10 June 2010

Modern Façades Today, Now #001


Damage fetishism

Thanks to esteemed colleague Mr Buhr, who kicks off this new SLAB Collection with the above photo he recently submitted. This series will probe the challenging aesthetic dimension of damage in modern façade design, and in doing so will debunk the authority of the surface in contemporary architecture. It will also be good for a whole bunch of laughs.

Let’s go at this one layer for layer. First there’s the smeggy, cream-cheese surface treatment; the exterior equivalent of Anaglypta wallpaper and just as soul destroying. Below this a chalky crust of hardened powder has been adhered to a flimsy aluminium mesh, underneath which everything becomes rather obscene looking. I should imagine that the mud-encrusted anus of a Merino sheep is not dissimilar in appearance.

Judging by the subtle dent in the blue metal surface, this is probably a door frame which has been rear-ended by some motor vehicle or other. Either that, or someone tried to jimmy their way in with a crowbar, not bargaining on a marshmallow-soft façade as fulcrum. The resulting scar is a vulgar reminder of what is keeping modern homo-sapiens safe from the elements, and poses the question of whether or not we are happy for our most visible of art forms to appear as if it has been congealed rather than composed.

Modern Façades Today, Now