Bernardo Bellotto´s Cappriccio with the Colosseum. From famous-painters.org
The notion that architecture is complete when the construction is finished is problematic because, first of all, it does not reflect the reality. In fact the “afterlife” is the very “life” of the building. Take, for example, the Colosseum in Rome, one of the most celebrated pieces of architecture from antiquity and whose meaning changed from a place for spectacles to a temple of the sun god, a Christian site of martyrdom, and a place of romantic rumination, till it became a site of archaeology, tourism, and entertainment. Its physical properties served as a source of building materials, a backbone for squatter houses and fortresses, a specimen of classical architecture, a medium of growing flora, and a stage for Fascist propaganda. The building changed physically and metaphysically as it took part in politics, economics, and religion through the course of time.
From Learning from the Ruins: Theorizing the Performance of the Incomplete, Imperfect, and Impermanent. By Rumiko Handa