Re: the dead end of urbanism as we know it
Check out Le Corbusier's plan for rebuilding Berlin (1961, i.e., just before the Wall) at the end of volume 7 of the Oeuvre Complète. In retrospect, it is almost bizarre in its intentions. Note the reenactment of Chandigarh's Palace of Assembly next to the Reichstag! And the gigantic pronged towers scattered in the east. Urbanism, architecturism and spacism all in one plan.
It's funny. I really like this plan, and would love to see it executed, but not at the cost of losing Berlin in the process. If Disney, for example, ever wants to (again) do a great thematic 'FutureTown' (they actually called it TomorrowLand, didn't they?) they should simply enact this plan, and maybe put a big wall around it. I think I'd even like to live there. A kind of beyond virtual Berlin, like a new double Berlin, again.
And here's something that's really interesting in its obscurity. Remember all those little sketches depicting bad modern building design that Leon Krier used to draw as contrast to his 'good' designs? I'm betting big money that Krier actually used the axonometric of Le Corbusier's Berlin plan (OC, vol. 7, p.234) as 'inspiration'. The 'lightening-bolt buildings just south of the Tiergarten are a dead give-a-way. Now I know why I always thought those sketches were actually the best buildings Krier ever designed.
Re: Libeskind on CR tonight
Could it now be clear that nothing at Ground Zero will ever come close to what was there before, and certainly in no way capture the same intensity of event that September 11, 2001 was? If that's the case, how does one design something that is already destined to be lacking, except for the media hype. And given all the hyper media attention surrounding Ground Zero and its renewal design, one would think that the rebuilding of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would be in all the history books as a(n atomically) powerful precedent clearly explaining what such renewal really means and how to do it properly.
I wonder what would have happened if one of the chosen architecture teams proposed doing as little as possible for the time being. I'm thinking such a proposal would probably have gotten more attention than all the other proposals combined.
030121b Ottopia plans