Saturday, September 30, 2006
I really like this image. This is the Pheonix, AZ library. Modern architecture that is supposed to be a center of education has its program dictated by need in the environment. Transformed to a shelter, the library takes on more symbolic dialogues of housing, education, poverty and welfare of American citizens. The ability to gain knowledge is held behind glass in a sterile environment that has no relationship to the world outside. Formally, the image captures the cold harshness of the interior contrasting with the warm exterior that now serves as "home" for this man.
Coming from the Columbia school of architecture, this is a striking image of how the modern slabs of concrete, steel and glass are utilized in the world. Proposals never show a homeless man finding refuge under a cantilevered section of concrete. I fear that too often architects and developers ignore the realities of a building serving the purpose of "shelter", which is something that the first "architects" like Vitruvius openly acknowledged.