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FOUR SITES AND THE WHOSING OF SAKES

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Author:Guedes, A D'
In:For Us
Date:1962
Pages:24-27
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FOUR SITES AND THE WHOSING OF SAKES

A D' ALPOIM GUEDES

Some work progressing, some work waiting, some work already dead. For you, future beauticians, nurses, butchers of the face of the earth; from a middle-aging hand with mixed feelings and as a tender warning.

 

For money's sake — a narrow slice of offices; a building for hire; a carcass to be stuffed with business. Each floor to be cut up into boxes for people and things. A sky-eyed stair case haunted by the blue white light pit in Gaudi's Casa Batllo. One face screened from the late afternoon's low diagonal sun by vertical translucent marble disks — another sheltered from the high angled noon sun by horizontal marble bands. The two others — one to be immediately shut off, blinded — the other to wait, sightless, for a future neighbour.

The city lies cut up in narrow strips by expediency and greed; bound by inflexible rules and orders. The streets are parades of temporary towers. The face of a street spreads and grows with gaps in between. Through the gaps we may glimpse some remnants of architecture. It happens mostly on the backs of buildings. The fronts are expensive fakes, at most, two feet deep architectural soft goods — trollops made up to flatter the timid operators of big money — trollops made up to boost the soft egos of artful academicians.

For money's sake - my own 8.00 metres broad side of street face.

 

For competitors' sake — a mechanical tower; a fool proof survivor; a ready made money maker to be disguised as shops, dance halls, garages, brothels, offices, cabarets, flats, hotel, sky signs — to keep up with the changing city; the city that never knows it's own mind.

My ideal tower had round hollow pillar-ducts with pipes, engines, ladders and men inside. Each column was crowned by fat machine rooms buzzing in the sky. Each face on each floor showed the mask it needed to wear — the owners kept a stock of noses and eyes to suit each tenant's face. The masks wore signs and slogans where they wanted. The tower hummed, groaned, gasped and dribbled like the ships tied to the docks across the street.

Buildings shall welcome chaos and the needs of the living. Architecture shall have some feeling. The sight is a diluted version of the idea — trying to win on owners' money making — fighting the cool shadow war that may yet make architecture possible.

For competition sake — my own well meant compromise.

 

For God's sake and done for love — the little church of the "Sagrada Familia" at Machava.

The dream was once a monster chip factory — gone cold and mouldy — uneaten. The dream was once three houses—one after another — all born dead The dream is now a church in progress — so far only as far as its knees. So far it has survived unscathed, a proposed fattening, an attempt on the altar.

It is a Japanese flavoured temple, a dolled up factory roof, some small public lavatories, a bookless library, a village square, a bell periscope, a singing shelf — and it wears eight glass rock suns on its side faces. The concavities of the outside are for hide-and-seek games, for lovers, for young gangs.

Buildings shall also become habitable outside.

It is a hand-made building already wearing my wished for, assembled factory-cast look.

For Christ's sake — my own good intentioned fake.

 

For ten thousand members' sake and for myself, a tall club house inside the city. A machine for cultivating and mixing cultures, and for languid leisures, on a small site bound by many town planning commandments. This heap will roar and mumble, laugh and whisper, with the voices and ideas of ten thousand people; in the loud metallic cafe on the street side; in the steep intellectual auditorium; in the pin-balling, ping-pong tabled youth branch, in the double storied library swot boxes; in the class-rooms which sometimes are committed, in the clattering news paper offices, in the back to front, stained printing room; in the quiet soft-floored hostel's corridors.

A naked, grey, raw concrete house with bright viceral [sic visceral] mauve, red and pink insides; round eyed, much slitted, many nozzled. A building swarming with people, with faces looking out of windows, nattering, watching and living.

The sight is the tall club house as it was when it was April — he is now more muscular, more relaxed — beginning to look side-ways.

Is it possible to accelerate the mechanics of creation so the insight gained from invention shall be arrived at during the doing?

For ten thousand's sake — my own concrete elephant will stand — it will be built in stages.

For Christ's sake — my own good intentioned fake.