ruminations about architecture and design

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

it was built once

How's that line go: "The technology of an advanced civilization is indistinguishable from magic." The actual quote by Arthur C. Clarke is slightly different, but I'm not big on accuracy. I'm offering a corollary to that sentiment: "The architecture of the present is indistinguishable from fantasy."

Emirates Airlines has been running big ads on MBTA trains in an effort to drum up tourism to the strange city built on nothing in the desert. I find renderings like the one above particularly eerie because they actually exceed the ambitions of many fantasy illustrators. I can picture Fritz Lang, transported by time machine, wandering the streets of this metropolis. I'm not sure how impressed he would be. At ground level grandeur has a way of fading. Hot winds blow trash from side of the street to the next, cars are stuck in traffic, people walk with purpose, and the sun causes all the bright colors to fade into nothing.

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