Taiwan is a fairly amazing place, with Taipei as fine a metropolitan entity as there is. It’s a city of two halves, like many, with luxurious and spacious areas of incredible affluence, and close-quartered, dense networks of poorer residential parts. If anything though, the sense of complete security throughout the whole city makes these nothing but charming, and the bold, immaculate presentation of the city as seen in Taipei 101 seems more cold in comparison.
The tower itself is the home of high powered business, with the extending body of the structure housing an obscenely upmarket shopping mall, one quite ludicrously inaccessible to most of the city’s, let alone the country’s, residents. But it also has a renowned observation deck so there I was. I took this photo just before trying my hand at the wrong entrance and was quickly, quietly and politely pointed in the right direction. This scenario could be played out in almost any city in the world of course. They are becoming increasingly segregated economic villages.
More to the theme of this week’s challenge though, the abstraction makes me think about the constant changes in architectural values. It is a bleak little close-up, hinting at nothing more necessarily than any business park dark glass behemoth, and yet when you pull back you can see something truly grand. I live in London and this photo always makes me think of Westminster Abbey, oddly enough.
There’s another building with more visual beauty than was ever necessary. But if anything, it gets more beautiful the closer you go. The more detail you see in every wonderful bit of stone-masonry, the more I find myself thinking about that. Was it necessary? A building is ultimately functional and as Taipei 101 and many examples of great modern architecture show, crafts of that kind are actually not necessary as such.
They were just flourishes in an age where monolithic buildings were proxy to international competition. The Prussians rebuilt the Brandenburg Gate so the French built the Arc de Triomphe. A better question though, was it all worth it? Regardless of cause, in every instance I would say yes. Feasts for the eyes should not just be found in the totality of things and I’m grateful for the lost arts found in the finest examples.
Every seen a Hieronymus Bosch painting? Point proven.