Machine, by Van der Pol

The female Dutch architect Liesbeth van der Pol of the firm ZeinstravanderPol designed for the campus of the University of Utrecht a heating-building. The facade of the building made from Cor-Ten steel. This is however not clad, but it is molded together to form a seamless shell that is completely seperated to the machinery in the interior of the building.

The iconography of the building is that of the machine. It’s is not the literal machine-esthetics of the Centre Pompidou by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano, but a more abstract machine esthetic.

On Manhattan-island in New York there is a skyscraper with a similar iconography from 1974. It is a windowless (!) telephone switching hub at Thomas Street in downtown, and features 29 stories with machinery.

Both buildings use an iconography of the machine that is esthetisized and seems to refer to esthetisized utopic visions of the city. Take for instance the cover below. The ‘Dark Cities’ of Benoit Peeters and Francois Schuiten are a series of comic books. Every comic book features a different utopic city. The series is a enormous cult-succes in Europe.

These esthetic and monumental images of the future city have been made ever since the industrialization hit our cities.

See also.

Liesbeth van der Pol - Warmtekrachtcentrale, Utrecht (Photograph: Michiel van Raaij) 

Telephone Switching Hub, New York (Photograph: Cryptome) 

Benoit Peeters and Francois Schuiten - Dark Cities (Image: EBBS)


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