Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I just came back from a walk in one of the most beautiful parts of Greenwich Village (updated)
Picture that in your mind.
I'll bet you $1,000 that no one pictured NYU's Silver Towers.
So why is NYU reinforcing I.M. Pei's anti-urban design, and why is the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation trying to prevent any changes to the block around it?
We need to understand that the practice of "historic preservation" is in many ways a creation of Modernists, who don't believe in the continuity of history or things like timeless principles of urban design.
I.M. Pei was a Starchitect of his day. He practiced what Jane Jacobs called "urban removal." An historic preservation society should understand that the urban blocks Pei destroyed are as important as the object he created, and that we can undo the harm he did.
A neighborhood is a terrible thing to waste.
UPDATE: On Tuesday November 18, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designated their first urban-removal superblock development, citing the open space around Pei's towers as an integral part of the design. So much for the idea that NYU might re-urbanize the block with liner buildings around the perimeter of the block.
Preservationists continue to value the heroic building more than urbanism and the neighborhood.
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What can we do about this? As you've said in other posts, students don't come to NYU because of Silver Towers. They come for Greenwich Village, which Moses and Pei destroyed in that corner of the Village.
Posted by: steveo at May 17, 2008 11:41:21 AM