Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Burn Baby Burn - Delft University Architecture Building in Ashes


"La vie est une tragédie pour celui qui sent, et une comédie pour celui qui pense"
-Horace Walpole, Jean de La Bruyère or ?

Conflicting reports on the cause of a fire today that burned down the Architectural Studies Building at the Technical University in Delft.

Some say it was due to a leaking water pipe (?do they mean non-functioning sprinklers?) or a short circuit in a coffee pot. The irony of the architectural studies building burning due to a construction flaw is not lost on commentators like GeenStijl.

"Class, we're going to have a new assignment for this semester, starting today..."

Apparently there was also asbestos released when the building burned and partially collapsed. Asbestos: cancer-causing, but apparently ineffective when put to the test.

I might add that the building didn't exactly appear to be an innovative structure itself. I'm thinking that it might have come from what Bill Bryson termed the "fuck you school of architecture" _ but that's irrelevant.

On the tragic side, there are also reports that the building housed (one of) Europe's largest architectural libraries, not to mention furnishings designed by Gerrit Rietveld.
(creative commons, from wikipedia)

NOS had some pretty sad images of a woman who apparently lost her life's work sobbing outside the building.

De Telegraaf has footage of the building burning, for those who like to watch things burn.

I used to joke with a co-worker that "Grote Brand" is one of the most ridiculous headlines imaginable. All fires look big when you're up close, and the fact that a the fire itself is being reported, not the body count, tells you that it's probably a non-story.

But a fire always makes for good pictures.

In fact there was another "Grote Brand" today in the Eastern city of Enschede (on the anniversary of a fireworks disaster that killed 22 people on May 13, 2000 _ a weird coincidence).


"I call architecture frozen music"


Unknown said...

Funny way to get some Dutch news, this. Sad story, though.

The quote, which I love, is by Horace Walpole, or so it seems when I Google it. If you look it up literally as you put it down, you're blog is the only hit. I think the correct quote is "Life is a comedy to those who think, and a tragedy to those who feel"

I'll be back in Amsterdam this Sunday. Leave me some sun?

Toby Sterling said...

The quote, which I also love, appears to not have been Goethe. More research required...

Sunny weather has abruptly gone on vacation ... maybe you could bring it with you?