The arrogance of architecture: Graspierre and Laksa’s Afterlife of Buildings

0 Posted by - May 25, 2009 - Blog, Design

1631There is a kind of hubris we share about time.  We often forget to remember the future.  How we treat the environment is one obvious example – our unclever depletion of fresh water supplies.  Or oil.  We trade away futures in part because we can’t see them.

Contemporary architecture, according to Nicolas Graspierre and Kobas Laksa, must shoulder some of the blame for this shortsightedness. Our cityscapes are pocked with glistening edifices, a little like arrogant jewels in a crown, so shiny and new they seem like the future itself.

The Afterlife of Buildings by Nicolas Graspierre and Kobas Laksa hungrily kobalaksa13challenges both architectural arrogance and our reluctance to admit some of the less attractive consequences of our ways.  Originally conceived for the 11th International Architectural Exhibition in Venice 2008, this second installation takes six new high-profile buildings in Poland and transforms each into palimpsests of urban use.  The images are playful and thought provoking.  There is something about how we render urban space over time – how the ways we use it intensify, densify and ultimately transform everything we build into decaying clutter – that humbles even the most ostentatious moments of  financial celebration.

The full exhibition can be viewed online.

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