Posted by d on September 11, 2002 at 20:14:31:
In all the discussion of what to put on the WTC site (which seems to have metamorphosed into one of the most widely discussed architectural questions of all time) it occurs to me that very few have asked what the architect of the destroyed buidings would wish to happen there, were he still alive.
I believe that a close study of Yamasaki's work and writings would give some direction; and while such a study would of course be simply an exercise, does it not seem incumbent on the professional architectural community to at least consider this? What if their work had been in the place of his ?
Those opposed may simply say- Why bother?- that was the design sense of an earlier era; it was never terribly popular among the cognescenti and anyway it was badly built, used an outdated construction system, and was altogether an anomaly in the architectural context of its site....
Was there not some spirit or essence to the towers, which flowed through Yamasaki as he solved the prosaic problems of office space, construction budgets and politics, culminating in an expression of high simplicity?
Doesn't he at least merit a condideration as the discoverer of a severely simplified , almost elegant, solution to the systems of equations with which he was presented?
I don't know- I am not qualified to decide- whether the Twin Towers were a work of genius; but it seems to me they were a vivid and succinct expression of a human mentality...
Perhaps, as a late student of Buddhism, he would say something like:
" The force of the destruction should be met with an acceptance, to some degree; then, a strong form should arise from within, making a statement of calm..."
" The blows which collapsed the towers, causing grief, should be met with rising forms which turn, deflecting anger back upon its source...'
These thoughts, which are of course conjectural and somewhat "Orientalistic", nevertheless are in the manner of what I see as the "design sense" Yamasaki achieved in the World Trade Towers: forms which
both solved mundane needs, and still referred to some a priori, and possibly pre-esthetic, formal vocabulary.
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