The shuttle launch was cancelled today due to weather.
This launch was for a mission called “pedestrian” in its importance. It was an odd term for what now to many seems like a very “normal” occurrence, but yet to me each time seems like such an extraordinary event. The distillation of the launch news in the press cannot, of course, recall at each event all of the impressive engineering that makes this possible. But today’s cancellation news made me recall nonetheless the pride that was still resonating, in an AE firm I had joined 20 years ago, for their design still years earlier of the shuttle launch pad, and especially the system that floods the area with water to cool it after the enormous “controlled explosion” that lifts this enormous ship into space.
It caused me to google the Vehicle Assembly Building. This is the place where the space ship is put together, and then rolled out on an extraordinary cart to the launch pad. I don’t know when this place was built, but since then we’ve had other visions of space architecture developing in movies and other media, celebrating the special as well as the mundane in an imagined future of space exploration, space colonization, and earthbound urban development with the technology of space in place.
Most of these images are so much more interesting as architecture than the VAB. The VAB, symmetrical, practical, and branded seems unimaginative, uninspiring, and “pedestrian.”
So this is the point of this blog. I do not yet know how much exposure these posts get, but I invite those of you who find me to offer your nominations for an architecture of inspiration—space for space, so to speak.