...I am now also thinking about 'Piranesi and the torture of two-dimensional space' as a topic to investigate.
Re: blind, without imagery
Is progress really just another word for ongoing discontent?
Re: Any idea ?
I'm curious about your comment that "the Black Mesa mine and power plant is a large portion of the juice that powers the bright lights and big city of Las Vegas." Do you know what other sources power Las Vegas? For example, I thought the power generated at Hoover Dam was the primary electrical source for Las Vegas, although I have to admit that I really only assumed that.
As to "BTUs and lifestyle", you've got me thinking, and I've come to the conclusion that a modern lifestyle doesn't even exist without abundant BTUs. Does this abundance simply make wastefulness too easy? Does the abundance make (most of) us otherwise oblivious to its actual source? Do the makings of an easier life(style) also make it easier to forget? I'm wondering whether the "hook" you elude to might not be found somewhere near the oblivion factor of 'our' electrified lifestyles.
3. Architectural Otherness
...genuinely and unexpectedly missed
"The currency was debased, trade languished, and the countryside swarmed with bandits and vagabonds. Many of the country's enterprising young men emigrated to New Spain. The result was a labor shortage--one that Philip exacerbated by expelling some 275,00 Moriscos from the peninsula between 1609 and 1614. It was an emotionally popular move, but once the Moriscos were gone they were genuinely and unexpectedly missed, for they had been hardworking farmers, laborers, and artisans and it was not easy to replace them."
Mary Cable, El Escorial (New York: Newsweek Books, 1971), p. 102.
13053001 Alder House plan 217fi00
13053002 Alder House plan plus other Kahn plans 217fi01
Hitler's Classical Architect
I agree that 'ominous' and 'sinister' are not easy frameworks, but I do see such characteristics within aspects of Speer's architecture. In line with the elegant, there is also an extremism. For example, and using the Vitruvian formula, there is extreme firmness where even the commodity is rendered firm, and, at the same time, there is an extreme lack of delight (unless one delights in the extreme lack of delight). This particular unbalanced combination manifests the ominous and the sinister. Hence, paradoxical is also a word I'd use to frame an analysis of the architecture of Albert Speer.
I remember when I first saw Rossi's drawings for the Modena Cemetery that I felt there was something 'sinister' about the design.
Coincidentally, I'm just starting to read Spectacles of Death in Ancient Rome where the back cover asks the question: How could civilized Romans enjoy watching the killing of gladiators, criminals, captives, Christian's and beasts?
14053001 Salustiani Mall plan 22002 in situ 2431i04
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15053001 Herzog & de Meuron Tate Modern Extension London
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18053001 Leicester University Engineering Building plans elevation 2181i04