Waiting for the End of the World
Sarah Vowell, Richard Ross
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Where will you go when the trouble starts? For countless people around the world, the answer is that bomb shelter down in the basement. In fact, people from around the work have been building shelters to protect themselves from catastrophe -- natural disaster, war, nuclear events -- for centuries. Waiting for the End of the World is photographer Richard Ross's journey into this quirky, somewhat paranoid, and occasionally beautiful underground world. Ross has documented not only the bomb shelters of the United States, but also examples from Vietnam, Russia, England, Turkey, and even Switzerland, where citizens are required by law to have a bomb shelter.
Ross's subjects include the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia, where a shelter was built to house the entire U.S. Congress, shelters in Beijing, where the Chinese built a complete city underground, and Hittite shelters in Eastern Turkey built some 4,000 years ago. His ethereal images show spaces that at once provide only the barest necessities for survival but maintain a level of idiosyncratic personality that testify to the endurance -- and wackiness -- of the human spirit.
Waiting for the End of the World features an interview by author and social commentator Sarah Vowell.
From The New Yorker
In St. Petersburg, the Trendy Griboyedov Club, a brightly painted subterranean night spot, occupies the site of a Cold War-era bomb shelter. Elsewhere, thousands of similar shelters sit empty and decaying or have been converted to mundane uses such as data storage, now that nuclear fear has been supplanted by more amorphous threats. Ross's photographs of shelters around the world are colorful and melancholy, suffused with a creepy Egglestonian light. "Shelters are the architecture of failure," he says. "The failure of moderation, politics, communication, diplomacy, and sustaining humanity." Most amazing is the scale of such hidden places as Beijing's Underground City, built to hold three hundred and fifty thousand people, or the bunker beneath the Greenbrier hotel, in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, designed to serve as the emergency shelter for the entire U.S. Congress.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker
"[a] jolly little volume. . . from the glory days of nuclear paranoia." -- World of Interiors, December 2004
...a survey of postapocalyptic havens...serenly beautiful, if chilling. They combine stripped-down survivalist aesthetics...with a troglydytic domesticity -- Wired, July 2004
...colorful and melancholy, suffused with a creepy Egglestonion light -- The New Yorker, July 5, 2004
Richard Ross turns his lens on such underground hideaways and finds an eerie sort of loveliness. -- Time Out New York, June 17, 2004
www.richardross.net . c 2004 Princeton Architectural Press All rights reserved Printed and bound in Hong Kong 07 06 05 04 5 4 3 2 1 First edition . No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission from the publisher, except in the context of reviews. . Every reasonable attempt has been made to identify owners of copyright. Errors or omissions will be corrected in subsequent editions. . Editor: Nicola Bednarek Designer: Jan Haux . Special thanks to:
Looking back, it seems so adorable, that we were teenagers in the middle of nowhere who thought handing out pie charts of the federal government’s defense spending budget in grocery store parking lots would do any good. We didn’t have a lot of members, though. I remember once we arranged to show a ﬁlm about the effects of nuclear winter—I told you I was obsessed—during lunch, and the only person who showed up to see it was a West German foreign-exchange student. Do you ever have that problem?
bathroom and shower area. (Photographed 2002) . Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Ross, Richard, 1947Waiting for the end of the world / Richard Ross ; with an interview by Sarah Vowell. p. cm. ISBN 1-56898-466-9 (alk. paper) 1. Architectural photography. 2. Photography of interiors. 3. Fallout shelters works. 4. Nuclear bomb shelters Pictorial works. I. Title. TR659.R6294 2004 779’.4’092 dc22 2003026233 Pictorial CONTENTS . . .
photograph them, and to publish these images. Others assisted in providing contacts, publications, and ideas. Notable are Paul Seyfried and Sharon Packer of Utah Shelters; Steven May of Abbott Data Systems; Jurg Jent and Hans Riedo of Andair AG Systems; Bus, Dragon, and Veterok of the “Gugno Diggers” Underground Team; Lynn Swann of the Greenbrier Hotel and Resort; Mark Davis of the Los Angeles Ofﬁce of Emergency Planning; Mark Washburn of the Charlotte Observer; Paul Sakristan of KFWB Los
Forty years later, two students pose by an air vent. Currently, their main concern is pending applications for admission to the University of Southern California. They have never seen the inside of the shelter. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Dunn School, Santa Ynez Valley, California, 2003 31 When I visited this shelter, which was built during the cold war for an apartment complex near Kutuzovsky Prospect in Moscow, it looked as if someone had recently been living in these quarters. Air