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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Erotic Tower

posted by on October 19 at 14:07 PM

The top feature on Arcspace is about this marvelous tower:


A comment I made not too long ago:

“That breakage of rhythm, that “subversive edge,” as Roland Barthes calls it in The Pleasure of the Text, gives us a bliss that’s frankly erotic. Barthes writes: “The subversive edge may seem privileged because it is the edge of violence; but it is not violence which affects pleasure … what pleasure wants is the site of a loss, a seam, the cut, the deflation, the dissolve which seizes the subject in the midst of bliss.” The new Hearst Tower in Manhattan also has a thrilling breaking point, but it happens vertically rather than horizontally [as is the case with the Douglass-Truth Library expansion]. “(I)ts chiseled glass form rises with blunt force from the core of the old 1928 Hearst building,” the New York Times reports. “Past and present don’t fit seamlessly here; they collide with ferocious energy.”

Borrowing heavily from Barthes, who had a big impact on the middle part of my 20s, I made, nearly a decade ago, in another context, this comment about essence of a rupture:

The rupture is erotic; it is the pause one takes during pleasures of sex, the pause that breaks the rhythm of passion, so that one may gaze at what is happening. Look at the tangled bodies and feel not so much the physical contact between warm flesh, but the aura of sex: its invisible traces, its emanations.

It’s not the trust upward that makes the Hearst Tower sexy but the sudden and powerful break it makes from the past, and not so much the break then the critical line (or the line of crisis) between a new order and an old order, a new body and a old body, one system of beauty and another, older system of beauty.

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To find the soul of a building you have to go inside the damn thing. Looking at the photos, the interiors of Hearst Tower appear to be spectacular, moving, and....okay, sensual.

That exterior tower? Well, pretty corny. It wil probably grow on us over the years like the SF Transamerica has. But don't confuse pretty photos of buildings that no human ever sees for the architecture.

Posted by Orson | October 19, 2006 2:44 PM

TLDR. I like that they kept it real on the bottom floors though.

Posted by snapper | October 19, 2006 3:17 PM

Rumor is that one of our local developers is talking with Foster about designing a tower here in Seattle.

Posted by Arch Critic | October 19, 2006 3:51 PM

People are over-thinking this way too much. It's just a glass and steel building like any other office building. So this one has diamond-shaped windows instead of rectangular windows. Big deal.

Posted by please | October 19, 2006 5:16 PM

I saw this tower in NYC a few weeks ago. It definitely stands out from the rest and I thought was interesting to look at. But it didn't quite arouse me sexually. It's near Times Square, so maybe if that area was as seedy as it once was, it would be more arousing.

Posted by him | October 20, 2006 1:08 PM

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