Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Berlin yet again; Chicago yet again. Earlier, we made a passing comparison between NURBN's Tempelhof See with The Hole. Now, to bring balance to the universe, we're twinning together Jakob Tigges' Tempelhof Mountain and a ski jumping ramp temporarily inserted into Chicago's Soldier Field in 1954 — after all, is the ramp not an intimation of a mountain in the way that Tigges' is a facsimile of a real one?
The latter is a mathematically perfect combination of topographical conditions. Contour lines, slopes and snow type, and maybe even favorable sun angles and prevailing wind direction for the athletes (and optimal viewing perspective for the better enjoyment of the spectators): all have been co-opted to actualize a very specific event space.
The former is similarly a complicated exercise in mountain design. Tapping into a pathological desire for unspoiled Nature, a patch of Alpine wilderness is recreated hundreds of miles away in the center of Berlin. If actually built, it would mostly likely be ridiculously programmed in the same way so many parts of the Alps have been absurdly landscaped for winter enthusiasts.
Before its renovation in 2003, the result of which garnered a rave review from The New York Times, even placed fourth in their list of the year's best new buildings, but got pummeled by local culture observers, Soldier Field was already being augmented, spectacularly at that if we are being honest.
Perhaps Zaha Hadid could be persuaded to design another ski jumping ramp, though this prosthesis would be hinged and can be flipped up whenever there's a Bears game. Those traveling along Lake Shore Drive or boating on Lake Michigan would see the wavy profile of a half Eiffel Tower. It's the technolicious abstraction of geology.
In any case, this sort of thing isn't as rare as we first thought. This ramp was erected in Empire Stadium, Vancouver, in 1958.
Even the stadiums of winterless Los Angeles were similarly augmented.
If you can't go to the mountains, bring the mountains to you.
Ice Climbing in the Abandoned Malls of Foreclosure America