Master Masonry: Southwestern Skill

Behold this remarkable triumph in subdivision building. Begun in 1446, this ravishing neighborhood in Prescott, AZ took seven generations, fourteen thousand gallons of sweat, six hundred and twenty million square feet of blood, and three hundred and thirty thousand pints of tears to build. Men toiled day and night to erect this beauteous gem for the Medici family, those powerful and inbred patrons of the arts who commissioned the domes of buildings of comparable hideousness and insignificance such as the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence.

What makes this beautiful street special from an artistic standpoint is its architectural integrity; its use of vinyl, plywood, and PVC; as well as its irreverent desecration of the landscape. It is no mistake that its hauntingly hollow and soulless appearance resembles an abandoned film set: its Master Masons intended it to convey a feeling of unreality; a deep resonance of the inwardly vacant, the nightmarish, and the artificial. In fact, when I shot this street in or around 2002, it was an uninhabited paragon of the rash and unnecessary building boom that, in part, precipitated the global financial crisis.

Astoundingly, only three deaths were recorded during the six-hundred-year construction of this masterpiece–a remarkable feat, given the fourteen miles of perilous scaffolding that had to be erected in order to construct this neighborhood’s breathtaking central boulevard. Not surprisingly, however, the existence of this ethereal environment resulted in the suicides of eleven people between 2008 and 2009. Prescott’s gold standard of esteemed reportage, The Daily Hurrier, noted that the neighborhood’s lack of trees and flourishing plant life, its absence of a nourishing atmosphere, its cry for depth of space, and its howl for one iota of soul, as well as its utter deficit in artistry, caused the self-destruction of the eleven unfortunate individuals. Indeed, the Master Masons of this magnum opus succeeded triumphantly in rewriting the rules of Western architecture in order to achieve this oeuvre.

This entry was posted in AZ, Cities, Contemporary architecture, Houses, Neighborhoods, Prescott, Subdivisions and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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