Morning Delivery

The maintenance of buildings is somewhat of a taboo subject in architectural discourse, which actually says a great deal about the kind of social class values in which the second-oldest profession is steeped. If the very definition of architecture is ‘building made unnecessarily complicated’, then any discussion of safety, maintenance, cleaning, deliveries, and other such prosaic aspects is tantamount to career-suicide for any ambitious architect.

But this is not the case for artists and filmmakers, who seem to be more interested than many architects in the poetics of post-occupancy. Both Jeff Wall’s photograph titled “Morning Cleaning” as well as Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoîne’s documentary film “koolhaas houselife“, to cite only two examples, gain their effectiveness precisely from this blind spot in architecture; or from the chasm that apparently exists between architecture’s high-minded ideals and its crude reality.

I would like to think that the socle of the Barcelona Pavilion was secretly designed as a truck-loading bay, but we’ll probably never know for sure.

About Rafael Gomez-Moriana

I am an architect, writer and educator. rafagomo.com chronicles my architectural making, writing, teaching and curating activity, while criticalista.com is an archive of my writings as well as a platform for venting personal rants and observations. I studied architecture at the University of Waterloo (Canada) and at the Berlage Institute (the Netherlands). I direct the University of Calgary’s architecture term-abroad program in Barcelona and teach at CIEE, and have previously taught in the Metropolis Masters Program in Architecture and Urban Culture as well as at Carleton University and the University of Manitoba.

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