There was a time, back in the sixties, when the humble sidewalk verander had seen its days and became the subject of brutal destruction.
The sidewalk verander played a pivotal role in protecting the shopper, padestrian and perambulator alike. Until the cleansing late sixties, veranders were as much a part of keeping a community dry as they were in keeping that same community post-leaning and or shade-seeking. They were essential to the stability of a young society rooted in architectural history and only ever considered for their practical assets. Their days were numbered.
There came a time, perhaps as I were sleeping, where the world changed from classical stodgy to progressive nakedness. Both, to date unrecognised, forms of architecture. A time when it become the pinnacle of cool to cut the excess in buildings to a bare minimum and install a visual desert which passed for housing and streetscape. It all had to go.
So, in keeping with the ever changing times, veranders made way for the ultra slick, shade elusive, umbrella mongering modern frontages we began to love and embrace as our own.
In a relatively stable period, the lean and mean look became our friend. We staked a claim to cleansed look. It became ours to protect and celebrate. Our stodgy roots no longer encumbered us and we were free to extol this new beginning. Free to go forward and make ourselves great for the first time.
All was well in the, let’s face it, quite conservative world of building evolution. That is until…..
There came a time, perhaps as I were sleeping, where it was suddenly important to recapture the olde world. Conservation became the way. Repurposing became the next great architectural movement.
It would be successfully argued that repurposing as a form of architecture, has been with us since the beginning. However this became a frenzied desire to replace everything which had changed. Veranders fell into the category of love lost and made a swift, generous return to our previously stark and polite streets.
So here we are. Settled in the new millennium, independent in our thinking and powerful. We know what we want and how to get it. Should architecture in any way not sate our omnipresent desire of the up to date best, then we hit the Internet and demand our share of the action. Our needs must be met. We are important and we care for our heritage as we do our future.
The turnaround period for the sidewalk veranders to be repurposed, has been quite lengthy. Somewhat of a cult gathering before actioning the change. The irony of once pulling down something to only later put it back, says a lot about the method by which our social machine ticks. We take time over decisions and as a community, we move when it is safe to move. Consequences can kill development, but understanding the consequences fully can save time, money and lives. In a world of change for the sake of change, where a friend today can be hated tomorrow, where numbers on a page resonate louder than physical reality, consequences must become our friend.
Consequences are not necessarily a hindering force especially when viewed as guidelines as opposed to penalties. For every action there is …………….. This does not restrict us but sets up a real understanding of what our verander removal could mean both for now and into the future. Should verander removal be illegal, then consequences of a different sort would apply.
The tools of the twenty first century afford us immense power. We have more world power as individuals today than at any other time in history. The fortunate power recipients such as ourselves, have responsibilities and those responsibilities demand of us, knowledge of how valuable and dangerous our modern tools are. The consequences of using them. We no longer have the time which was once afforded to us, to chew over things both as individuals and as communities. Yes, consultation and communication takes place, but essentially the power doesn’t necessarily lie in this area now. The source of power is in numbers and can be polled on a day by day, minute by minute basis through internet tools. Our stodgy classical ways of decision making and democracy, are being hijacked by the new force of changing numbers. We only need to look at the celebrity endorsements of today having shifted from cosmetics and coffee, to politics and which leaders provide today’s best feast of goodies. Consequences of our power are yet to be realised fully simply by the speed at which things change.
It is worth considering the veranders before they are are removed.
Perhaps an example of irony and the shift of the consequence base, is one I have encountered.
As a young hoon, it was the coolest to have what was known as a note emanating from the twin exhausts of the then hot car I drove. Much to my displeasure, the police required me to settle the noise down or face fines for disturbing the peace. Forward an undefined number of decades and we are now moving into the electric car era. NO NOISE! So it is likely as I tap into my conservative base and set up with a car just right for the times, that I could be hit with a fine for endangering the lives of others because my car doesn’t eminate a sound. Struth!