Waiting to Shift Phases


Who says that Glacier Island Storm has to end just because the week is over?

Island Temple Matte Painting
Creative Commons License photo credit: gordontarpley

BLDGBLOG considers the strange tale of a pair of ships built to be trapped in polar ice, 112 years apart.

…what interests me here is the idea that you could build one thing—a ship—that only becomes what it’s really meant to be—a building—when the circumstances it’s surrounded by undergo a phase change (here, water turning into ice).

The Architecture of Polar Ice Floes on >BLDGBLOG

I’m thinking here of about the artificial island Geoff posted about that’s build from rocks and the husks of ships. I’m thinking about bridges and piers and other structures which are floated into place before being sunk and sealed in.

I’m thinking about floating restaurants and the gambling riverboats that never leave dock. Especially the floating casinos; they never wanted to be water-faring in the first place, were forced into mobility by laws, and are slowly reverting to their natural state.

Many of the floating palaces of fortune that cling to the Mississippi’s banks like mussels in the five states where they are legal still look like the elegant steamboats that plied the river in Twain’s time. The resemblance ends at the waterline, however, as many have no engines, and those that do rarely, if ever, fire them up and weigh anchor.

Others — the so-called “boats on moats” — don’t look anything like floating wedges of wedding cake, a description applied to the paddle-wheel steamboats of old. These “vessels” are large barges designed to float in pools adjacent to the river with casinos on their decks.

Mike Brunker Riverboat casinos going nowhere fast for MSNCB.com

I’m thinking about the concrete tents, where the phase change is in the material of the structure itself. “Add water to make this permanent.”

Lastly, I’m thinking about the many, many, many science fiction and fantasy scenarios where what was once thought to be an ancient temple turns out to be a fully operational starship/battle station/moving castle waiting for the right people to come along and bring it back to life.

Perhaps even the moon is waiting for launch codes.