Introduction from guest editors Alex Boyd & Linda Ross:
Austere. Minimal. Concrete. Waiting. Decaying.
When we think of buildings designed for taking the lives of our fellow human beings, bunkers in Northern France, machine gun positions crumbling on our coastlines, or in some forlorn corner of a forgotten battlefield, all come to mind.
These visual reminders of past conflicts – the work of Friedrich Tamms, Organization Todt, or a myriad of defence planners across the world – are the most explicit reminder of the role of buildings in the service of death.
They are however, only part of the wider story. Our contemporary landscapes are not immune to or separate from this ongoing endeavour.
With defence spending in the UK increasing, our cities and townscapes are dotted with factories and production facilities dedicated to the manufacture of weapons.
The sprawling ruins of what was once the worlds’ largest dynamite factory at the Ardeer in Scotland, established in 1871 by Alfred Nobel ‘the Merchant of Death’ (as he would prefer not to be remembered), show that it was always thus.
In this issue we examine the role of a few of these structures, some hidden in plain sight such as the Capenhurst Works, others less conspicuous. We look at the legacy of the Cold War, and what might be the best way to deal with some of the infrastructure it left behind.
Beyond the UK, Killer gives us an alternative look at Chernobyl Power Station, concentrating on its ideological state aesthetic rather than its fatal design flaw. We also explore the impending death of Berlin’s Mäusebunker, a ‘stranded warship’ of experimentation which provides our striking cover image.
The editors of this issue grew up on or in the shadow of military landscapes. We would like to cast some light on a few of these overlooked places. Welcome to Killer.
NUCLEAR AESTHETICS Darmon Richter // RETURNED TO GROUND Chloë Barker and Dr Michael Mulvihill // THE TORPEDO TANK Ben Cooper // DISPERSALS Gair Dunlop // NETWORKS OF FORTIFICATIONS ON THE ROMNEY MARSH Ben Tosland // THE LAST STAND Marc Wilson and Rob Exley // FARMER, DARK AND CROWE: POWER TO KILL Rob McCarthy // CAPENHURST Martin Dodge // WAR OF METAPHORS AT THE BUNKER OF MICE Isa Schaller // DEFENESTRATION, VIGILANTES & A WHACK IN THE YARBLES Jonny Smith // IN FROM THE COLD Peter McIllhenny