Megalomania Too Much is Never Enough
Architecture is an art of excess. The human being--a prisoner to his fragile corporal envelope, destined to, at best, survive a century before vanishing forever--dreams of building for enternity. Whenever money, power, or authority permits, he tries to build huge, majestic edifices that will lastingly celebrate the destiny of their owner. From the pyramids of Egypt to the Burj al-Arab hotel, through Xanadu, Brasilia, or the Millenium Dome, Megalomania lists the masterpieces, lines them up like so many trophies, a row of extravagances from the four corners of the world in which space, that supreme luxury, is everywhere in excess. Megalomania is a psychological disorder consisting in overestimating one's capacities, and many a builder has paid dearly for his paranoid excesses. One merely has to think of the scandal of the Millennium Dome in London, the disasterous ecological consequences of the Aswan Dam, towering infernos transformed by the film industry into characters in their own right ... virtual iron and steel King Kongs. When stone accelerates, swells, and gesticulates, provokes, screams, and transforms itself into propaganda for a human destiny that sees itself as a saga, architecture oscillates between the cenotaph, the space capsule, and El Dorado.