Category Archives: concrete

An eyesore in Lima

screen-shot-2017-01-22-at-08-36-22Dalrymple writes of the æsthetic shambles that is the Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología:

The building is awkward, angular, without overall unity; its spaces are mean, narrow, and oppressive and its proportions a mess. And this is all before the concrete, for the moment pristine, begins to deteriorate.

One of the architects, an Irishwoman, says of the atrocity she has perpetrated:

We’re interested in weight. For us, the enjoyment of architecture is the sense of weight being borne down or supported, the feeling of moving with the forces of gravity. It’s a very primal need.

Architect Shelley McNamara: interested in weight

Architect Shelley McNamara: weight problem

Dalrymple comments:

I have noticed that when an artist or architect begins by saying ‘I’m interested in…’ bilge is sure to follow, as the night the day. What does it mean, that the enjoyment of architecture is the sense of weight being borne down or supported? Does anyone see the Taj Mahal for the first time and say, ‘Oh, what a wonderful sense of weight being borne down or supported’?

The problem, he says, is that

the pseudo-cerebrations of architects now take precedence over taste.


Därför byggs det så fult

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 08.52.40Dalrymple skriver:

Varje gång jag anländer till Utrecht med tåget, som nyligen, drar jag förvånat efter andan. Hur kan det komma sig att arkitekterna, med en av de vackraste arkitekturstilarna som exempel inför sina ögon, fick för sig att bygga betongmonster av det slag som omger stationen?

Little love for Lasdun

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Denys Lasdun: apartments

Dalrymple does not have much time for Denys Lasdun (1914-2001):

I doubt whether a worse architect…has ever lived. To design uglier buildings than his would be a stimulant to the imagination worthy of a prize competition.

Lasdun loved concrete, and

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Denys Lasdun: theatre

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Denys Lasdun: college

his designs were as dehumanising as any dictator’s decree….Dehumanising cities with hideous concrete buildings is bad. One suspects a generalised or epidemic spiritual sickness….Architects of Lasdun’s times mistook destruction for creation….Bad buildings are…noxious…but inescapable. An author has a right to his badness, but not an architect.

Dalrymple suspects that those who claim to like Lasdun apply

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Denys Lasdun: offices

extra-aesthetic considerations, such as that they were at the cutting edge in the way Lister was at the cutting edge of the surgery of his time. They indulge also in an architectural variant of Macbeth’s logic: that past architectural crimes are so heinous one has to continue them or admit them.