Municipal Mummification

Imagine sitting at home when suddenly the sky goes white. Not that shadowless white-without-limit where cloud meets mist on a winter morning. But a whiteness with a grid of reinforcements and repeating logos which stops a few yards from the front of your face. And arrives heralded by the whistling of scaffolders.

It's no surprise then to see this debris net sliced open to let the outside world back in. Windows formed by angry individuals snipping and chopping from the inside out. Desire for the exterior world bursting from within like an alien baby in John Hurts stomach.

The temporary municipal mummification inspires an architecture that's domestic and violent. The breadknife slashes in the scaffold wrap are the result of building management in conflict with the quiet domestic lives it is intended to support.

Its the fall out of a problem, and problems are often beautiful. Imagine skyscrapers shrouded in plastic cut to filigree ribbons as fine as an Agent Provocateur stocking top.

But of course all those holes would defeat the health and safety objective of stopping lethal bits of building falling onto the streets below.

An alternative approach would be to use design to negotiate the conflict. Try the pat. pending Strangeharvest Debris Net. Using some of the worlds best windows - gothic rose windows, asymmetric coloured La Tourette panels, the frosted scrolls of a Dickensian pub - laser cut from polythene sheet and heat-bonded patchwork of mesh opaque and translucent panels.

Apartment blocks would assume new guises during their renovation. Modish like clothes. Special like wrapped presents. Cocoons which celebrate the process of refurbishment, from behind which emerge beautiful reconditioned buildings blinking into the bright sunlight.

Posted by sam at August 24, 2004 11:23 PM

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