martes, 29 de julio de 2014

Osmosis of decay

Institutional buildings reflect in their aesthetic the health of those organizations they contain. This premise is not at all new. It is obvious to anyone with keen eyesight. The history of architecture books are full of such cases. The famous Roman Coliseum  -a building I refuse to accept as "Wonder of Humanity" - lived dark times after the fall of the Empire, during which it stopped being the built emblem of  Roman brutality,  and became an abandoned site for herd sheep. Much time had to pass to regain his former Coliseum "sparkle", adapted as a stronghold of the papal armies.

This characteristic of the buildings is not alien to us Ecuadorians. We can find out a lot about our history, not only seeing the preservation of our buildings, but also analyzing the alterations made in them and the reasons why they occurred. Our City Hall became passed through worse times, and such a crisis could be seen in the decay of its facades. A walk inside the Palacio de Carondelet could also show us the readjustments made ​​by those who, decades ago, were doing transcendental meditation rather than govern.

The headquarters building of the United Nations in New York, is a very important milestone in contemporary architecture. His conception was the result of work done by a committee of architects, composed of representatives from around the world. Among them protruded great modernist, as Oscar Niemeyer and Le Corbusier. Of the fifty different proposals the "Scheme 23 A", developed by Le Corbusier was selected.

I grew up with the idea that the United Nations was the highest expression against the atrocities committed during World War II and, therefore, the foundation of a new humanism. Great was my disappointment when in August 2009 I found a poorly maintained building; soot-stained windows and marble pieces missing on its facades. The ceilings were attacked by water stains and leaks. In its showroom, there was a sample of the horrors suffered in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A layer of dust and neglect covered the photographs of that gruesome historic event.

Since then it became clear to me, that the United Nations of nowadays are neither the doodle of what it should have been. I see images in the news, both from the Security Council and the General Assembly, and find images of apathetic and disinterested against sterile rhetoric speeches. The picture of George W. Bush asking to Condoleezza Rice,  if he could go to the bathroom is a sadly memorable example.

The United Nations is not a way to solve Humanity's problems. On the contrary, it is where Americans, Russians and Chinese block whatever that goes against their interests. No wonder we have today such tragic events as Gaza, without the UN going beyond of an insipid reproach  to the parties involved.