Re: [design] fleeting architecture

Yes, indeed, historic preservation was opportunistic from the
gitgo. Recall Viollet le Duc was castigated for his political
position under guise of discrediting his preservation work,
then and now, despite his being the last great theorist of
architecture, ideational fountainhead of modernism's giants,
from Le Corbusier to Wright.

An aesthetic, apolitical, architecture is always political, as is
an ahistorical architecture, and both approaches always support
of those who use epicene aesthetics and distorted history to
conceal and apologize for depredation.

LMDC yesterday published its draft plan to demolish the Deutsche
Bank building adjoining the WTC site. The cost of pre-demo toxic
clean-up and environmental protection is likely to be astronomical,
not counting the additional cost of responding to complaints of
those who live near the structure. The process will probably take
several years to complete, and if there are expected hitches, may
not be completed before the first new towers are finished.

The juxtapostion of the toxic architecture and the new sanitary
towers will be wondrous, with the toxic project costing much more
per square foor than the new monstrosities. However, it is also
likely that the toxic project will be safer for the public than the
new buildings which customarily contaminate their sites despite
laws on the books prohibiting it.

This reminds of the humongous clean-up going on of defense sites
in the US, many of them costing far more than the orignal structures,
and the clean-up technology and safety procedures far exceed the
those of the original facilities which were quite dangerous to builders,
workers and neighbors -- danger deliberately ignored by the arrogant
defense gang in the name of national security.

This brutality of developers to off-load environmental costs onto
the public -- whether international, national or local -- is a traditional
means to maximizing profits.

WTC is a classic instance of this. And are the notable architects
complicit? You bet, and not least because they refuse to learn
beyond the bounds of petty architectural definitions of what
architects are supposed to do. "Design," especially "world class
design," are the cloaks used to excuse this fee-generative

Another favorite way architects discount responsibility for
environmental degradation is to accuse opponents of playing
politics. Howard, among many others teaching and practicing
architecture, got sucked into that willful political blindness by
aesthetic seduction disseminated against political movements
in architecture. Over-cultivated aesthetics are forever hostile
to those hurt by the supercilious, narcissistic appreciation of

Desktop design, and CAD its handy tool, suffers greatly from
its scaleless, placeless, otherworldly, irresponsible, production
of endlessly modifiable, manipulable toys -- wargames begat
gameboys, perfect for erasing the record.

  • Re: [design] fleeting architecture
    • From: lauf-s
  • Replies
    [design] re: state of the archive, Michael Kaplan
    Re: [design] re: state of the archive, John Young
    Re: [design] re: state of the archive, lauf-s
    [design] fleeting architecture, Michael Kaplan
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