Monday, July 27, 2009

At the Unité d'Habitation in Marseilles, I had a Howard Roark moment.

Photo by PictFactory (Creative Commons License)
I was at the top of the world. I stood on a thin metal parapet, the landing of a narrow staircase supported on the roof of the building. I clutched the delicate iron framework and could feel the ripple of the heavy concrete mass underneath, and the earth from which it rose. The vast horizon, with mountains on one side and the sea on the other, made me dizzy, and the warm sea breeze made me unsteady, so I held the metal more tightly.

And I thought this was divine. Architecture is the attempt by human ingenuity to reverse the process of atrophy in an expanding universe and this building on which I stood was a masterpiece and a milestone. It represented shelter and audacious idealism. It was carved and sculpted by a giant. Surely this must be forbidden and shunned by all religions; for it was intoxicating and I felt like I had sinned.

1 comment:

  1. Howard Roark is one THE most captivating fictitious characters ever. The Fountainhead made me fall in love with buildings.

    and Howard Roark's hands.