Tuesday, March 11, 2008


To walk through a large hospital, as I did at Wellington
Hospital today, is to feel, concentrated in one place, the
powerful gravitational pull of illness and death. How
easy it would be—you think—to allow yourself to get
sick and be sucked into this warm humming machine of
treatment and medication. Something wants to look
after us here, bigtime.

The hospital is one big building site right now. A small
city of pristine tower blocks has arisen to accommodate
those of us who may at some point in our lives be
afflicted by mortality. The main building that for many
years fronted Riddiford St has been torn down, of
course, but deep in the heart of the building site you
will see a strange sight: the old pillared façade of that
building standing alone and unsupported, awaiting,
no doubt, relocation to some inappropriate spot.

The curious and ugly practice of retaining old façades in
front of new buildings that have nothing architecturally
in common with them is called in New York, which also
suffers from it, "façadicide."

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