We’re all too familiar with the phrase “what came first? The chicken or the egg?” In architecture, we can usually piece it together, but not often do we see a building that divorced itself.
Walking through the streets of Vienna happily with my vegan ice cream in hand and wonderful puppy views I almost missed the building that is the backbone of this entire article. Looking at it, I could see the couple’s history playing out before me. One partner clearly unhappy with the way things were was looking to leave, but for the sake of the child (Vienna) decided to stick around. That was the side of the building with the face lift. It maintained to a tea the exact proportions of its partner, but renounced detail in every way with its stark white façade.
The truth is, cities grow and cities change. Styles come in and out and evolution is a natural part of life. While this building provides beautiful and maybe tragic relationship metaphors, it is a striking example of architecture as timetable. With time, all buildings run down. The choice to renovate and restore them comes as a natural moment in the life of every structure. Why restore? Why keep the old when we can have new? It is consistent city aesthetic, a Haussmann-like idea, that we respect when we do this. Not every building is the Lady-Gaga of it’s time nor should it be.