Thursday, June 11, 2009

Architectural Hygiene

With growing innovations in building materials and technology, coupled by availability of clients (before recession) from equally inflated economies, we as architects and designers (before recession) could not only imagine formal atrocities but even get them built (before recession). Architectural audacity (before recession) was being redefined with every passing day (before recession) through projects (before recession) that twisted, turned, gelled, splintered, bent, flowed and did many other things, evolving from an agonised belly of an architect, it looked like sports shoes, toothbrushes, space crafts and now they have to be kept clean!
This post I dedicate to the window cleaners who keep architectural megalomania clean. I can almost imagine their CVs shining with a list of building facades they have cleaned with only the best cleaners having survived through a Zaha Hadid.

(Sage Music Centre at Gateshead UK designed by Fosters & Partners, Buro Happold, Mott MacDonald and Arup. Image sourced from BBC)

(Reichstag dome in Berlin, Germany designed by Norman Foster. Image from

(30 St Mary Axe or the Gherkin designed by Norman Foster. Image sourced from
I don't know how most of the photographed images happen to be of Norman Foster projects, maybe his clients maintain highest levels of Architectural hygiene (?) But one must admit cleaning contemporary architecture must be an experience that needs to be packaged and sold to the presently redundant architectural community, like archi-adventure sports. This would not only make a great enterprise but also allow to truly subvert and critique the architecture (Interesting read by David Gissen on HTC experiments in reference to Philippe Petit's tight rope walk between the World Trade Centres) by staging a 'time to clean your act up' art performance.

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