Pruned — On landscape architecture and related fields — ArchivesFuture Plural@pruned — Offshoots — #Chicagos@altchicagoparks@southworkspark
Boullée in North Dakota
Safeguard Program

From the HABS/HAER collections in the Library of Congress comes these gorgeous photographs of an anti-ballistic missile complex in North Dakota.

Several such sites were planned as part of the Safeguard Program, but only this was ever completed. And after being in operations for just 4 months, it was deactivated.

Safeguard Program

In the years since, countless drunken youths and their spray paints have made pilgrimages to these Pharaonic ruins of the U.S. Army. No doubt one of them must have wondered whether if it was simply a matter of coincidence that this pyramid, whose walls he was pissing on, resembles the unfinished pyramid in the Great Seal of the United States, its once radar equipment being the Eye of Providence, the all-seeing eye.

Or if the military counts among its ranks a cabal of Freemasons constantly and surreptitiously finding ways to channel their aesthetic inclinations, in the face of institutionalized prohibition against self-expression and individuality. Sculpted berms here, geometrically-patterned rows of exhaust stacks there, mastaba-shaped radar facility right over there, chalked footpaths everywhere.

The U.S. anti-ballistic landscape as a subset of Land Art.

Safeguard Program

Safeguard Program

Safeguard Program

One of his companions, a blogger of the built environment, will later report these inebriated musings, speculating further that those anonymous soldier-bureaucrat-architects must have been great admirers of the unbuilt works of Étienne-Louis Boullée. As an homage, they designed the radar building in the form of the master's pyramidal cenotaphs.

Safeguard Program

Even their monument-complex are pierced with holes, this blogger will blog, although they are not cosmically aligned. You will not see stars; they do not form constellations. Rather, they are aligned to millions of city dwellers halfway around the world, under surveillance, targeted for total erasure.

  • Anonymous
  • May 14, 2008 at 6:41:00 AM CDT
  • Here it is on google maps:,-98.35632&spn=0.001693,0.004919&t=k&z=18

  • tristan
  • May 15, 2008 at 12:11:00 PM CDT
  • dismayed by the hint that your youthful lips may have been sullied with the demon drink ... but grateful for the terrific blog, as usual ... thanx

  • erica
  • May 21, 2008 at 7:34:00 PM CDT
  • fabulous!

Post a Comment —
Comments on posts older than a week are moderated —

—— Newer Post Older Post —— Home