Re: [design] re: state of the archive

Archives which misrepresent events are a bane and no doubt some
might want to preserve banes if they concretize falsity as truth.

The erasure of the WTC evidence is a mighty example of concocting
archives, called architectural renewal, which accelerates and
institutionalizes a saccharine version of the dreadful event.

Historic preservationists have failed to rise to the occasion to
save crucial evidence of the historic event, and some among them
are pursuing opportunities to cash in on the falsehood being

We spoke with several pros in the NYC preservation field on Friday
and asked what should be done, say to save the Deutche's Bank
high-rise, gapingly wounded, as the sole remaining architectural
artifact. It has been declared a toxic hazard and must be demolished
to rid the neighborhood of the threat. But every significant structure
which becomes worthy of preservation is called worthless, a hazard,
an eyesore, a barrier to progress, an embarassment, and worse.

One person said the Germans blew up Buchenwald to erase its
horror. But the ruins are now being promoted as an essential
record of what should never be erased.

Ruins are what's missing at WTC, and visitors continue to
lament their lack, and express shock that there's nothing to
see there except the usual banalities of development.

The use of competitions and famous architects to gloss the
WTC erasure is disgusting but characteristic of urban
renewalists, whether new urbanists, modernist, corporatist,
avant-garde or weeping survivors. "We have to heal, to
move on," is their mantra. But that is also the language
of those who want to deny culpability, particularly those
who failed to prevent 9/11.

Occasionally, historic preservation takes on the powerful,
indeed that was its appeal to some early adherents, me among
them, but not much lately, as it has become a lucrative profession
and joins the other professions in sucking up to, glamorizing

At our discussion of mounting an initiative to take back WTC
from its erstwhile predators there was doubt much could
be done, but there was a moment of dreamy excitement
about how it used to be before maturing into compliant
adults chasing contracts and fees and reputability.

The WTC archives are totally corrupt, almost, at least as
far as architecture and planning are concerned. But as ever
with trustworthy historic presevation, the vital data which
can galvanize a public initiative to reclaim the built environment
from its predators is not found in architectural archives but in
those repositories hardly ever examined by designers.

We have been photographing WTC since mid-October 2001,
documenting the remnants as they disappear along with the
banal reconstruction and designs for much more, and there
are people in other than design and planning fields gathering
data as well. From such collections there is more than enough
information to challenge the flood coming out of the established
urban predators. It would have to be assembled for public
presentation in a way that circumvents the exculpatory
Guiliani-Bush-LMDC-PA-Pataki-Bribe Families-PR

Still, saving WTC is sufficiently hopeless to make it vastly
appealing as a design, planning and public education project.
There are tons of remnants awaiting return to public
consciousness and appreciation, out of the burial grounds
to which they were sent so fast it makes your head swim.

  • Re: [design] re: state of the archive
    • From: Michael Kaplan
  • Re: [design] re: state of the archive
    • From: lauf-s
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    [design] re: state of the archive, Michael Kaplan
    Re: [design] re: state of the archive, Michael Kaplan
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