ruminations about architecture and design

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

the best way to do something

New York City is in a constant state of repair. This state of affairs should be regarded as a positive thing--if it has to be maintained, then it's still alive. I've come down hard in the past on the conceptual absurdity of "maintenance free" particularly when applied to architecture. The building picture above  is worthy of being repaired because it looks good, the spaces inside are still serviceable, and it is constructed in a way that allows for incremental maintenance. Consequently, the service life of some types of architecture is mostly a function of a desire to keep it going. No one cares about a Wal-Mart building, and I don't think they should be constructed with an eye towards durability.

On a separate note, I'm reading a book about the rebuilding of Ground Zero. The author discusses the history of the original Trade Center, with a focus on the relationship between Rockerfeller and Arthur Tobin. Rockerfeller had proposed 5 million square feet of office space, but Tobin doubled that number because he was concerned that the transit station planned for the site would be a money loser. The large floor area of the Twin Towers resulted in a glut of rental space that wasn't filled until the late 1990's. The rebuilt area seems to be mostly equivalent to the original.

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