Monday, January 20, 2003

Here's a problem that we have over here that y'all don't really have to deal with in America: buildings falling down. It's not incredibly unusual for a building, normally old, cheaply-made, and run-down, to at least partially collapse. It's also not unusual for a stone or tile or whatever to fall off the façade of a building. There were a couple of well-known cases of that fairly recently, a German tourist walking down the Paseo de Gracia when a rock fell on her head from the building she was passing in front of, and a young adult who was leaning against the rail of a balcony (from the inside) when the rail collapsed.

Well, here we go again: an Art Nouveau (modernista) building on the Ronda Sant Pau here in Barcelona is in the news. Two years ago it was torched; the fire started in a clothing warehouse on the ground floor. It was arson though I don't know whether anyone was convicted. Anyway, the back half of the building collapsed then though no one was hurt. The building was, of course, condemned and abandoned. It's still there, with the front in a lamentable state and no back at all. A bunch of squatters have moved in and are all pissed off because the building is finally going to be torn down. Get this, they're going to preserve the façade because it has artistic value. Looks to me like one of many hundreds of buildings in Barcelona of which I would say, "Look, it's a nice old building, leave it standing and fix it up if it's in decent shape, but for God's sake tear it down and screw the façade if it's a safety hazard, which it is."

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