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Zaha Hadid

Architectural reasons for dumping the Monarchy…?


Poundbury Fire Station, England: HRH Prince Charles, 2009

Unfortunately the Guardian article that brings this rather strange contemporary building to our attention is dated 31st of March – so I have to assume that it isn’t some April Fool’s Day prank. This is, according to the article, the Prince of Wales’ first attempt at architectural design – a fire station in that weird little¬†phenomenon: Poundbury.

Now, there has been some discussion over at the Fish, relating to the employment of Classical architectural language by various regimes throughout history, but HRH’s uptake of the style is much more bizarre than a simple architecture-as-propaganda¬†motive. Here the Prince seems to be waxing nostalgic for a bygone era of – not royal power – but strictly mannered gentility: a romantic yearning for a bygone era that only ever existed for¬†the¬†few who had the good fortune to be born into nobility…

It’s kind of sweet really (the yearning, not the building) – but¬†what are we to make of this out here in the Dominion of New Zealand, whose Head of State may well end up being Prince Charles? Yes, the role is largely symbolic, but does his utopian conservatism¬†symbolically¬†align with our own self-styled egalitarianism? And what of architectural taste? Perhaps we should have invited the Prince to design our Supreme Court (now there would be a symbolic gesture!) – I am sure he would show us colonials a thing or two about domesRead More

The architecture of the automobile


OK, so we have already discussed cars¬†on this site, but that was regarding the ever-expanding girth of both us, and the automotive metal which we wrap around ourselves before hurtling through the landscape at great speed (OK, much less speed through the cityscape…). But what about the relationship between architecture, and the car itself…?

Those of us who are ‘up’ on our history should no about Modernist¬†predilections¬†for machine-inspired goodness, and will probably even recall Le Corbusier’s¬†reverence¬†for¬†Citro√ęn, naming his Maison Citrohan after that company. Corbusier’s Ville Radieuse is one of the most famous urban schemes that was predicated on the speed and efficiency of the automobile, and he certainly wasn’t alone in the conflation of Modern urbanity with automotive¬†dominance¬†– even FLW’s arcadian paradise,¬†Broadacre City¬†is reliant upon this.


Corbusier’s dalliance with automotive design for… Read More