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Kubrick didn't die; he only fell asleep and began to dream

In 1955, Canadian uranium magnate Joseph Hirshhorn commissioned Philip Johnson to design a plan for an entire town in Ontario, Canada. The project was never realized. Public Spirit, an animated tour of this Utopian town, debuted at the prestigious “Directions” exhibit in the Hirshhorn Museum on November 7th, 2008. ...[The town] was designed by Philip Johnson according to a progressive modernist program. Special attention was paid to aesthetics; Hirshhorn requested "the most beautiful small town in the world."

...and watching the short video portrait of it will give you weeks of nightmares about opening your veins in the middle of a remorseless glass room and, as soft, pulsating electronic music plays, watching your own viscous gore drench the world in a warm, rich red your eyes have been starved for.


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Comments (9)

Garth Wood:

Dear God.

This reminds me of a cross between the high school I attended in Mississauga (Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School) and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado (which, IIRC, was designed and built during the 1950s).

I still get the heebie-jeebies thinking of that high school...


Garth, I can one-up your experience. I went to SFU. behold the library.

This is classic modernist madness, but I love the touch of building cramped apartments a mile from town in the middle of the woods. It's the car-dependence of the suburbs crossed with the rat-cage living conditions of the urbs!

Kubrick is the right reference, but this felt like an attempt to recreate the bleak emptiness of the Overlook Hotel on a city scale.

Garth Wood:

Actually, SFU's library always kinda reminded me of the Law Courts building in Edmonton.

Something icky this way comes.


Yeah, in that photo it's a dead ringer for our Inverted Ziggurat of Justice.

Yikes, a Philip Johnson town. Reminds me of Le Corbusier's "Contemporary City" and "Radiant City" ideas, but with glass walls instead of concrete.

And that SFU library does look nasty. Of course, where I live now I have to see this thing more often than I like. There is welcome talk of its possible abandonment and destruction these days, though.

During the video my ears hear about the "elegant Hirshorn Hotel" but my eyes see regular ol' low-class, flimsy-looking Modernist crap. Gosh, Cosh: which should I believe??? The narrator, or my lyin' eyes???

Garth Wood:

Back when I was in my one lone year of law school at the U. of A., I spent way too much time in that effing building (and I wasn't some volunteer law student, either).  It is to weep.


P.S.: The pic Colby links to was taken Jan. 1987, which, oddly enough, is right in the middle of the year I was studying law.  Weirdness.

(Doesn't look any better in colour, either.)


The SFU Library Building looks cool. It's like a spaceship or something.

Were I an SFU student, I would dress in my best Buck Rogers suit and Neil Armstrong helmet to study in the library. If anyone came to take me away, I should blast him with my Disintegrater Gun.

What SFU stand for, anyway?


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