I may be bungling the biography here, but from what I know of Tom, I seem to have found a key to understanding why he does what he does. In my view, it goes back to the summer of 1974 when he was headed to an archaeological dig in Turkey and traveled there by means of his first BMW motorcycle, direct from the factory in Munich.
That trip became an architectural pilgrimage that culminated in Sinan’s Selimiye Mosque, where Tom seems to have been inspired to the belief that humanly-built space could generate awe, intimate the infinite, imitate the cosmos. I think the expression of that architectural possibility has been part of his quest all along, but finds its ultimate expression in EMRCA.
With this project, he seeks to create a whole world in miniature, an enveloping universe to enchant the mind and the senses, a simulacrum of the built and natural environment on a scale that both dwarfs and immerses the viewer. This is modelmaking at maximum impact, the melding of theme-park sensorium with museum-quality thoughtfulness.
This attraction would unquestionably be unique in the world, and if North Adams is lucky enough to become the location of this miniature world, the world at large will certainly come. It would literally become a place of secular pilgrimage.