Pure Shit (II)

Alpine hut overlooking Pic de Pedraforca

This building in the Catalan Pyrenees is a perfect example of the kind of “pure shit” that constitutes 98% of everything that is designed and built today. Yet another ordinary masonry construction topped with corrugated fiber cement board panels, the absolute cheapest roofing material on the market. Why are we even talking about it? This building is so badly designed, it doesn’t even have a single window where the view is; only a blind wall with a crappy door that doesn’t close properly. Yet another missed architectural opportunity. When will humanity finally begin to take notice of how much better the world would be if architecture lead the way?

This building is so bad, that if a student were to design this in architecture school, they would fail miserably. Firstly, it has no concept; no overriding, overarching idea that challenges the status quo and poses difficult questions such as: why do we build? Nothing new is offered here.

Secondly, there is an utter disregard for the genius loci of the site. How is a passerby supposed to be made to confront their existence in the universe by means of such banal and insignificant form? Most people would just walk right past this building without ever taking notice of it (in fact, there’s a person walking past the building in the photograph above. See what I mean?).

Thirdly, and this is the most serious criticism: There is no artistic intent; no ambition. What is being said here? Where is the contribution to the art of architecture? There is not even the slightest appearance of attempting to make something innovative and thought-provoking.

If a real architect had designed this building, then this place, this very special postcard-perfect place would surely be on the map, and the local economy wouldn’t be so badly off. Instead of a crappy shed that is not even worthy of storing mountain bikes, this building could be a three-star Michelin restaurant directed by a world-famous chef, perhaps with an adjoining ‘lab’ museum. Of course, rooms would also need to be added for guests to spend the night, since it’s a little far from El Prat, and a road capable of being ascended by Ferraris would also have to be made. But it wouldn’t be a problem, because it would all be offset by the designer-designed building, which would be 100% sustainable and self-sufficient, and would blend perfectly with the landscape.

Instead, this horrible building just sits there, wasting the land it sits on and the view it obstructs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

How could windows have been omitted on the front façade? What were they thinking?

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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