Thursday, May 13, 2004

What’s new then? Not much. Mind you, an Italian blog recently mentioned me and my thoughts on the shortage of modern Italian architecture. Here’s a rough translation:

The long post [my post of the 28/4/04] irritated me a bit at first (as in "what the heck does he mean to say with that?") but then, thinking again about it, I came to the conclusion that he's not *that* wrong, after all. At least he's not wrong when it comes to the "what are they doing with the money?" bit.

I'm not a blind supporter of "modernism in se", nevertheless I don't believe contemporary architecture necessarily needs to be ugly or of less quality relative to more classical styles.

Anyway, I reckon that's a bit too much to ask for any "large, modern, shiny piece of architecture" to be built, say, right before the Pantheon. Seeing the writing M AGRIPPA L F COS TERTIUM FECIT mirrored in a super-modern building wouldn't make my day.

Maybe that's being narrow minded of me, but, IMHO, I always thought that building Centre Pompidou in the Beaubourg has been a terrible idea, for example.

I think she’s slightly misunderstood my sentiments re: wanting to see a modern vs. classical contrast. I’m not asking for something to go up right next to the pantheon (there’s no room, anyway). I was just wondering where the modern architecture is (or, more precisely, why there aren’t any world-class modern strutures in Italy). The banks of the Thames are a fantastic example of what can be done contrasting old and new: St. Paul’s – with it’s awe-inspiring dome – sits opposite the Tate Modern, which has it’s own, modern-day room of awesome dimensions. Similarly the Tower of London – a historic centre of power – sits opposite the new Mayoral offices. And of course there’s the London Eye and Big Ben. And... I could go on, but you get my drift. Let me reiterate here that Italy’s cultural legacy is second to none on this planet. But what now? I only lament the absense of modern-day demonstrations of creativity.

Otherwise, the only thing to report is that some people are trying to kill me. Pedestrians, motorists, other cyclists: all are plotting to cause me harm, I’m sure. Today I was cycling on the right hand side of the road (that is: in the correct place), past all the parked cars, when a car overtook me to my left. Nothing unusual. Then he proceeded to put his brakes on and try to pull into the parking space I was about to pass, and thus pulling straight into my way. What was he thinking? That he could parallel park in the two seconds before I cycled past the spot? Why can’t these sodding drivers show a bit of bloody patience?

And start looking before they pull out?

More urban hell from Naples.

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