Thursday, January 31, 2008

Let's See, Where Was I? Oh Yes, The Inhumanities Building

Picking up where I left off over a month ago...

(Where was I, you ask? Let's just say that after the semester I had, I needed a month of beer, smoked meats, live music, family and friends and not riding a bus all day. I would have written about what I was up to academically, but it was mostly more Thomas Hobbes and pretending to learn Latin, which is where I drew my intellectual line. I also would have written about all of the political mishegoss that is going on but, well, what does it matter which group of lunatics runs the asylum next. I have never voted for a winner yet and I have no intention of starting now. We have a whole year of that ahead of us yet. Oh well, on with the commentary already in progress)

I would update you on the situation but, sadly, there is little new to report. The holes are still in the roof, the thin layer of film (while not asbestos-laden, apparently) still comes back every few days, the hall is still stacked with various mold-encrusted acoustic tiles and the workmen
have not been seen in more than a month.

So, there's that.

If this building seems to have all of the problems that were endemic to Soviet housing projects of the, well, entire sorry Soviet period, why would anyone want to keep this thing around?

Not surprisingly, the preservationist charge is led by art critics.

They say that this 1968 design by architect Harry Weese is a great example ofb Brutalist architecture. This style is everything it's name implies. Stark lines, confusing floor plans, imposing vistas and concrete. Lots and lots of concrete.

They argue that this building, because of these, ahem, merits must be saved, use and users be damned.

O.K. I'll buy that with one stipulation.

All of those who want it saved can come and set up shop in the building for one whole year completely free of charge. I guarantee that within a few months, they might change their tune(perhaps the Music department buried in the bowels of the beast could help them with this?)

If the built environment cannot change with the needs of its users, its continued presence must be called into question. If it needs to be repurposed but is generally sound, then overhaul it. If has outlived its use, or never fit it to begin with, it's time to admit the failure, cut the losses and rethink the plan. Simple as that.

Well, as simple as destroying a block long hunk of steel and concrete ever gets.

In the meantime, we'll take some of those FEMA trailers they use for disasters. I'm confident that the heat is better and I know for sure the bathrooms are closer.

Artistically insensitive? Perhaps, but with the embarassingly low amount of money I get paid, I think I have some room to complain about the working conditions.

Nothing will be done about it, but hey, if blogging is about anything, it is about catharsis.

Really glad I'm back, aren't you?

Don't answer that.


Lost A Sock said...

Love the idea for FEMA trailers. That just might work out a little better for you, from what you've shared. Stay warm.

Eric Kasang said...

Desperate measures call for radical ideas and here’s a suggestion to keep you warm and appease the “art critics.” Since the building resembles a highway underpass, treat it as if you are homeless in a bad 80’s nightmarish, post-apocalyptic movie. Pack several metal garbage cans with trash and set it ablaze. You’ll stay warm and it keep up with the aesthetics of Soviet housing.
If the “art critics” complain about flaming garbage, tell the bastards that they’re interrupting your “Scourge of Prometheus” performance piece.