Anti-Aswang Architecture

Parallel Earth: 001898
Designation: Permanent Collection
Parallel Historian: Ben Tumbling.

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Residential Entryway with Anti-Aswang Architecture
Carter Family (est. 1960, Brooklyn, New York, USA), 1964
Cement, steel, lead, acrylic paint.

Brooklyn adjusted quickly to aswangs, which can be noted in the anti-aswang features around this modern day murder door. The invasive species was unwittingly introduced to the New York City borough by a real estate developer who had illegally imported a breeding pair. They were caged in the atrium of a new condominium in the trendy neighborhood of Williamsburg to entice wealthy Filipino buyers.

The pair, of course, could not be contained. Today, an estimated 8,000 call Brooklyn home, making hostile architecture like this more common. Ironically, older buildings in less gentrified neighborhoods still had the bars, spikes, and multiple locks that protected them in the city’s more violent past. So making them aswang-proof was easy. It’s the new luxury developments, with open floor plans and massive unobstructed windows, that are prime targets for roosting and hunting. It’s something overzealous developers should take as a sobering warning about the consequences of being tone deaf to community concerns.

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Note the amount of space available for outdoor gatherings, such as barbecues, during daylight hours.

The Carter family home on Lorimer Street, reconstructed in the museum’s East Wing, is an excellent example of this architectural phenomenon. Most of the features, like the cement barrier and the spiked lead pipe railing, are originally from the 1960’s. The rest were added after the aswangs moved into the neighborhood. The entryway was painted red, not just a warning color to aswangs, it also hides blood stains. The window bars on the first floor are painted white, which makes it easier to notice damage or tampering. There’s also a particularly fine grate covering the vent on the floor and a security camera on the awning pointed towards the sky.

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