Mick Hartley on Hadid’s new Antwerp Port House

Yes, favorite blogger-of-mine Mick Hartley has been checking out, and photoing, the now finished Havenhuis, and has this to say about it:

I noted earlier – before I’d seen it in situ – that “it looks like it’s just plonked imperiously on top of the original building, with no attempt at a sympathetic conversation between the two”. Having now had the chance to look around and check it out for myself, I think that’s still a fair summary.

There follow several excellent photos of the building, of the sort that amateurs like Mick Hartley (and I) have a habit of doing better than the hired gun Real Photographers, because we tell the truth about how the new Thing in question looks, and in particular about how it looks alongside the surroundings it has inserted itself into. Real Photographers know that their job is to lie about such things, to glamorise rather than to describe accurately. Their job is to force you to like the Thing. Amateurs like me and like Mick Hartley take photos that enable you to hate the new Thing even more eloquently, if that’s already your inclination.

And of all the photos Hartley shows, this one most perfectly illustrates that “disrespect” that he writes of. “Conversation”? Fornication, more like, inflicted by one of those annoyingly oversexed dogs:

I still like this Thing, though. I mean, time was when any disrespect felt by the architect towards that older building would have resulted in the old building being demolished. Which is worse? Disrespect? Or oblivion? Perhaps the latter would have been more dignified. Execution has a certain grandeur, when compared to a further lifetime of potential ridicule. But I still prefer what happened.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

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