Why the Ralph McQuarrie-inspired USS Discovery is an incredible design

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Discovery' started by INACTIVEUSS Einstein, Feb 19, 2017.

  1. jaime

    jaime Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Actually I quite like it. It's an interesting streamlining of the TMP enterprise for the most part, and even the nacelles grew on me. We have three versions of it in our house. I particularly like the navigational deflector. Me liking it or not is irrelevant to how it was used by the producers of the films though. I may actually like it more than the EE.
     
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  2. Captain of the USS Averof

    Captain of the USS Averof Commodore Commodore

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    Shouldn't that be a small duck suffering from Megalencephaly? With its tiny body and its ginormous head? No? Carry on then. :ouch:
     
  3. Molech-ular

    Molech-ular Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hey--like the secondary hull--even if the saucer looked a bit chunky.

    When I first saw the Ent-D--I didn't like it.
    I thought the secondary hull was too small--and that it looked top-heavy.

    But I miss seeing it every week. It just took awhile to love it.
     
  4. Cosmic Consciousness

    Cosmic Consciousness Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I had a similar reaction. The Ent-D looked to me at first like an ugly duckling. But now it looks like a beautiful swan.

    The saucer isn't circular, and the neither does the inhabited part of the stardrive section have cylindrical symmetry around its main axis. Both of these things are unlike the original NCC-1701. Once I got past looking at the Ent-D like an Ent that had been stepped on, I started appreciating just how great the Ent-D looks, especially from certain angles like in the two main stock beauty shots from below starboard fore and below starboard aft.
     
  5. Dry Bones 37

    Dry Bones 37 Admiral Admiral

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    I still don't like the Ent-D, but I could at least appreciate it in motion. The Discovery design might do similarly once it's in motion on screen.
     
  6. mos6507

    mos6507 Commodore Commodore

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    There's something about the soft edges of the Enterprise-D that kind of scream out "political correctness". I don't mean that as a put-down, but when I see that ship I can't help but envision countless quiet hand-wringing sessions in the conference room about one moral quandry after another.

    This is why the Enterprise-E feels somehow less TNG-like, because it was made to be a sort of a ferrari-esque battleship, not the pregnant cruise-ship look of the E-D. The E is better looking but somehow ill-fitting for the TNG ethos.

    So while the D isn't my favorite Enterprise it does symbolize the TNG era best, hence it has to be seen as iconic.
     
  7. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I love the Discovery design! Seriously can't wait to see it in action :)
     
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  8. jamestyler

    jamestyler Commodore Commodore

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    ^ Not to deviate too far off topic, but.... yes. I love the Church version, I dont mind the beating it took - but I wasn't keen on how it was 'filmed', from half the ship cut off in the reveal, to the swooping shots of Lin (in a gorgeous sequence though).

    Gorgeous design, but there wasn't much time to take it all in. Discovery going back to TV should have plenty more room to play with, but I'm not sure the design has that many great angles....
     
  9. Molech-ular

    Molech-ular Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It is whale-like and Green that way.
     
  10. TonyC

    TonyC Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Where I am, the KT merch was in clearance aisles before the film left second run dollar theatres. No one seemed to want it, I have the BK glasses, and the BK happy meal/kids meal set of the toys, that's it. People will spend $$ on what they like, and they still like figures and models, etc. of the TOS era.
     
  11. INACTIVEUSS Einstein

    INACTIVEUSS Einstein Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    So, we now have what is probably the final design. It has been well received, with a few minor changes. I'm glad they didn't throw out too much, because I loved the concept - I was worried that the original backlash from people who mistook the hasty teaser for a final FX shot would scare them into making something more conventional, along the lines of the USS Shenzhou. I'm glad it didn't.

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    Some people felt that the original design wasn't graceful, because, perhaps, it lacked the organic shapes and smooth curves of the First Contact/Insurrection/Nemesis era of ship design. But for me, that was the appeal of the concept. All the ships up until the Enterprise D used more industrial or NASA-like shapes, and so a design that looked industrial and bulky fit with the pre-TOS era perfectly (it would have fit even better around the Motion Picture era alongside the refit Enterprise and Reliant - that is where the designs originally came from - the 1970s - but works really well pre-TOS too due to this proximity - it could easily have come from closer to the USS Kelvin's era).

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    It sort of reminds me of modernist architecture, like the Salk Institute building pictured below, designed by Louis Kahn and created in 1960. I guess that I think the idea of modernism is plain and rational - for the first time, architects had materials that were more advanced than anything the Greeks or Romans had possessed - such as steel reinforced concrete, etc - they had no need to follow tradition or historical styles like gothic or classical. Maybe they could take the basic concepts or aesthetics from Greek philosophy like the Golden Ratio, and make something entirely new. Likewise in science fiction, starships have often deliberately been shown as rational tools, to evoke the changes in material science that would bring such an amazing voyage to bear - decorative only in so far as their geometry is beautiful, with their utility and purpose pleasingly plain for people to admire - it suggests objective truth, science, empiricism, deductive reasoning.

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    If you look at the ship the USS Discovery is named in honor of, it embodies this concept. The Discovery One from 2001: A Space Odyssey has no aerodynamic traits whatsoever - needless ornamentation in a vacuum - it is purely rational in shape - therefore signalling to the audience that this is a science fiction that wants to evoke the Apollonian realism of a NASA deep space mission, rather than fighter jets in space. The USS Discovery NCC-1031 looks like something assembled in space, for use in space.

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    An even more extreme example of the industrial approach to sci-fi is the USCSS Nostromo from Alien - a starship so industrial, that it looks like an oil refinery in space - maybe not fitting with Star Trek's aesthetic, leaning toward the gothic, but again lacking any aerodynamics or racing profile.

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    So the 70s shape, like a classic VCR or video games console, was very appealing to me for the very reason that it was so utilitarian and unadorned compared to say the Enterprise E, which begins to look like something made for use in an atmosphere, or underwater.
     
  12. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    Good points. But if we are comparing to architecture, then to my eye, the Discovery kind of crosses the line from streamlined, elegant modernism, into the realm of the harsher "brutalism" of the Soviet type.

    Kor
     
  13. INACTIVEUSS Einstein

    INACTIVEUSS Einstein Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    There were all sorts of brutalist buildings constructed in British cities, and in other countries, around the 60s and 70s - when university campuses and government buildings experimented with the style. For a while the public fell heavily out of favor with it, but they are now often treated as heritage architecture and preserved.

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    But to me, looking at some examples of brutalism, the Discovery doesn't go quite that far - it's less fortress-like, and more like a modernist campus or something - I think the theory behind brutalist architecture was to show and lay bear the structural features of a building - raw concrete, support structures, etc, to unhide it's rational underpinnings, for the public to see the underlying material principles that made the building, maybe educate them that way - which I guess is what sci-fi tries to do too when it goes for designs like the Discovery One - its just a spaceship is made out of space age alloys and plastics, rather than concrete, so they tend to look clean and white. But I feel Discovery looks more like this example of modernist architecture I saw on Wikipedia:

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    The saucer, which seems to have the gaps deliberatly to let the crew have more windows, is pretty elegant looking I think. Indeed, we actually see a few Federation structures that look modernist, on Earth and Deneba - in the background sometimes in Picard's era, we see alien planets use modernism a lot - I guess because it isn't culturally specific.
     
  14. Tuskin38

    Tuskin38 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I recognize that house, I think someone recreated it in the source engine, lol
     
  15. Jesse1066

    Jesse1066 Captain Captain

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    Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater.
     
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  16. Psion

    Psion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yep. I've been there a couple times. It's lovely, of course, and full of interesting notions. Like glass windows at right-angles to each other that meet seamlessly (and leak). And the uneven, natural granite flooring meant that normal four-legged chairs would always be unbalanced. So the chairs have three legs ... and easily spill anyone seated in them.

    New ideas often bring with them unforeseen difficulties.
     
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  17. Serveaux

    Serveaux Tasteless and unnecessary Premium Member

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    Impracticalities that are characteristic of Wright's designs - which are breathtaking nonetheless.
     
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  18. Psion

    Psion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I completely agree.
     
  19. JRoss

    JRoss Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    As much as I hated the first reveal of the ship, I really, really like the redesign. The only issue with that poster is that the port nacelle is somewhat skewed. This is just fantastic. Looks like a sports car.
     
  20. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I love it! The clean lines, the ringed saucer, the sweep of the pylons. It's such a great departure from the TNG aesthetic that, whilst I love it, needed a shake-up. This feels different and plausibly older than the TOS-E in a way the NX-01 never quite managed.

    I hope it has a suitably modernist interior, rather than the Apple Store look from JJ's Enterprise. It's a great opportunity for some seventies-inspired industrial design.