Versus Ugly Infrastructure and Useless Monuments

Every reputable blog has been posting these amazing mockups for Choi and Shine Architects’ The Land of Giants project.   Such images instantly evoke that gut feeling of ‘why the hell haven’t we been doing this all along?’ The chronicle of the infrastructure achievements of the 20th century will surely include the phrase ‘done on the cheap’.  Whereas once public works were a canvas for artisans and a symbol of the munificence of the rulers who ordered their construction, rarely has something functional been built in the modern age that has been a delight to behold.  Functionality with minimal adornment has been the  norm, replacing craftsmen with workers and leaving the most grand and inspiring of plans on the drawing board or, at best, the pages of architecture journals. Bursts of public beauty can be found in the trend across cultures to invest in monuments, often in remembrance of people or […]

Colossi on the Brain

For whatever reason, I’ve been stuck thinking about massive statues of the human form lately.  I think a great deal of the enduring appeal of colossal humanoid statues is some kind of innate human tendency toward idolatry.   Somewhere in these crazy primate brains there’s a fixation on the idea of directly building a god. Is this how termites feel about building their mounds?  Do honeybees approach their hives with the same fascination we feel when catching a glimpse of the 305 ft Statue of Liberty?  Maybe if it was a functional structure… One of the most compelling visions of colossi as infrastructural elements would be the nearly unwatchable 1997 movie Batman & Robin.  Waiting for the next scene to feature a sixteen story colossus holding up a winding highway overpass was all that kept me from walking out of that one. Odd that supervising art director Richard Holland doesn’t appear […]