UNMONUMENT AL COLLECTION KIMBERLY DAUL
TABLE OF CONTENTS MONUMENTS TO THE DEAD MONUMENTS TO POLITICAL LEADERS RELIGIOUS MONUMENTS MONUMENTS TO NATION-STATES NATIONAL MONUMENTS & NATIONAL TREASURES MONUMENTS TO THEMSELVES MONUMENTS OF AMBIGUITY MOCKING MONUMENTS MONUMENTS TO EXTRAVAGANCE, HYPOCRISY & FAILURE MONUMENTS TO THE IRRETRIEVABLE PAST FORGOTTEN MONUMENTS DIFFERENT SENSES, DIFFERENT SCALES MONUMENTS TO PEOPLE WHO NEVER LIVED & EVENTS THAT NEVER OCCURRED FILLING A MONUMENTAL VOID
INTRODUCTION This book serves as a collection of monuments in every form, from the most famous icons of ancient civilizations to new interpretations of what a monument can be. Monuments are built to honor and commemorate, to represent the political prowess or cultural pride of a nation, to preserve memories of triumph or sacrifice. But a monument can also serve as a geographical landmark, a tourist attraction, an abandoned disgrace, or even a manifestation of human indiscretion. We will explore all things ‘monument’ and ‘monumental’ – noting that the two do not necessarily go hand in hand. This survey will bring to light a host of new monuments with ambiguous meanings that commemorate odd phenomena and unexpected societal trends.
monument (män’ ye-ment) n. 1. A structure, such as a building or sculpture, erected as a memorial. 2. An inscribed market placed at a grave; a tombstone. 3. Something venerated for its enduring historic significance or association with a notable past person or thing.
Wikipedia definition: “A monument is a type of structure either explicitly created to commemorate a person or important event which has become important to a social group as a part of their remembrance of historic times or cultural heritage, or simply as an example of historic architecture. In English the world “monumental” is often used in reference to something of extraordinary size and power, as in monumental sculpture, but also to mean simply anything made to commemorate the dead, as a funerary monument or other example of funerary art. The word comes from the Latin ‘monere,’ which means ‘to remind’ or ‘to warn.’ The term is often used to describe any structure that is a significant and legally protected historic work. Monuments have been created for thousands of years, and they are often the most durable and famous symbols of ancient civilizations. In more recent times, monumental structures such as the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower have become iconic emblems of modern nation-states. The term ‘monumentality’ relates to the symbolic status and physical presence of a monument.”
Included in this collection are monuments to...
THE DECEASED A CITY POLITICAL RULERS NATURE THE PAST MILITARY TRIUMPHS GOVERNMENT POP CULTURE NOTHING SUCCESS A NATION EXTRAVAGANCE THE GODS FAILURE ANCESTORS FICTION THE FUTURE HISTORICAL EVENTS
MONUMENTS TO THE DEAD
The Giza pyramids are the most enduring symbol of an ancient civilization and its commemoration to the dead.
Ground Zero Memorial, New York City, NY
The â€˜moaiâ€™ of Easter Island honor and deify the deceased ancestors of the island tribe.
Monument aux Martyrs, Algeria
Al-Shaheed Monument, Baghdad
The World War I Monument to the Marne in northeastern France takes on a crude sculptural form similar to the moai of Easter Island.
The new Taj Arabia hotel soon to be built in Dubai will be a scaled replica of Indiaâ€™s Taj Mahal. Four times bigger in scale, the Taj Arabia will serve as a hotel, spa, and shopping center unlike its predecessorâ€™s original use as a mausoleum.
MONUMENTS TO POLITICAL LEADERS
The Column of Trajan and a wide variety of other statues and sculptures serve as portraits honoring the military triumphs of political leaders.
The Arc de Triomphe is one of Parisâ€™ most prominent monuments, a triumphal pronouncement of Napoleonâ€™s victories as an emperor. But today it serves more as a reminder of the juxtaposition between the modern metropolis and the historic town, particularly in the daily traffic jams at the Place de lâ€™Etoile.
The modern Bastille monument is in sharp contrast with the monumental fortress that once stood there.
Simple geometries like the obelisk and the cross serve as strong symbols of faith as well as religious advertisement.
Worldâ€™s largest cross in Effingham, Illinois
Bahaâ€™i temples are amongst the most highly visited religious monuments in the world, unique with their nine-faceted geometrical plans.
The Salvation Mountain in the Salton Sea grew organically as a collaborative and spontaneous monument in the desert.
Geometries like the cube, which serve as strong symbols of faith in places like Mecca, lose all meaning outside of a religious context. Here, a University of Michigan rotating sculpture merely acts as an engaging toy.
MONUMENTS TO NATION-STATES
Monuments like those in Brasilia commemorate historical events but more importantly act as symbols of national pride.
Azadi Tower, Tehran, Iran
Town halls and campaniles such as those in Italy, Austria, and Germany are monuments that serve their constituents as public spaces.
Vienna Rathaus, Austria
Marienplatz, Munich, Germany
Norman Fosterâ€™s addition to the Reichstag in Berlin is a monument to transparency and truthfulness in democracy.
How can we judge the effectiveness of a monument? Can marketability and iconography render a monument more “effective” or “useful” to its locale? Monuments that draw in tourism money and monuments replicated in the form of trinkets, coffee mugs, and Lego sets have become economic tools.
ITALY BRIANZA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
MONETARY VALUE OF MONUMENTS CONTRIBUTING TO GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT
$544 billion EIFFEL TOWER
$114 billion ROMAN COLOSSEUM
$112 billion SAGRADA FAMILIA
$103 billion DUOMO CATHEDRAL MILAN
$89 billion TOWER OF LONDON
$73 billion PRADO MUSEUM
$13 billion STONEHENGE
A Google search for ‘Paris monuments’ results in a host of maps featuring the city’s monuments as geographical landmarks and icons, unlike many other cities.
NATIONAL MONUMENTS & NATIONAL TREASURES
The Devils Tower in the Black Hills of Wyoming was declared the United Statesâ€™ first national monument in 1906 by Teddy Roosevelt.
Landscapes like Arches National Park in Moab, Utah, contain naturally occurring forms with monumental qualities.
The Matterhorn, Zermatt, Switzerland
Colorado National Monument, Grand Junction, Colorado
White Sands National Park in New Mexico is monumental in terms of its vastness; it features a desert of rare gypsum sand.
Mount Rushmore is a monument with a controversial history, having been constructed on a site formerly owned by Native Americans and sculpted by a known white supremacist.
The Crazy Horse monument currently in development is somewhat of a response to Mount Rushmore, honoring the Native American tribes who once roamed the northwest United States.
Throughout its history, humankind has had a tendency to monumentalize its traditions and accomplishments as far away as the moon.
A large portion of architectural icons known today as â€œmonumentsâ€? were never conceived as such when they were first constructed. From antiquity to the modern era, the most magnificent examples of architecture were intended to serve a specific purpose - political, civic, or religious - rather than to act as monuments.
Versailles is the epitome of monumentality - but this painting reimagines the famous faรงade as an infinitely expanding field, multiplying and perhaps therefore eliminating the monumental nature of the building.
Monuments may in some cases take on the form of a city or countryâ€™s most celebrated technological achievements. In the case of Geneva, Switzerland, CERNâ€™s Large Hadron Collider is the pride and joy of the locals and physicists around the world. With a $7.8 billion budget and a 17-mile circumference, the LHC is monumental in every way - despite being hidden from sight underground.
Olympic torches and the Olympics logo have long been symbols of international cooperation. Featured in monumental opening ceremonies and displays of cultural pride, they become monuments not only to collaboration but also to friendly competition.
Cultural icons like Uncle Sam or a London telephone booth can also serve as monuments to a nationâ€™s history and pop culture.
Strange statues and even subway maps developed for practical purposes have become icons and monuments of popular culture.
The Chicago Picasso and the sculptures auctioned through the city’s “Cow Parade” exhibition have become humorous symbols of civic pride in the Windy City.
Its shape having no connection to the city’s history or culture, “The Bean” (Cloud Gate) has nevertheless become a prominent monument in Chicago.
The annual dying of the Chicago River green for St. Patrickâ€™s Day has become a monumental tradition in the city.
Unlike Mount Vesuvius, mountains of garbage prevalent in Naples, Italy, have become prominent monuments to political unrest and corrupt government.
The harsh realities of daily life can monumentalize a cityâ€™s problems rather than its successes.
Blocks of ice and mounds of snow overshadow Finland’s architectural or sculptural monuments, much more ‘sincere’ to the country’s culture.
A monument to the French culinary tradition could be manipulated from existing architecture: Barcelonaâ€™s Torre Agbar reimagined as a baguette-shaped skyscraper.
In Reims, France, the only thing more famous than the Gothic cathedral is the regionâ€™s magnificent champagne production.
Wisconsin is largely devoid of memorable monuments, and even Calatrava’s Milwaukee Art Museum lacks any connection to the state’s cultural traditions. A ridiculous building in the shape of the infamous “cheesehead” might be a better symbol of pride to Wisconsin sports fans.
Statues of celebrated athletes could become monuments: Usain Bolt for Jamaica (imagined) or David Beckham for England (real, sponsored by his H&M underwear line).
BIGâ€™s Hashtag Towers and municipal plazas like Picadilly Circus in London and Times Square in New York have been considered monuments to the digital age. Towering data centers, along with vast amounts of data storage and even Facebook photos could also be monuments to digital waste.
MONUMENTS TO THEMSELVES
Lacking any significance other than advertising the words they spell out, signs such as these become monuments to themselves.
Amsterdam’s most famous statue is a must-see for tourists visiting the city. A mere monument to the city’s name, “iamsterdam” is not an easily replicated icon. The notion can be reimagined for few other places around the world.
Wall Drug is a convenience store built alongside a highway in South Dakota. The only gas station for miles, it evolved into a large shopping center and tourist attraction for roadtrippers. Billboards advertising Wall Drug were erected next to any road within hundreds of miles; and distance markers cropped up as far away as Amsterdam, Baghdad, and the South Pole.
Follies might also be considered monuments to themselves, having no real purpose other than to please the owner. The Desert de Retz in France is a home shaped like a Doric column ruin.
Anish Kapoorâ€™s Monumenta exhibit at the Grand Palais in Paris served as a sculpture with no other goal than to simply be monumental.
MONUMENTS OF AMBIGUITY
Monuments to tragic events such as the Berlin Holocaust Memorial or the Vietnam War Memorial sparked debate with their solemnity. The Berlin Wall itself was a monument sending mixed messages: one of â€˜protectionâ€™ and one of extreme repression.
Unlike the most common monuments to the dead throughout the world, Auschwitz-Birkenau played a sinister role in the death of the people it now commemorates. The site is a sunny and cleaned-up version of its former self, unlike other less renowned concentration camps throughout Europe, with only a few remains of the Nazisâ€™ attempts to cover up or destroy evidence of what had taken place there. Auschwitz therefore becomes not only a monument to a horrific tragedy but also a monument to the passing of time and the loss of information.
Some sites are home to monuments that change and whose meanings evolve. The World Trade Centerâ€™s cycle of monumentality has included horror and destruction, hope and rebuilding, and most recently annoyance in response to mockery.
The statue atop Berlinâ€™s Brandenburg Gate has a long history of relocation and repurposing. Stolen away to France by Napoleon, stolen back by the Germans, and used as a billboard for Nazi power, the statue has served as a monument to a wide range of political agendas.
Change as a result of natural decay may even alter the symbolism of a monument. The Statue of Liberty, once a bold copper color, has lost all its shine.
Across: Artist Peter Gnass developed exhibitions in Paris, Brussels, and Montreal featuring collections of monuments with their backs turned to viewers. Out of context and viewed from atypical angles, these monuments lose their monumentality.
The Barcelona Pavilion has become such a strong monument of Modern architecture that it has been deemed â€œtoo iconicâ€? by some architecture enthusiasts.
The proud lion statue in Trafalgar Square has become nothing more than a gathering point for photo ops. In this case, a Scottish man celebrates his teamâ€™s triumph over the English.
A blog entitled â€œBuildings+Beersâ€? encourages architecture students to snap photos of themselves drinking in front of famous architectural landmarks (and list educational descriptions).
Maison du BrĂŠsil - Le Corbusier
Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion - SANAA
The Guggenheim New York - Wright
City of Arts and Sciences - Calatrava
Notre Dame de Paris
FAT’s “Nonument” in the Hague acts as an ironic monument to nothing. A castle perched upon a small man-made mountain, it occasionally appears to light on fire.
A new bell tower introduced on the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana campus was met with harsh criticism from students. Pranksters manifested their displeasure by mounting an â€˜eye of Sauronâ€™ atop the tower during construction.
The Fallen Monuments Park in Moscow contains a strange array of monuments to former Soviet leaders that were toppled or dismantled. In some cases the fallen monuments have been re-erected for display, as Stalinâ€™s statue was, which then become â€˜monuments to old monuments.â€™
The poet Shelley contemplated the notion of a fallen monument in “Ozymandias,” where he admired the remains of a colossal Greek statue. The toppling of monuments has remained a powerful political symbol, as was displayed during the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue in 2003.
Vandalization and mockery of monuments or political regimes has been a popular historic trend: a Soviet monument in Bulgaria was repainted to look like American superheroes; political artwork featured Saddam preserved in formaldehyde; and leftover Russian tanks were painted a girly pink.
The Trevi Fountain in Rome has been subject to multiple protests in recent years. One political group dyed the fountainâ€™s water red to protest the high costs of a film festival taking place in the city.
Artist Sam Durant collects images of â€˜defaced monuments.â€™ The most common acts of vandalism occurred on monuments associated with American political figures: here, a Statue of Liberty in Bordeaux, France, was painted red and burned by protestors of the American invasion of Iraq.
MONUMENTS TO EXTRAVAGANCE, HYPOCRISY & FAILURE
The Queen of Versailles film documented the life of a wealthy time-share executive and his familyâ€™s dream of building the largest home in America. The documentary took an interesting detour when the 2008 stock market crash put their project on hold and nearly put the familyâ€™s company out of business.
The enormous home remains unfinished, its $75 million budget no longer feasible for the Siegal family. The empty house looms over its Florida neighborhood as a monument to American extravagance.
Unfinished hotel projects in Las Vegas serve as a constant reminder of the economic meltdown.
The Chicago Spire promised to be the newest and most exciting addition to Chicagoâ€™s skyline, but developers failed to close the deal on the project. A large hole in the ground for the beginnings of a foundation is all that remains of the ill-fated project.
Marie Antoinetteâ€™s hameau de la reine in Versailles was a playhouse for a girl who found the royal lifestyle tiresome and fantasized about the â€˜quaintâ€™ life of a peasant. It remains the ultimate monument to royal ignorance.
MONUMENTS TO THE IRRETRIEVABLE PAST
The remains of the ancient city of Pompeii is a vast memorial to a lifestyle preserved forevermore.
Unlike ancient Pompeii, the village of Oradour-sur-Glane in France is a 20th-century ruin. Destroyed during World War II, the village is a haunting portrayal of modern warfare.
The Seven Ancient Wonders of the World continue to enthrall history buffs and architecture enthusiasts to this day. The Tower of Babel and the Colossus of Rhodes once loomed over their surroundings as iconic monuments to human ingenuity.
The Lighthouse of Alexandria is another monument lost over time; but the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus â€˜lives onâ€™ today in replicated form at the Masonic House of the Temple in Washington, D.C.
Astounding monuments from Worlds Fairs past and present are temporary in nature; many have been destroyed and can only be remembered - or even commemorated - in photographs or paintings. The memory of a monument may in fact become a monument itself.
Prentice Womenâ€™s Hospital in Chicago is a Brutalist monument that will cease to exist if it is demolished within the next few years.
The Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Versailles (ENSA-V), Versailles’ premiere architecture school, houses a locked-off corridor filled with faulty columns and sculptures intended for use at the Louvre. These ‘mistakes’ or ‘leftovers’ are monuments to trial and error, but they still stand as monumental pieces of craftsmanship within the confines of the school.
These forgotten monuments of Yugoslavia once honored the Soviet regime and became busy tourist destinations. Since then, they have fallen out of favor in Yugoslavia, despite their monumental and innovative geometries.
DIFFERENT SENSES, DIFFERENT SCALES
The smell of a place like the lavender fields of Provence might become an abstract â€˜monumentâ€™ to the regional culture. Conversely, the reeking odors of Gary, Indiana, serve as monuments to the industrial era and its harmfulness to the environment.
The Sibelius Monument in Helsinki commemorates the work of brilliant Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. The musical sounds generated by the passing of the wind through the pipes becomes more monumental than the sculpture itself.
Reimagining a piece of scenery at a different scale alters the perception of monumentality. A Zen rock garden scaled up 100 times becomes a series of monolithic monuments.
Similarly, the scaled-up Giantâ€™s Causeway rock formation in Ireland becomes a vast and towering hillside city of monumental proportions.
MONUMENTS TO PEOPLE WHO NEVER LIVED & EVENTS THAT NEVER OCCURRED
Arthurâ€™s Seat atop the Holyrood Hill in Edinburgh honors the legendary King Arthur. The site is considered a possible location of Camelot, Arthurâ€™s castle and court.
The Little Mermaid is Copenhagenâ€™s most prized memorial statue, honoring the story by Hans Christian Anderson.
London also features statues to its beloved literary figures, most famously that of Peter Pan. In recent years, the rise of popularity of the Harry Potter series has prompted the creation of monuments to the young wizard’s story, in particular the insertion of half a cart into ‘Platform 9 3/4’ at Kings Cross Station.
New Zealand’s Wellington airport recently erected this ‘Gollum monument’ in anticipation of the upcoming Hobbit film. The country has gone to great extents to commemorate the impact of the Lord of the Rings films on its economy and reputation, calling itself ‘Middle Earth’ and using airplanes as billboards.
Some monuments do not only memorialize fictional stories but remain fictional themselves. Ă‰tienne-Louis BoullĂŠe envisioned a variety of monuments and monumental buildings such as his Cenotaph for Newton that were never realized; they will likely remain in the realm of fantasy.
Author J.K. Rowling envisioned this Ministry of Magic statue as a monument to oppression and racism in the fifth Harry Potter book.
Middle Earth as described by J.R.R. Tolkien contained a host of monuments and several examples of monumental architecture, such as the city of Minas Tirith.
The tower of Orthanc at Isengard was a dark and grim monument to industrialization and greed. It is sharply contrasted with the Gates of the Argonath, the bold but welcoming guardians to the realm of Gondor.
FILLING A MONUMENTAL VOID
Humans have always felt the need to memorialize their actions and will likely continue to do so. What will future monuments commemorate and what will they look like? Do architects yearn for their unbuilt projects to be honored in physical form? How else might we envision the future of monumentality?
Collage of UCLA School of Architecture & Urban Design student work
UNMONUMENT AL COLLECTION KIMBERLY DAUL