Building big

"Cenotaph for Newton"
“Cenotaph for Newton”

There have always been “mega-building projects”. In the past, these were large hydro-electric projects, and more recently skyscrapers competing to be the tallest building.

Today one such mega-project is “the line”, which aims to cut across the desert in a narrow strip blanketed by sheer glass walls.

I find this ridiculous, but hey I’m not the one spending half a trillion on it, so I’m happy to watch them try.

I want humanity to build something gigantic, but my desires had tended towards something functional, like a large space station, or a space elevator, or some such.

Then I discovered Étienne-Louis Boullée.

None of his buildings were ever realized1, but his are the sort of ideas I can get behind.

My favorite2 is the “Cenotaph for Newton” (image above), but all his buildings exude some sort of quality I cannot name.

This is something I wish would be made in the world today. It can be.

These are all within our ability to make, lacking only the will to make them. I don’t particularly care who makes them, as long as they exist and are accessible.

  1. Well, except for residential work, like this, which still shows his influence.
  2. Biased by having recently read an astonishing account of his life. If someone deserves a monument like this, it’s him.