HOW TO LOOK AT ARCHITECTURE…has a completely useless activity


(the title is a reference to Bruno Zevi´s book, published in 1957 by horizon press, new york)

In one of my twitting moments I found an article by Samuel Medina on architizer about how economics students from Lehigh University decided to calculate what would it take to actually built the Death Star (star wars saga for those who are not fans) a perfect sphere, 140km in diameter with the power to destroy entire planets. Their focus was how much steel would be necessary to achieve such goal. The article presents the end calculations and the amount of resources needed from the planet but I wasn’t really interested in that.

By then I was already speaking to myself (which I do quite often) making a series of questions like: why are economics students concern with a science fiction object when there are so many real things where they could use their brains on? Like:
How much would it take to infra-structure all the slums in the world?
How much would it take to provide drinking water to all inhabited areas of the planet?
How much wool it take for the future cities to be completely independent from fossil fuels?
However by then I realize that I was doing what I always do that is, not being able to have an abstract thought, imagine a situation that does not exist (which is quite unusual for an architect and probably the explanation why I´m such a bad one). Why would these students be concern with a real problem, that has so much variational factors when you can just work with something that does not exist and you actually have no idea what is made off or how it works?
So I continue on reflecting on the abstract exercise, my questions (besides the mentioned above), were quite different.
First and foremost why would the Death Star by a perfect sphere? Come on lets be honest here, its completely outdated. Perfect spheres, circular skyscrapers, triangles..is already a part of our everyday life. Such a special project would most certainly tend to look like a smashed sheet of paper, a fluid non-gravity shape, a loop or a continuous mobius strip allowing space ships to continuously land and take off. And most certainly would be self-sufficient and green – LEED certified Platinum – very hip these days.

And why are those economic´s “to be” concern with steel? If the world had the technology to build a Death Star, it implies the existence of space ships that travel at speed of light, consequently, finding new planets, life on others planets, new technologies, new materials, most likely more suitable to build the “thing”.
Third but not last, who would be able to build a weapon of mass destruction without the intervention of UN? Americans…maybe but doubt it, Europe…certainly not, we are too diplomatic in a financial crisis, the last thing we need is a bill that size; Asians…two worried making money; Russia…two worried spending money on the “Dolce Vita”; Iran…The UN (obviously lidered by the USA) wouldn’t allow it – so basically this is a completely useless abstract thought/problem to solve.
Coincidence or not, has I´m wondering around this subject and getting distracted from my work, another tweet comes up: “Japan is planning to build the worlds tallest megastructure” also on architizer To go where? I asked… to go to space obviously!… Built with a material 20 times stronger then steel.

So I think, first of all, you Japanese shouldn’t be selfish and share your material knowledge with the students from Lehigh University so that they can make a more accurate calculation of a useless problem. Second, why are you developing an elevator that takes you to space – which is actually called a spaceship and already exists and its called “Virgin Galactic” – you make an elevator to take us to the Death Star that is going to be constructed, except if it is by Iran?
This is why I live in wonderland – why imagine an alternative reality when this one is so screwed up? Please…

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