid in the world dropped. The staff and utilities of The Pyramid cost $1.2 million per year, a figure that mothballing will cut by half.
According to the Commercial Appeal, Memphis and and the county still owe $33.8 million on The Pyramid. Here’s hoping a good use can be made of the building, but I fear this is a more likely scenario: maintenance will be cut, the building will fall into disrepair, and within 10 years it will be gone.
What’s ironic about all this is that Pyramids–the stone ones in Egypt–are famous for lasting for thousands of years. The one in Memphis will be lucky to make it to 25 years.