We all have some fascination with collapsing buildings. The World Trade Center tumbling down had the kind of national weight not to be sneezed at for a simple conversation of aesthetics and urbanism, but aesthetics it was, no more striking repeating image drove home both the failure of American foreign policy and the realization that America, for all its broad-smiled vim and vigor, was not universally loved.
I brisk jaunt through YouTube finds collapsing buildings to have fairly high view counts, often in the hundreds of thousands for each building (not even counting the twin towers which oddly have a faction of the views to a video called XXX PORN XXX, with 54,605,695 views and counting).
The urban fabric is composed of these brick and mortar structures, as nothing says city like the towering apartment block or glass and steel modernist spire pocking a hole through the smog.
But these demolitions are as much a destruction of history as march forward of progress (a word you don't heart too much anymore as Western projects has hit a few moral, economic, environmental snags to pure growth). We at Check-in Architecture are neither preservationists or laissez-faire capitalists. We like cities, we like the way they grow and change as humans use them and misuse them over time.
Merely observers, though not detached.
And we hate to psychologize too deeply about the sex appeal of collapsing buildings but we all love to see the seemingly permanent fall, we all find a strange thrill in watching the bricks come down, and the city shift and change forever, the taste of apocalypse, the awesome explosions. An element of human tragedy can always be found here as psychic spaces and human experiences in space are dissipated and destroyed by the wrecking ball or the stick of dynamite.
Below is one of my favorites, the two towers look like crumpling flowers, a stark contrast to the seeming permanence and broken promises of the atomic age.
Posted by Check In Architecture at Tuesday, May 20, 2008