January 6th, 2009 by rbanks
Lebbeus Woods has started a series of fantasy entries on his blog, tied to his beautiful sketches. The first is about a city built into rocky crags, the City of Earth. His prose style reminds me of H.P. Lovecraft, for some reason, creating a slight atmosphere of foreboding, that I’m not sure was intended. Maybe this is because I imagine the city he’s describing as vacant, abandoned for some reason (the sketches seem to support this). Anyone who’s played Bioshock knows this feeling.
“The particularly mountainous region I first encountered was certainly inhospitable to building. Jagged, rocky ridges were separated by steep chasms rather than welcoming valleys. Yet many large structures had been built. Clinging to the cliff faces, or cut into them, or set into almost inaccessible promontories, the structures were built largely of concrete with much the same color as the rocks. Adorning them were more delicate armatures of iron that were rusty, in much the same manner as industrial buildings I knew well from my own country. From these aspects I reasoned that this was a mining community, one in which the people were primarily engaged in cutting and digging into the earth to extract its hidden mineral riches. As I was to learn, this reasoning was only partially correct.”
“Here, in strata upon strata of volcanic rock, were spaces inhabited by a community of people engaged in some sort of industry. There were dwelling spaces, hollowed out from the dark earth masses. There were machines that captured an eerie form of light different from that far above. There were vast caverns in which I saw entangled, monumental forms that were like fragments of the lucid geometric volumes I had seen in the city above, but here broken into disparate parts and linked together by tendril-like passageways and conduits, creating a vast, indeterminate network, rather than a geometrically coherent form. All of this was revealed by an inner-earth glow, amid a constant, throbbing heat. It soon became clear that the harnessing of heat energy, as a source of motive power, I imagined, was the industry of this underground community.”