An ironic fate for the quintessential anti-monument

In between all the time spent on photoshop I found this amazing article online:

http://www.rochester.edu/in_visible_culture/Issue_6/robey/robey.html

It’s about Wines’ showrooms and specifically the Indeterminate Facade. There are some interesting quotes about ruins as well in the article.

“For a ruin to have resonance as a monument, to evoke a sense of tragic drama, it must bear traces of the lofty ambitions and cultural glory of the society that built it. Hamon points out that in the Encyclopédie of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, “the term ruin can only be used to designate ‘palaces, sumptuous tombs, or public monuments.’” SITE, however, created anticipated ruins which presented the most banal aspect of everyday life as though it were already viewed nostalgically as part of a glorious Golden Age. The most generic of utilitarian commercial buildings was granted the same historical and symbolic significance as the ruins of an ancient palace, staging an unlikely encounter between poetic melancholy and the expediencies of strip architecture. SITE’s ruins also addressed the issue of location; if, as Charles Moore suggested, the monument “is an object whose function is to mark a place, either at that place’s boundary or at its heart,” the location of the Best showrooms on the non-place of the strip inverted that aspect of the monumental ruin as well. As the term “urban sprawl” describes, the strip is a zone with neither center nor boundaries, always in a state of flux. Despite this fluid quality, the strip and its surrounding suburbs seem either reliably peaceful or numbingly boring; either way they appear strikingly uneventful. Within this placid environment, SITE’s buildings appeared to testify to some cataclysmic event, evoking a sudden historical awareness of before and after to subvert the soothing, timeless order of the suburban lifestyle.”

In particular the notion that a ruin must bear traces of the lofty ambitions and cultural glory of the society that built it and that the ruin is an object whose function is to mark a place, either at that place’s boundary or at its heart (boundary of the city // “heart” of suburbia?) is really relevant to the Houston showroom.

I may have also possibly found a title for the project - An Ironic Fate for the Quintessential Anti-Monument (quoting Wines himself)

Wines reported that three years after its construction, the Indeterminate Facade attracted “more controversy, more critical analysis, and more visitors than ever.” It was even placed on a registry of monuments to visit in the States, a development Wines called “an ironic fate for the quintessential anti-monument.”

what do we think?

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