Architecture Without Us #2 – Dampness

Not my ceiling – thank god, “for illustration purposes only”

I balance my feet on top of the bathtub ledge in an unstable pax de deux with a dishcloth in my hand, bent backwards like the painter in the chapel’s vault trying to scrub out the last of those vile, dark, miniscule spores.

It’s a dance routine I know very well.

Every month I’d rub the bathroom ceiling clean, or so I thought, of the dark mold that had taken over the whiteness of our swiss dwelling.

Like a blossom, in the weeks afterwards, those tiny speckles would start to reappear, first as mysterious galaxies in the vertex where the walls and ceiling meet, then as full-out supernovas of dampness threatening to take over the whole house.

Then I would start this cosmological cleaning all over again.

We are not alone, my wife and I. We have the unwelcome company of these invaders, these animals and pseudo creatures not worthy of the role call of creation, creeping all over the house.

The warmest, bestest sweaters all have tiny wiggly things eating their way through.

The house creeks under our feet and over our heads, moving around much more that what was promised in our landlord’s soft voice.

But still, we linger on. No morality can be derived from nature, other than the one that already impels us from within.

I leave you with a quote from a very interesting book that lent the title to this series of posts, “The World Without Us”. In it the author starts explaining what would happen to our houses in the aftermath of our sudden and irrevocable disappearance:

“Even if you live in a denatured, postmoderm subdivision where heavy machines mashed the landscape into submission, replacing unruly native flora with obedient sod and uniform saplings, and paving wetlands in the righteous name of mosquito control – even then you know that nature wasn’t fazed. No matter how hermetically you’ve sealed your temperature-tuned interior from the weather, invisible spores penetrate anyway, exploding in sudden outbursts of mold – awful when you it, worst when you don’t, because it’s hidden behind a painted wall, munching paper sandwiches of gypsum board, rotting studs and floor joists. Or you’ve been colonized by termites, carpenter ants, roaches, hornets, even small mammals.“

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One comment

  1. Pedro Clarke

    bouncing of the quote: “No matter how hermetically you’ve sealed your temperature-tuned interior from the weather, invisible spores penetrate anyway, exploding in sudden outbursts of mold”

    I long for drafty buildings and openable windows and would (most of the time) rather have to wear an extra sweater inside than live in an airtight and climate controlled environment.

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