21 October 2009

Not-So-Flattering Views of Famous Places: fancy scaffolding that misses the point

Fact: European cities have historic buildings.
Fact: Historic buildings sometimes need some preservation work, particularly on their lovely crumbling/dirty/pigeon-nest-filled facades.
Fact: It is generally agreed that scaffolding is kind of ugly. Certainly uglier than said lovely facades.
So when work is required on their landmark buildings, cities often put massive, life-size drawings or photos of said buildings on the outside of the scaffolding, which gives the appearance that the building is unblemished, if oddly two-dimensional.
The fancy scaffolding covering must cost a fortune. I realize that. They need sponsors to defray costs. Sponsors like to have something in it for them, though, and they typically demand something more than a nice handwritten card or a fruit basket.
Like a nice billboard--that would be a great way to thank them. Please don't notice that it is HUGE and takes up more space than the actual illustration/photo of the building. Please don't comment that the very presence of the billboard completely misses the point of the fancy scaffolding. Please?
I saw tons of examples. Here are two: Berlin's Bebelplatz and Vienna's Votive Church.


  1. When I was in Europe about 10 years ago I was told those companies were sponsoring the renovations. Is this not true?

  2. Right, it's true (I presume). But why bother to have the fake facade if you're going to then put an ENORMOUS BILLBOARD on it? If corporations want to sponsor renovations, great, I support that. And I realize they want some credit. But billboards? On an architectural/cultural landmark? Really?!

  3. I agree...just fact checking. Enjoy reading your posts. :)

  4. Maybe they'll start selling naming rights too...

    "The Bank of America Eiffel Tower."

  5. @ Kelsey: Ha! I think we'd see another French Revolution over that.

    (And I'm a big fan of your writing, BTW, so I was pleased to see you stopped by my blog!)


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