Yes, that’d be the house that rocks built. Look close.
Since first coming across that delightful term ‘narcotecture’, I’ve had an eye out for examples of how drug lords are playing Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in their fiefdoms. Here’s some clicky things with minimal commentary:
-P.J. Tobia’s photos from Kabul. Highlights: a ‘For Rent’ sign on one (‘Roommate wanted. Must like cooking base and Wii Tennis tournaments.’) and what appears to be the headquarters of the Green Lantern Corps.
-RE: Columbia’s white powdery boom years:
The business brought fast and easy money to a hungry society and the money brought power. Those who had it flaunted it and a whole new aesthetic bulldozed its way into Medellin, spreading out across the world.
El-Cartel investigates this aesthetic and defines ‘Narcotecture’.
Plus a blurry MPEG of some nightlit narco-ruins. Warning: site comes complete with a barking dog on the main page for some reason. Taste is the enemy of narcotecture, after all.
-C-Monster gives a quick tour of Miami ‘narchitecture’, defining it thusly:
Narchitecture is the pit bull of architecture. It grabs you by the (eye) balls and doesn’t let go, marrying a bevy of Mediterranean styles—neo-Classical, Spanish Revival and Fascist—with the vernacular American school known as Contemporary McMansion. The structures are big, overly-decorous and unabashedly gaudy, and, in their placement, show a complete disregard for their environment.
Apt. Swap in some more-favored styles–Persian, comic book, Bond vilian–and that could work just as well in Afghanistan.
-A cool little story about savoring beer and pork sausages in Afghanistan with interludes of discussing navigation by narcotectural landmarks. Fella named Gregory Warne knows a good butcher in Kabul, apparently.
-On a tangent, here’s BLDGBLOG’s excellent post ‘Geology in the War on Terror‘. Remember the giddy thrills of diagram porn when every major news outlet was churning out those drawings of Bin Laden’s secret mountain caves of evil? One can assume that at least one opium baron saw that, looked at his own digs and got thinking about a Pashtun playboy’s life in a location more defensible. Say inside a mountain. One can only wait for the day when that guy pops up on the narco lifestyle channel equivalent of Cribs.
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Beyond narcotecture, I’d be interested to study up on the sort of public goods, communication, transportation and facilities that either result from the drug trade or are built by public image conscious drug lords. A study of ‘narcostructure’ if you will.