The Loneliest Building

Noah's Ark

“Noah’s Ark”, Edward Hicks

When Noah’s Ark was pitched on top of that mountain and the waters had risen and the animals where silent, it was the loneliest building on earth.

For some time, until the waters receded, all of creation was under the same roof. The world was composed of 99% water, a brown iceberg and a strange hybrid between a boat and a house.

For an architect it’s difficult to imagine a more powerful image than one building, only one structure, no “built environment”, no “zoning”, no bullshit.

Just one building, housing every living creature.

If it were true, creationism would mean so much for architecture. All buildings on earth would be descendants of this one building, this giant warehouse-boat. Only one model, one archetype: Noah’s Ark.

God-the-partner-in-charge designed the Ark and passed the directions to Noah-the-junior-architect who actually figured out the thing.

Maybe that could explain our fascination with size, with huge structures.

Maybe it can explain my fascination with Superstudio.

“Continuous Monument”, Superstudio

“Continuous Monument”, Superstudio

After having given to the world “The Continous Monument” in the 60’s and some of the most simple and potent images of future buildings, in 1972, to piss off the “Save the Historic Centers” campaign, Superstudio proposed to block the river Arno, flood Florence and leave only Brunelleschi’s Duomo sticking out.

Who do you think was being historically accurate?

After this whole post, please don’t say it was the Historic Center guys…

Good night everybody, and sleep tight.

Tomorrow we all have a lot of work to do, running around, to and fro, between and under and across…the offspring of the Ark.


P.S. – Thank you GAC for the inspiration.



  1. I’ve always thought of this project as a very powerful dystopian idea… scary mary grotesqueness in beautiful minimal drag. i think living in it must be quite like THX 1138 (
    man-made machine takes over the world and nature (meaningful reality) is forever outdoors. marcel duchamp’s bride and bachelors probably live in it. 🙂
    it’s also a bit of an ironic joke on italian futurism…

    • DLA

      Yeah! That’s a good comparison! I think Superstudio thought about it as a bit of a joke. There’s definitely some dark humor going on there. But I always thought the “continuos monument” was a quasi-poetic arm wrestle between architecture and landscape, a competition for scale. That’s why I love dams. I think huge man made structures + wide open spaces = my undivided attention. Thanks for having the patience to read through and keep commenting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: