Glorious mud

Words:
Eleanor Young

The eternal cycle of materials has a poetry of its own

Wide, shared spaces have a continental feel, but the apartment block to the south closes the view rather than turns the corner.
Wide, shared spaces have a continental feel, but the apartment block to the south closes the view rather than turns the corner. Credit: Tim Crocker

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The eternal cycle of materials has a poetry of its own. But step onto a building site, even this late in the year, and you can marvel at mud to concrete. No promising bare earth here, unworkable and unwadeable claggy clay slides make the curing concrete seem a miracle against moisture. Soil-laden site boots have to be heaved out of the ground; Tarmac looks like a bigger boost to civilisation, urbanisation and mobility in this damp ­climate of ours than the internal combustion engine – or even wheels. But then add human ingenuity, or accident, to the cycle and remember that this heavy, thankless material can also be baked into brick for our homes.

 

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