2/10/2005

Selfishness-Ugliness


With no efforts made to enforce laws that do not permit people to selfishly damage the appearance of the buildings they share with others, this mess of a building is not an uncommon sight in Damascus.

8 comments:

Chanad said...

Hmmm... it's ugly... but you know it's also quite beautiful. The lines, the colour, the shapes, the spaces... among the chaos is order.

No?

Anonymous said...

Well the pic is good, so that makes the building look interesting...But in reality, with so many buildings looking like that you get tired of all that mess...People can be very selfish

Anonymous said...

Are you saying that the original building, as designed by the architect, would have looked better? I don't understand. It doesn't seem to be the fault of the dwellers who changed paint colors, added windows, hang laundry and so forth. I think those additions add texture and interest to a very boring facade. The problem is the building - it's too big and ugly, and yes, too many of them would be depressing.

My hometown, a village that's a suburb of Saida, Lubnan, suffers from the same problem - highrises as far as the eye can see, in what used to be orchards. And a couple of mountains utterly defaced by big sprawling palaces belonging to the relatives of a certain billionaire leader - each mountain has to have not only a monster house, but lots of new roads gashed into the living soil, with no good reinforcement so the very earth bleeds; and then they like to add big ugly lights on poles, such as are used in sports stadiums for night games. At least ugly apartment buildings serve the purpose of housing the people, unlike these wasteful, environmentally harmful palaces.

I wish my brothers in Syria and Lebanon cared about building beautiful structures to harmonize with our beautiful land and our ancient and gorgeous architectural traditions. So it costs a little more - people will take care of structures that are humanely designed and gorgeous, whereas big box high rises turn into instant slums. American and European housing projects from the 60s were notorious for this sort of thing. Arab culture is more cohesive so thank God we're not seeing the same social degradation, I hope, but these buildings are dehumanizing for the people in them and bad for society, not just ugly.

Thanks for listening to my rant. I have some strong opinions, you see. Mashallah.
Signed, Leila at Dove's Eye View
bedouina.typepad.com

Anonymous said...

Leila again - I'm looking at the picture and your comment. I'm sorry, the building doesn't look bad at all to me. In fact, it looks pretty neatly maintained, if variegated. You must not have traveled to Cairo, or else you wouldn't think this is a mess. This building looks better than many upper class Cairo buildings I've seen. You want to see a mess, look at a housing complex in Cairo.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't say that the building is ugly or beautiful. It's just typical of other buildings in the suburb where its located. (and I might add this is a modern suburb. I am guessing its AlMalki. yes no. I might be wrong because I have been away from Damascus for many years. Ayman what suburb is it?)

The same story would apply if Ayman took a photo of a building in Mezza or Mashroo'a Domar or even old Damascus. The common thing is that, in general, each Damascene suburb has a typical style of buildings and this gives the surburb a cohesive and harmonious look regardless whether the individual buildings are ugly, beautiful, tidy, chaotic..

In my opinion buidlings will look borring if every flat and balcony had to have the same appearance.

I think the real selfishness and ugliness is when somebody builds a building that is out of place (both in design and size) with the surrouding environment, and shows no respect for history of the area. The best example is the four seasons hotel in the middle of Damascus. Nobody supports it and everybody thinks its ugly. I was shocked when is saw it during my last visit. May God help prevent another similiar tragedy happening in the now-vacent area of the Damascus International Fair.

Amr

Ayman said...

Well, I think the original building is ugly, just like most residential buildings in "New" Damascus. They all look the same, but some are extraorinarily huge and ultra-ugly, like the one in the picture (and believe me, Leila, it looks much more uglier in reality!) In my opinion, the main factor that contributed to "ugliness" is the original design, which, like Amr said, "is out of place with the surrounding environment and shows no respect for history," but people's additions and modifications added more harm.

Amr, this building is in Mazzeh, but you're right, you can find very similar ones in any other Damascus neighbourhood.

Serbest said...

Wel..enough comments I think. But I have to add that most of those residential buildings were built in the late 1960s and 1970s where we, as Syrians, took the predominant "idelaistic reality" image of the former Soviet Union. That's why I think most buildings in Damascus look the same: Huge (to accommodate the largest portion of people), brown (as to reflect the feelings of people in that time... I'm serious), and with same facilities (maybe for this reason were rejected, because as Syrians we have proven that we like to have independent residence with no neighbors.. who doesn't?)

bjorn said...

to me it looks great, individualism at it's peak, thanks to all the laws we have here (in holland) all houses look more or less the same