Friday, February 03, 2012

Another green world

is the surface wood or concrete? from a distance it looks like concrete but up close it looks like wood. maybe they cast the concrete to have wood texture as to blend in with the natural environment more. japanese designers are so conscious of the environment.
Thus wrote a contributor to a Skyscaper City thread, on the subject of Norihiko Dan's Sun Moon Lake Visitor Centre and Administration Office, at Hsiangshan, Taiwan. That's the trouble with kids today: they know nothing about brutalism.

They also get fooled again by this sustainabilty racket. Let us take another look at the building and its environment. Notice, if you will, how the trees keep their distance. In the sumptous and paper-based December edition of L'Arca it is described thus:
As the basic policy for the design, the first aim here was to propose a new model for a relationship between the building and its natural environment while preserving the surrounding scenery and keeping the inland area from becoming dead space. The half-architectural and half-landform project creates a new dialogue between the human being and nature that provides another new dimension to this area.
Yes, gentle reader, that is archiwank. What they really did was chop down a load of trees and create the opposite of what they claim. They made a dead zone and filled it with grass - a plant native to golf courses, campuses and administration centres. To show their commitment to a new dialogue between human being and nature, they put grass on the roof, just like everyone else does these days. It is green, you see. What's more, beside the lake they built a lake; just what the lake needed.

But why? Does nobody ever ask why a lake should need a visitor centre? It is a lake; you can visit. The lake is accessible from many points on its shore. Trees grow beside the lake; we call this a forest. You can walk through the forest to get to the shore. Thank you for visiting. Please take your litter home with you.

But no; this lake, just like every other surviving piece of nature, needs a visitor centre and an administration office. This is because people are no longer considered capable of simply going to a place and experiencing it. They must have Education. They must be told what to experience and how to experience it. They must also have Facilities. Of course, none of this ever is fully visible because of the haze of pollution that interrupts the diagalogue between human and nature. But the centre does have ample parking. The lake must also be administered by The Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area Administration. The lake administrators require offices and parking.

Unfortunately, a portion of the forest had to be removed to accommodate the visitors and the administrators, but this space has been landscaped. As L'Arca notes, "By adopting this composition the building and the land form an integrated garden rather than being two separated entitites." Ah yes, an integrated garden; that would be it. You would hardly notice the presence of the building, what with the green roofs that rise gracefully out of the landscaping and the stand of trees that will grow into a majestic canopy within the next half-century, climate change permitting.


Psycho Milt said...

maybe they cast the concrete to have wood texture as to blend in with the natural environment more.

Maybe. Or maybe they just used wood formers when pouring the concrete, like lots of other builders do. One or the other.

Stephanie said...

My God, it's enormous! That is not a visitor centre, it's a neo-Speer memorial to ......if it was in North Korea, we would say ... to a dead dictator.

Peter in Dundee said...

It's even worse than that. To get obvious wood graining you need seriously rough wood surfaces, not planed and smooth. That makes the wood formers cheaper. It also means you don't have to smooth the poured concrete. Notice also how the panels are all about the size of a full sheet of plywood. So they nailed some rough sawn planks to some plywood sheets. Actually I bet some examination will reveal the concrete panels were precast in a factory and then rotated when in position to make them look authentic to the casual viewer.