In our architectural pursuits, we often seem to be in search of
something newer, grander, or more efficient-and this phenomenon is
not novel. In the spring of 1910 hundreds of workers labored day
and night to demolish the Gillender Building in New York, once the
loftiest office tower in the world, in order to make way for a
taller skyscraper. The New York Times puzzled over those who would
sacrifice the thirteen-year-old structure, "as ruthlessly as though
it were some ancient shack." In New York alone, the Gillender
joined the original Grand Central Terminal, the Plaza Hotel, the
Western Union Building, and the Tower Building on the list of just
one generation's razed metropolitan monuments. In the innovative
and wide-ranging Obsolescence, Daniel M. Abramson investigates this
notion of architectural expendability and the logic by which
buildings lose their value and utility. The idea that the new
necessarily outperforms and makes superfluous the old, Abramson
argues, helps people come to terms with modernity and capitalism's
fast-paced change. Obsolescence, then, gives an unsettling
experience purpose and meaning. Belief in obsolescence, as Abramson
shows, also profoundly affects architectural design. In the 1960s,
many architects worldwide accepted the inevitability of
obsolescence, experimenting with flexible, modular designs, from
open-plan schools, offices, labs, and museums to vast
megastructural frames and indeterminate building complexes. Some
architects went so far as to embrace obsolescence's liberating
promise to cast aside convention and habit, envisioning expendable
short-life buildings that embodied human choice and freedom.
Others, we learn, were horrified by the implications of this
ephemerality and waste, and their resistance eventually set the
stage for our turn to sustainability-the conservation rather than
disposal of resources. Abramson's fascinating tour of our idea of
obsolescence culminates in an assessment of recent manifestations
of sustainability, from adaptive reuse and historic preservation to
postmodernism and green design, which all struggle to comprehend
and manage the changes that challenge us on all sides.
Is the information for this product incomplete, wrong or inappropriate?
Let us know about it.
Does this product have an incorrect or missing image?
Send us a new image.
Is this product missing categories?
Add more categories.
Review This Product
No reviews yet - be the first to create one!