Charles has serially waxed rhapsodic about the supergreen Bullitt Center, which is grand-opening at 15th and Madison, where C.C. Attle’s used to be, right this very moment. Indeed, it is impressive. More importantly to my bicycle, part of the grand opening is free bike repair, carried out on the spot by a very nice man named Matt, who runs the Polka Dot Jersey bicycle shop in Leschi. (The reference is to the winner in the climbing stages of the Tour de France—if you can demonstrate any knowledge about this, Matt will be gratified.) My bike had been changing gears all on its own, as if by an unseen hand, or indeed, as if there were a ghost in—or on—the machine. Matt remedied this situation in approximately four minutes, and also added air to my tires, changing the relationship of my bicycle—indeed, my very self—to the road.
The point here is: This building may be beautiful, it may be green, it may know when to shade its own windows, it may have composting toilets, but this building has done me a concrete service—you might even say a service involving concrete itself. The building has also, for a brief moment on a sunny day, thrown off the shackles of capitalism, escaped the unseen hand of the market, giving this concrete service that at any other time requires payment in kind for no kind of payment at all. This is a thing that changes one's relationship to architecture.