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 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. 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 plinth of the Barcelona Pavilion was secretly designed as a truck-loading bay, but we’ll probably never know for sure.

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