Friday, October 17, 2008

The New Pharaohs

"We need slaves," my friend says. "We need slaves to build monuments. Look who built the pyramids - they were slaves."
--From the online issue of The Guardian, Oct. 18, 2008

Sadly, this is not an unique condition, where the richest of men stay rich upon the backs of the poorest, building monuments to their vanity. When I first saw pictures of the Burl-Al-Arab Hotel in Dubai, looking like it had just majestically sailed into port with it's unfurled sail design, I was amazed. The man-made islands, the spiraling skyscrapers...beautiful architecture that should be heralding the expansive imagination and the amazing innovations of building techniques of the new millennium, instead have become shrines to Avarice and Hubris.

Architecture speaks of a people. It makes a statement of who we are, how we want to be remembered. When the message is tainted by inhumanity, it becomes propaganda. It becomes a lie.

It becomes a fa├žade.

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