Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Future-Past is Boring



This little profile of Poundbury is brilliant: 'You get the feeling if anything became worn a little man would scurry out to touch it up again.' I wonder if this implies that Leon Krier is not so anti-Modernist as he immediately seems: the fastidious, early Le Corbusier impulse to make sure the touch of history never besmirches the building seems far more present here than in the remains of the works of Corbusier's imitators as they exist around Britain, where climate and bad aggregates have left traces of history that are all too visible. It's especially odd that, given Krier's concern for architectural 'speech' and communication, it all seems so very blank. A historicism that looks as freeze-dried and stern as the most coldly precise bit of Weimar functionalism, only for the purposes of hurtling back to the past rather than imposing a possible future on the present. 

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a programme on about Poundbury a few months ago, and it appears either that many of the buildings have actually aged appallingly badly (ten year old buildings should not have lichen cultures or spalding on the stonework) or have been deliberately distressed. The situation is desperately sad either way.

3:49 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hobbiton for humans?

9:52 pm  
Anonymous Anne said...

Thanks for this Owen. It's such a bizarre place. I still haven't quite recovered from the sheer strangeness of it all.

11:17 pm  
Blogger angela said...

Wow I had never heard of this. It's like a quieter, government financed "Celebration"? Is Poundbury after some kind of "usable past" of architectural heritage, specifically?
I must do research...

7:07 pm  
Blogger owen hatherley said...

Not so much government-funded as feudally-funded, but definitely in the same sort of area as Celebration - Disney royalism...

11:30 pm  
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11:49 pm  

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