Unimaginary islands

La Maddalena is the story of architecture intersecting with politics and corruption and coming off worst. “The former Arsenal, partly planned by Stefano Boeri on the island of La Maddalena for the G8 in 2009, is one of the darkest moments of Italian politics in recent years – a polluted, abandoned and inaccessible site. The story of a disaster, symbolizing one of the largest financial and environmental squanders in recent years.” This glossy rendered vision of the revitalised and renewed facilities now stands in stark contrast to the reality. The buildings were built, but the summit was moved to L’Aquila, in the wake of the devastating earthquake earlier in the year.


La Maddalena is a film by Ila Beka and Louise Lemoine, following the architect around the shattered remains of his project – just five years old and its original condition a distant memory. It juxtaposes Boeri’s lament with the ‘earthly paradise’ of the small island of Budelli, three miles from La Maddalena. Here, “Mauro Morandi, solitary guardian of the island, has been living for more than 25 years as a Robinson Crusoe of the XXI century. Using what the storms and tides spill onto the beaches, he creates objects, sculptures and furniture. La Maddalena Chair is one of his creations, made of wood reclaimed from the sea and pieces of Murano glass from the facade of the former Arsenal.” The trailer can also be seen here; the films are part of the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale as part of the Monditalia exhibition.


Other things. ‘Adieu, Stage Center: The Long, Often Sad History of an American Icon’, at OkieModSquad / the London Hydraulic Power Company once pumped high pressure water around London to operate machinery. The last pumping station, in Wapping, enjoyed a starry afterlife as the Wapping Project. See also the Subterranea Britannica’s piece on Hydraulic power in London / Tilbury Riverside station, once disused, now the home of the Tilbury Riverside Arts Activity Centre, was once the grand intersection between rail and sea.


Random things. Ugly Belgian Houses / One Crazy Summer / From Watch Dogs to GTA V, why ‘video games are going to reshape our cities’ / A Guide to the New Forest, a work by Heywood Sumner of Cuckoo Hill / many beautiful sets and collections at the website of Oliver Tomas, owner of a fine flickr page.

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