What happens when grand projects, conceived to transform cities and lives, collapse and fall into ruin?
More than 15 years after it broke ground, renowned New York architect Peter Eisenman’s hulking cultural complex Ciudad da Cultura de Galicia (City of Culture of Galicia) is now rotting. A remarkable short film by Spanish-Chilean architectural filmmakers ENTR_ECOT shows all that remains.
Conceived before the global financial crash, the 475.9 million euro project, containing a museum, library, archive facility, arts centre and performing arts centre, came to be regarded as a symbol of excess and vanity during strained economic times. The full story is on architecture site urbanNext:
The city had hoped the cultural center would revitalize Galicia’s economy by revamping its global reputation as a modern metropolis with a high cultural profile, much like the Guggenheim Bilbao had accomplished and as many other projects have tried to replicate — such as the recently scrapped Guggenheim Helsinki. While postured as an invitation to the world, processes of globalization have in many instances revealed such cultural building projects as misguided and against public interest of which Eisenman’s derelict City of Culture stands as testament.
But there is hope yet for the project, according to the Guardian, at least as a cinematic backdrop.
Cinema is obsessed with 'Ruin Porn': from 1975 documentary classic Grey Gardens to apocalyptic sci-fi I Am Legend, collapsing buildings just look good on screen, says film critic Ellen E Jones. New Venezuelan film 'La Soledad' is the latest entry into the genre, telling the story of the country's descent into daily food queues and rioting, through the skeleton of an abandoned home.
Have such deserted spaces taken on new meaning in the era of global housing crises, Jones asks? Or perhaps they have always been an evocative way to bring to mind "what could have been"?
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