Thursday, 5 February 2009
Dystopian Ponte tower
Ponte tower in Johannesberg is a perfect example of a utopian ideal turning into a dystopian nightmare. The tower is 173 m high containing 54 floors, accommodating 470 apartments. The building is cylindrical in shape with the central core removed. It was built in 1975, renowned as the tallest building south of the equator. It started life as a very prestigious place to live; a signature building which celebrated a new way of living. However the nightmare began in the 1990's when the tower became home to drug users, gang warfare, prostitution and a high number of suicides. The residents not only abused themselves but also the building, they would empty their rubbish into the central space, disregard any repairs leaving the elevators unfixed and unused. Many of the residents were too afraid to leave their apartments and would pay to have their food supplies delivered. This once supposedly perfect place to live had become a space/place with its own rules, shut off from the rest of the city, governed by and ruined by its own existence in trying to control how its residents lived.