Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Boullée in North Dakota? - Article by Pruned

I read this article on Pruned about a week ago and found it to be very interesting. It examines a missile bunker in North Dakota that resembles a theoretical project done by French architect Étienne-Louis Boullée. Anyone who has ever stepped foot in architecture school knows of the fascinating work of Boullée.

When I was studying
Boullée, I often found myself asking the question of weather or not his ideas and theories were full of shit; or was he simply an architectural genius who saw that monumental architecture could reach out past the boundaries of earth. Can architecture, made by man, have the potential to reach towards the heavens and extend past the earth in which it sits on? Boullée thought so.

I think
Boullée would be fascinated by this building in North Dakota. Because of the fact that it houses objects (muti-continental missiles) that aren't bound to earth but fly out to the heavens with the sole mission of destruction and terror.

Below is the text from Pruned:

From the HABS/HAER collections in the Library of Congress comes these gorgeous photographic documentations of an anti-ballistic missile complex in North Dakota. Several such sites were planned as part of the Safeguard Program, but only this was ever completed. And after being in operations for just 4 months, it was deactivated.

In the years since, countless drunken youths and their spray paints have made pilgrimages to these Pharaonic ruins of the U.S. Army. No doubt one of them must have wondered whether if it was simply a matter of coincidence that this pyramid, whose walls he was pissing on, resembles the unfinished pyramid in the the Great Seal of the United States, its once radar equipment being the Eye of Providence, the all-seeing eye.

Or if the military counts among its ranks a cabal of Freemasons constantly and surreptitiously finding ways to channel their aesthetic inclinations, in the face of institutionalized prohibition against self-expression and individuality. Sculpted berms here, geometrically-patterned rows of exhaust stacks there, mastaba-shaped radar facility right over there, chalked footpaths everywhere.

The U.S. anti-ballistic landscape as a subset of Land Art.

One of his companions, a blogger of the built environment, will report his inebriated musings, speculating further that those anonymous soldier-bureaucrat-architects must have been great admirers of the unbuilt works of Étienne-Louis Boullée. As an homage, they designed the radar building in the form of the master's pyramidal cenotaphs.

Étienne-Louis Boullée

Étienne-Louis Boullée

Even their monument-complex are pierced with holes, this blogger will blog, although they are not cosmically aligned. You will not see stars; they do not form constellations. Rather, they are aligned to millions of city dwellers halfway around the world, under surveillance, targeted for total erasure.

(via: Pruned)

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