What with some of the funkier forms buildings are taking these days, some of us less informed might be wondering what they're teaching in architecture schools. Turns out they're teaching some pretty funky shiznit. One reader sent us this doozy of a class description from Berkeley, for a class ostensibly called EPRF™, for "enormous plastic rain flower." Behold: "We shall build an enormous plastic rain flower that will capture and purify drinking water from the sky. Beautiful and grotesque, our flower will further serve as a wide-spreading public umbrella tree drawing people to gather under its shelter, protected from the sky’s harshness even while succored by its fruit..."
"... Like a flower blossoming from cow dung, this machine-flower of human sustenance will blossom from the fertile waste of excessive human consumption. Our flower will be constructed purely of plastic water bottles, sugared beverage containers, and other scrap plastic constructions, stitched together with screw-top cap bolts and structurally layered as translucent, crystalline pistils and petals funneling sunlight and rain drops into corded plastic stems of tuberous filtration drawing downward into threaded, clinging roots spitting small fountains of sweet rainwater sucked freely by passersby delighted by the novelty of drinking water cut free from intercontinental transport, commerce and cash. That’s it, simple and pure—one material, multi-purpose, pregnant with questions and possibilities. And by the way, did I mention that this is a seriously purposeful study in structure, construction and materials—EPRF™, and all of that?"
Stop! You had us at "beautiful and grotesque." The exercise is being led by acclaimed architect and professor Mark Anderson, and is in response to the idea of architecture as business: "We will build the biggest possible construction without spending a nickel, asking nobody for permission. According to popular economic theory, this will not do one good thing to help the economy — but we’re not buying that either." Cool. We look forward to sipping that dirty plastic water.