by James Inedu George
There was once a school that floated on a marsh, it was designed as a school for the poor and was touted as the future of “water cities”.
The building had existed in a marsh that had had buildings on stilt that had in the worse cases lasted 30 years. The marsh was a place that caused the municipal government great frustration, and one of the similarities of the countries dispensation had been the unity behind demolishing the “eyesore” that was a gate way to the city centre. At a point, the demolition started…..
The school was built to be an instantly recognizable icon, it took a prime location on the marsh and became a pressure point against the government. But in reality, all the school did was to blow up the designer’s ego and to give him highly coveted international attention. It was neither a good school nor was it a good prototype for future buildings nor city. It was simply bad architecture done iconically.
Our man, the architect, had worked for one of the biggest architects in the world. “The absolute star architect”, he had ridden on the coat tail of Mr. Star Architect with the floating school as fuel, started to tell the world which at the time was far removed from the continent which the marsh existed that that was the way the future should look. He had started to make it impossible for any fulfilling work to be done in that continent, he had become a black hole eating all the stars…..
Golden Lion today, Serpentine gallery tomorrow, the toilet less floating contraption had swallowed up all the light from the continent but it was badly built, ill-conceived and just generally bad architecture.
It was a platform for more pissing to be done into the marsh, and because the inhabitants of this marsh had no idea of their worth, rallied around the school because it seemed to be the first time they had been noticed. They thought they had found something to last them forever. In the architects mind however, it was only a placeholder, a “prototype”, held up only by his ego, ambition for want for international recognition.
At the peak of his recognition, just a few days after his ego had been satisfied, as he partied at the Serpentine gallery, having fulfilled the greatest ambition that he will ever achieve, his ego let go and the building, humpty-dumptyesque collapsed. No ego! No school!
It was the end of self-serving icons, the end of a bad idea that had almost become a black hole to eat up any true progress in the continent. It beaconed for a new time, when people mattered, and a proper optimistic, long lasting architecture, that will be created for the continent and the world….
A light has finally started to shine out of this black hole…
A new architecture and urbanism now beckons for the future African!
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija