The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have revealed that its mission is to ‘erode the human spirit through the abuse of concrete’. De-programmed RIBA members have described secret meetings where architects plot the destruction of the human soul through the design of individual buildings, public spaces and entire neighbourhoods which drive people ‘closer to despair’.
Eric (not his real name) is a former member, now earns a living selling crystal meth to schoolchildren: ‘It takes over your life, architecture. You don’t realise what you’re doing to people, everybody thinks the same thoughts, believes the same lies. Now I look back and I’m ashamed, really ashamed. At least with the crystal meth I’m only killing people one at a time, know what I mean? I’m not taking out an entire generation. And the kids probably wouldn’t need drugs if they lived somewhere nice’.
‘We all had to practice DoubleThink. It became second nature. Like you’d design some grey, ugly, massive concrete vomit and we’d all call it beautiful’.
‘Our headquarters was a lovely Georgian mansion surrounded by parkland. Over the doors they’d carved: UGLINESS IS BEAUTY. LOVE IS HATE. WAYNE ROONEY IS AN INTELLECTUAL.
‘It was really hard being there, cos the place had sash windows. We weren’t allowed to even THINK the words ‘sash window’, if they caught you thinking about them it was electric shocks, rats on your genitals, everything. So we drew straws when a window needed opening.
‘We’d hold a Two Minutes Hate every week. A picture of Prince Charles would be projected to ten, twenty times life size. People would spit, punch the screen, shout obscenities, it was wild. The Two Minutes Hate is the only thing I miss. I watch X Factor, which comes close, but Simon Cowell’s no Prince Charles.
Eric goes quiet: ‘You won’t publish my name, will you? They never give up. They tracked one runaway architect all the way to Leeds and dragged him screaming from his Edwardian terrace. He lives in a neo-brutalist bunker now, just rocking back and forth. Another one disappeared, I think he’s in the foundations of a new church. He knew something about Coventry – the German bombers never got near it, apparently. It was a wartime detachment of British architects – just needed a city to play with after the war’.
Eric strides towards the sash window and shudders before throwing it open: ‘I can do this now. Whenever I please. Sash window. Sash window. S – a – a – a – a –sh window. I’ve written a song all about sash windows and cornicing. Do you want to hear it?’
As I drive home past dejected shoppers trudging through ugly streets filled with concrete I can’t get the tune of Eric’s song out of my head. What if he’s the sane one?