Capital Punishment or A Professional Impotence?
The concept of a wall has fascinated human minds throughout the history of mankind, from the Chinese emperors to the post-WWII autocrats of East Germany. Just recently a huge wall has been erected between the West Bank and Israel, a paradise for the graffiti masters from around the world (including Banksy). Only the public outcry messed up plans of the Bush administration to divide Baghdad into Sunni and Shea zones with an enormous concrete barrier. Even the used-to-be rebels-and-now-fat-cats Pink Floyd played with the idea.
All this went through my head, while I was standing on the corner of K Street in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., looking at this wall. I went on thinking why would anyone want to reutilize an old wall as a facade of a brand new building.
I recalled a heated debate I've had with my office colleague regarding a mansion that was recently built in the Ansley Park neighborhood in a fake 19th century classicism style. I argued that there is no need for a time warp in architecture, as in any other form of art for that matter. Just imagine Philip Glass or Steve Reich suddenly start writing music in the baroque style. Who needs it, if we already have Vivaldi, Handel and Scarlatti?
Why then to hide your 21st century building behind a leftover classical style wall? I hope the architect has a really good reason for it. Otherwise, I would call it a professional impotence (and, as you can see, a very expensive one).