Evil:Architecture

September 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

Imposing – Sarcastic – Arrogant }{ Imperialist – Villain – Lair 

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Evil is really interesting to me, to us. Where does it come from? How do we see it coming? What do we do when it arrives? And what does evil really look like?  Movies and literature try to help us, as does architecture.  And much like what I find tidbits in, these  disciplines link themselves in a nice complimentary package.

Skyfall – the latest James Bond movie – had a villain that was pure evil.  Coming from good intent, and working to achieve it, ultimately resulted in the creation of a corrupt character.  The villain, Raul Silva, made his lair (such an evil word) on a fictional ghost island off Macau.  There, the concrete buildings beautifully tattered, he began his genius plan of killing and terrorizing the world.  Besides the incredible amount of new technology Raul inserted into the buildings,  the homes and work places were simply cavities of past use. They were homes and work places without the new paint. 

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Homes by a simple turn of time and neglect inspired a lair.  I found it telling of a small root to evil – negligence and father time.  And following a theme, what best to see negligence and father time than in the built environment which travels through the generations of society. Time makes for forgetting and negligence makes for ignoring – both places evil can find fertile soil.

The island was loosely based on an island off Japan – Hashima Island – and it’s story is really nothing “lair”-ish. A mine created the town, the market fell for the mine’s content, and the people left the town.  Pretty simple. There is really nothing evil about the island, it’s a benign little place where people can now slowly wander around on metal gangways and snap pictures of some long lost civilization. What filthy evil that is.

What I’m concluding to is – tear it down or walk around it. If we tear it down we had to have found the villain, but if we walk around it – well – maybe we’re not so uneasy with a little evil.

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A Few Natures of {Movie} Destruction

July 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Destruction is quick, it’s sublime, and it’s final. Perfect for entertainment. Perfect for a symbolic overture of humanity’s beauty and frailty.

I dig architecture, which is usually a creative endeavor. Architecture, to me, is a collective effort of millions and millions of people over long periods of development and realization (just look at Gaudi’s  Familia Sagrado). I believe architecture is about the cultural development, rather than the end result work. Architecture is, watered down, the most visible expression of what the culture that made it believes and wants to expound on the future.  Destruction is the undoing of this. The architect may get credit, but the de-architect gets the glory. Because of the labor it takes to create, the destruction of architecture appears as the easiest point to the symbolic, and possible actual, ending of a civilization. Creation of such complex tangible forms is arduous, slow, and intentional, destruction is easy, fast, and very intentional.

I just finished watching a preview for the new Transformers movie that came out recently. I won’t see unless it pulls up on a television screen in the next four years.  It’s a trailer chuck full of fast articulated machines ravaging the familiar city of New York in the name of a war where humanity is doomed to be wiped away.  I’m pretty sure we’ll pull it out at the end… relying on our buddies and our intangible “human nature and unpredictability” to continue and exist. It’s not really a new idea, in fact it’s extremely boring. What seems to be going for as new is the amount and speed humanity can be wiped away with.  CGI is incredible, plain and simple. When I saw Independence Day, when they blew up not only the White House, but the Chrysler Building I thought I had seen the peak of what it means to create and build cities….. it meant for them to be blown up.  Reality of destruction, such as the Twin Towers or the CN building fire, lacks the flare only suped up camera angles and slow motion high pixel feeds can provide. The fact these alien aggressors know our most valued icons of built structure is beyond me, maybe they read the same books we do, but these aliens might try a new approach – like taking out the Corn Palace in Mitchell, or invading Des Moines.

Regardless as to where the destruction occurs, it’s a bread and butter visual for everything humanity fears. People fear the death of individuals, society fears the death of it’s architecture – I know this because it’s was in 2012, and Godzilla, and The War of the Worlds.

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