The following pictures were not used in the printed edition of chapter three, ‘The true fake’, of Why We Build by Rowan Moore and are offered exclusively on picador.com.
Read an extract from chapter three of Why We Build, 'The True Fake'.
Listen to Rowan discussing why buildings are called 'buildings' and not 'builds' on Monocle FM.
‘Buildings typically establish close-packed rhythms, through crowded ranks of columns, banners, statues, carvings of crops or Soviet stars. This is the part that speaks of force, with military repetition and arrogant redundancy. The columns are bigger, denser, and more numerous than needed to support whatever they are supposed to carry (often, not much). They tell you they were built by a power that could spend what it wanted.’
Image: All Union Exterior
‘The exhibition ground was later renamed the Exhibition of National Economic Achievements, and themes such as space exploration were added. It continues to this day as an underpopulated ground for trade shows, where the silt of commerce gathers: cubicles selling woollens, phone parts, and souvenirs lap at the bases of giant columns; suburban show homes appear next to the white-pillared pavilions; hawkers sell the opportunity to be photographed with SpongeBob SquarePants and characters from Shrek, with an old bronze Lenin ignored and impotent behind. The place is too grand to be demolished, but too big to be useful.’
Image: Sponge Bob Lenin
‘A central avenue is staked out with great fountains. One, the Stone Flower, heaps up basket-loads of fruit and vegetables, jugs, and water-spewing geese.’
Image: Stone Flower