Sunday, 31 May 2009

I'm stuck in Greece, a town called Volos if you want to look it up. Nice place, recommend it if you like ordinary things. Nice harbour, good grilled octopus by the side of it. Not that I've got much time to enjoy it, I spend most of my day sitting in a cafe staring at a hospital. My father in law has grown a leg that looks like a donner kebab. Hospitals are not nice places, we have to confront our bodies. Your body is all you're left with in hospital, and all of it and it's processes are not pleasant to observe. In hospital we are forced to confront it all- shit, piss and vomit and blood and death. So I sit pretty melacholic in the cafe opposite between my visits in to the halls of doom, as my wife and her sisters spend hours and hours looking after their dad. 
The hospital itself is only four years old, and its bombastic with contemporary architectural pride, yet it's unfortunate that the authorities cannot fund any nurses to work in it. Family members are expected to provide 24 hour care in Greece, which is why we are here.
There is something horrible about this hospital as I sit staring at it hour after hour. I find myself engrossed in it's architectural qualities or lack of them (and right now, I'm not even going to start on the interior) . The whole idea of the thing from the outside is a grid of metallic cladding panels. Grids give a bad architect away.  The more I look, the more I laugh, then I feel some kind of pathos for the poor bloody architect as his dream of perfect grid faded away to dust. The Greeks are unfortunately hardly German. Ungers did good grids, and Germans built them with accuracy and fastidiousness. The Greeks, as in everything, show a more pragmatic and somewhat more relaxed approach. The more you look over this field of hopeful grid, the more  you find agonizing cock up. This is why Mies was so great and why the architect of this hospital is probably crying. It is a most interesting contemporary illustration of Robert Smithson's piece 'Hotel Pelenque'.  It seems to sum up the whole Greek thing. 
However, it is the only hospital I've ever see with a decent beach attached.

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