As we're all gearing up for the beach this weekend I ask you take a look at the Rockaway's Lifeguard and Restroom Stations. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy October 2012, New York City along with it's Department of Design and Construction allocated $8.5 million to their construction. So while the Rockaways are still to this day in dire disrepair, this contract went to Garrison Architects and Triton Structural Builders/Designers. The motivation was to create mobile modular trailers to functions comfort stations along the Rockaways' newly constructed boardwalk.
The outcome are 35 trailers; 21 functioning as lifeguard stations and 11 acting as restrooms. The total cost was $113.5 million. Why, you may ask? Well ironically Garisson's mission focuses on well designed environments supporting social cohesion based on the modernist legacy and Triton is proud to construct your project right in every detail. Triton brags about constructing these prefabricated modular building in 87 days, 24/7 3 shift work schedule.
In contrast to the Bauhaus modernist movement, this is a perfect case where form did not follow function. The city, builders, and architects failed to realize and adhere to the NY and NYC highway and road weight restrictions. So it wasn't until after the design, pitch, contracting, and construction when all parties realized these trailers were too heavy to enter NYC via tractor trailer. NOBODY WAS HELD ACCOUNTABLE. So the added $5 million dollars was to pay for the trailers to be barged and craned onto the beach, therefore defeating the entire premise of this project "mobility". So with mobility, loss prevention, cost efficiency, disaster relief, evolution, and innovation thrown out the window, New York beach goers are at a loss.
So next time when you're at the beach and need to take a leak or need a band-aid, revel in the $3.2 million trailer, which easily could have been a $500-1000 Baywatch shack. Also imagine Walter Gropius frowning down upon this glorious feat in stupidity. Ironically enough both contractors received awards for this, and no I don't mean Darwin Awards.
100 Objects of Popular and Material Culture is an blog exploring the manifestations of human consumption and commodity-ization. The purpose of this experiment is to explore material and popular culture in contemporary society by using objects and concepts to prompt wider questions and reflections. So by emulating The British Museum's and Neil MacGregor's format of A History of the World in 100 Objects I plan to satirically analyze and reinterpreted 100 material culture objects over the course of 2014. Material Culture is the study of our culture's consumption of stuff; namely the manifestation of culture through material productions where people's perceptions of objects is socially and culturally dependent. With this, objects reflect conscious and unconscious beliefs on the the individuals who fabricated, purchased, or used them, and by extension the society where they live. So examining materiality, cultural truths and societal assumptions may be discovered. As anthropologist Arjun Appaduai states "in any society the individual is often caught between the cultural structure of commodity-ization and his own personal attempts to bring a value and order to the universe of things." Objects and commodities make up a much larger symbolic system consisting of want and need, socio-economic status, fashion, etc. Often times form follows function whether the commodity, market, and or consumer forever evolve around one-another. Philosopher Pierre Bourdieu's theories of capital flow full circle; where regardless if you are a minimalist or a hoarder the world is made up of things and everyone will leave their footprint on the earth. So by humorously analyzing marketed objects and concepts, hopefully this blog will provide further incite into ideas of over-consumption, a disposable society, consumerism vs. anti-consumers, planned obsolescence vs. sustainability, as well as the greater good of mankind and future generations.