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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Seen Better Days

Came across this photo on Flickr and couldn't help agree with thegoatisbad's assertion that Zaha Hadid's Landesgartenschau (aka LFone) in Weil Am Rhein, Germany looks pretty crappy for a building less than ten years old.

Compare with a couple (unfortunately) lo-res images from when I featured the building on my weekly page back in '99 to see the difference.

zaha1.jpg

18 comments:

  1. When we visited the building two years ago, it was somehow abandoned (it housed a bar opening only on weekend nights).
    The building is not to blame for its own state, even if it is really unimpressive, but the location: deserted and lost in the Weil Am Rheim suburbs.
    Sometimes it is better to tear down buildings meant for temporary expositions.

    House42

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  2. It's definitely not aging as gracefully as one might hope...

    But it also probably wouldn't look quite as bad with the concrete dry... not really a fair comparison.

    (Obviously not accounting for the abandoned landscaping & graffiti)

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  3. to be expected for architects who see the moment only

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  4. I've visited this building, 3 months ago, and it look very bad, a lot of technical problems, and it look more than abandoned. I was very desapointed after a long walk to see it, just after the Vitra project...

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  5. Would it be wrong for me to say I like the way the building's aging? There is such a thing as graceful decay.

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  6. it doesn't seem fair to blame an architect for the state of a building that's been abandoned*.

    all built things require maintenance of some type, if only the weeding of the driveway and the sweeping of the sidewalks.

    * according to the people who have been there

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  7. i visited it 4 years ago... it looked in a good state. It is quite clear that the building has a lot of technical problems (the simplest is the roof...the purity of the shape doesn't have to mean lackness of detail...). All these problems should be attributed to the architect (who, instead of solving some details, dared to ask a 12 mt. long glass that costed by itself a huge amount of money)

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  8. It just looks like it needs a hug.

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  9. "It is not what a building looks like on the day it is opened but what it is like thirty years later that matters."

    Alvar Aalto

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  10. I'm a big believer that buildings need to be designed for the long haul, in order for them to age gracefully.

    I visited this building about 6 years ago and it was already showing some signs of wear, however when you consider that the building was meant as a 6 month exhibition... are we asking too much for the building to withstand the onslaught of time?

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  11. "béton brut", sorry, slick béton for a 6 month exhibition? goodness gracious!...

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  12. All buildings need maintenance! If it is abandoned as some people here have said even a aalto building could look like crap. And you can't compare production pictures for magazines with a digital on a rainy day! It's not the buildings or zahas' fault that no one cares for the wild "garden around" or cleaning graffitis...

    and like someone said, if it was meant to last 6 months, you can't ask to last 60 years.

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  13. Probably a flat parapet with no drip edge. Little details that make a difference, if you can be concerned with such mundane things.

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  14. Even though the building was made for a 6-month flower exhibition, it was definitely constructed for a longer period, like the Flower Pavilion in Potsdam. Both the failure of post-exhibition programming and its remote locale seem to be the cause of a premature aging, though this doesn't exempt Hadid from a role in its current state. Rather than referring to the construction or detailing, I'd assert that the shape of the building, derived from its relationship to the site (the site probably given to her, though I'm not certain if she chose it instead) is also to blame. Hadid is known for skinny, long spaces, ones that made her Fire Station unusable for its intended purpose at nearby Vitra. The similarly-proportioned spaces here make it difficult to find uses that will work for the long haul. Sure a bookstore or some other retail space might work (and supposedly has, per house42), but not in this semi-rural location. Until one can find something that can straddle form and site, this building will continue to deteriorate.

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  15. Age and neglect of Architecture has created profound (often surreal) and moving beauty. The pristine immaculate clean corporate architecture we are so accustom to, partially due to “publication”, can appear sterile, devoid of the passing of time, like a facelift on a Hollywood star. I find the image of the building (here) deeply attractive and am happy it does not look as it did the day it landed in the glossy pages of Record. It is good.

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  16. to the comment regarding weeds...i personally think the weeds are the most fortuitous aspect of the buildings new found identity.

    and to the comment about the building a hug...I'd offer mine in the form of a five-ton wrecking ball....tough love. i feel compelled to state what i said before...this is to be expected for architects who see the moment only. to me her work immediately dates itself...a non-functional signature, not a building. i find it ironic that the building has such a dated appearance when it is a relatively new building. to me that is the embodiment of poor design. sure maintenance is needed on many a building to maintain 'beauty' but then again if a buildings so called beauty and integrity degrades at the rate at which some of the other posts state in just four years...imagine just how bad it will be in two years. seems as though Zaha's buildings don't have a very good half-life conversion.

    a building should be able to stand on its own for many years with minimal maintenance and not demand a total face-lift once the precious materials begin to tarnish. there are too many excellent examples of buildings to list now that have maintained if not become better with the natural patina of time...not have it to be a scar across its face....maybe one of the seminal examples would be Saynatsalo Town Hall by Alvar Aalto. I think Aalto would have frowned upon the very notion of setting aluminum housings with fluorescent bulbs in the ground. i don't care just how fantastic technologies have become to 'allow' us to do anything...its still a bad idea and looks worse. good thing the weeds are about to consume it.

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  17. I agree with Brandon, well said.

    For now we must enjoy the weeds, the decay; live in the moment and accept what time and nature give us.

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  18. Is that a skateboard ramp built into the side of the house? I can't tell if the house is just run down or if the style is way out of date.
    custom home builder virginia

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