— Harold Rosenberg, “Pop Culture: Kitsch Criticism,” 1958
The scale of this addition is immense. This sprawling architectural “solution” is not one at all, it will only compound congestion and enhance disorientation, unless that is the goal. One of Metro Atlanta’s most complex systems continues to push the architectural into the infrastructural.
Adjacent to the Smyrna location for the Waste Management corporation, there is a landfill created as a terraced mountain capped with a retired dumptruck as instant billboard / duck made decorated shed, fixed in place. This constructed environment, created through capitalist material and methods as a mountain of waste, approximates the 21st Century version of the Mesopotamian Ziggurat temple. These temples were some of the original megastructures, designed to be the phenomenological junction between heaven and earth as well as the residence of the gods. Viewed through this lens, garbage is now our transcendental medium, and our god and holy of the holies is that collector of refuse, the dumptruck. We are all invited to gather along I-285 to worship at the feet of capitalist modes of production and consumption.
Apparently Fresco didn’t get the memo that Modernist urban planning doesn’t work in the real world. This scheme is the Ville Radieuse updated to late 20th Century aesthetics, a smorgasbord of utopian schemes that if built would generate Dubai-esque products. This criticism is only the tip of the iceberg of why someone would continue misguided Corbusian schemes from the Modernist era.
The Rotunda at UVA is famous also for what it is not: a church. A church typically framed the spatial organization of most universities before UVA, and in Thomas Jefferson’s substitution of that institution of faith for one of knowledge and reason is just as significant, if not more so, than its formal origin.
Cesar Santos, Aftermath, c. 2010
Cesar Santos is a contemporary artist focused on the idea of syncretism, “the amalgamation or attempted amalgamation of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought.” Like others before him, Santos engages in the postmodern referencing of great historical works through unexpected juxtaposition and layering. Using one or fragments of one artistic masterpiece as a background and another as foreground, he combines new forms with old in a hybridized fashion. Like a James Joyce novel, these references operate at a series of intellectual registers, from the obvious to the vague, which provides endless interest for those steeped in the lore of art history.
Jun Aoki plays with light through modularity and ocular effects, but independent of programmatic content. The Marxist argument says this decision equates a church with a clothing store and religion with production and consumption. The phenomenological argument says that all buildings, not just those historically deemed sacred spaces such as temples and museums (dwellings of the muses), deserve experiential and sensual customization. One of the best aspects of contemporary architecture is both arguments are equally valid.