ruminations about architecture and design

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

the myth of durability (part III)

After I finished the post from yesterday I realized that I had already written about the myth of durable architecture in a previous post. Fortunately, there is still a lot to talk about.
Let me re-state the general hypothesis:

Durable, stone architecture is commissioned by elites for their benefit. The majority of people live in rural poverty and are conscripted for monumental projects to satisfy the ego of the elites.

The impoverished masses may take great pride in the monumental icons of the ruling classes. In fact, subsequent generations may revere these symbols as a source of national identity and not dwell on the misuse of resources and horror associated with their construction. This deception is reinforced by historians and architects who look on these monuments as the signature of a culture. Rinse, repeat....

Wattle and daub construction has definite limitations--as does its modern equivalent--wood, stick framing. Stewart Brand claimed that "he who builds with wood, builds a shack." But Stewart fails to specify a timeline and he fails to mention that basic maintenance can keep a shack going for a long time to the great satisfaction of multiple generations of occupants.

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