customs building, Zacho, Iraq - a critique - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 04-20-2007, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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customs building, Zacho, Iraq - a critique

"Look at its architecture and buildings. Arab architecture and building techniques in the backwoods can be flatteringly called rustic, but that implies a certain primitive charm. More accurately, they can be compared with the efforts of a beginners class in pottery--somebody has explained the general idea, but the results are not exactly Wedgewood. Here the buildings are constructed on liberal principles with tolerances of two to six inches inplaces where things should join flush. A two foot lean in an upright is permissible.

At the end of the main customs hall is a window which is intended to be a gothic arch with straight sides elegantly curving to a point in the top. This one could have been drawn by Picasso in a drunken moment. The doors have great originality, all being interesting trapezoids with no two sides parallel or equal in length, whoever installed them must have held the plumb line in a strong breeze.
Surveying the interior, one driver who has experience in the British building trade, exclaims: "You'd pay money to get into a building like this on the Pleasure Beach at Blackpool or Coney Island. I can't work out how it stands up."
The paintwork has the same unique quality of free expression: the man who painted the window frames obviously used a flat brush, broadside on. The paint is applied to an irregular six inch border off the window pane and smeared across the rest to look like windows in a new building in a Western town when the glaziers have splashed them with whitewash to show that the glass has been put in. But the Zacho paint is permanent.

On the other side of the border post is the passport office and it surpasses the constructional follies of the customs house by a wide margin. The doors are held to their frames by nails hammered through screw holes in the hinges. Locks miss latches by several inches and are secured by chains passed through loops made by nails whacked into the woodwork and bent double. The whole shambles is held together by six inch nails. The passport chief's office has a window at the end which fills the wall. It is held in by knobs of putty about an inch and a half in diameter squeezed into place by thumb. No attempt has been made to smooth the putty or force it into the gap between frame and glass; finger and palm prints of the workman's hands are left as dried, permenant mementos of his work. A quarter of the glass has been cut away at the bottom and an AEC air-conditioning unit inserted, but the air-conditioner takes up only one third of the window width so the gaps either side are plugged with Kellogs cereal boxes. These do not quite fill the gap, so yellowing, screwed up newspapers have been rammed in as well. The wires for the unit dangle under the window sill; wires hang round the room and in the corridor outside; unattached wires protrude from walls or are tied in a knot and slung over a nail.
Plaster has fallen from the walls, which are a uniform black colour shading to dirty gray at shoulder height. They are shiny to the touch. Dust, litter and rubble cover the floors.

This is a new building, put up three years ago to handle the increasing traffic. tghe air of dilapidation is all pervading, the squalor is absolute.

The truly horrifying thought is that thisw wealthy nation, while manifestly showing an abysmal lack of basic skills, has in its hands batteries of complex Sam missiles and armouries off sophisticated weapons. And in Baghdad, until the Israelis blasted it sky high, they had a nuclear reactor."

COLA COWBOYS, Franklyn Wood (1984)

<--- superschnelle 300 hp 10:1 ECE euro HV, Hochverdichtung = high compression (11/2011) ... Wie im Freien Fall. Nur horizontal.

"I swear to god, it's like I live in a trailer of common sense, and stare out the window at a tornado of stupidity." >'='<

Last edited by cascade; 04-20-2007 at 04:44 PM.
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