Dec 09

A Blank Wall A Blank Wall A Blank Wall

With apologies to professor Gordon Zellaby (played by George Sanders in the fine 1960 British film adaptation of John Wyndham’s 1957 novel the Midwich Cuckoos called the Village of the Damned), we are truly building terrible urban spaces and have been since the end of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. 

When we allow the public room to be defined by large iconic architecture that brings mirrored glass curtain wall to grade (see above photos I took today in downtown Ottawa), we have created a series of blank walls that harm our cities. How?


1 of the children trying to read Professor Zellaby’s mind while he thinks only of “a brick wall”

First, because there are no piercings, pedestrians feel isolated from activities carried on within these office and retail structures. 

Second, isolated people feel threatened and, hence, are less likely to stroll about or linger. In fact, the only people you are likely to meet are those without access to cars, and, after dark, muggers, dealers and derelicts or homeless persons who have no other choices. 

Third, the people inside these awful buildings are in turn cut off from city life–they flee to a distant suburb the moment a 5 o’clock horn sounds.


So if professor Zellaby lived today, he would not have to imagine a brick wall (to prevent his mind being read by psycho children presumably from another part of this galaxy); he could simply recall every curtain wall structure ever built in these no-places (our very own cities of the damned) we call home in North America.

The above video shows George giving a bravura performance at a crucial point in the movie–he alone has to act to SAVE THE PLANET from being overrun by alien invaders in the shape of cute kids… by killing them.


@ profbruce @ quantum_entity

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Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.