Fired and Mocked When They Stand Up, Time to Reassess the Twin Towers | Rowan moore


FNew buildings exemplified the power of architecture to be different things to different people at different times than the twin towers of the World Trade Center. For their architect, Minoru Yamasaki, they were “a living symbol of man’s dedication to world peace”. The terrorists who destroyed them have made them symbols of conflict. To a generation of New Yorkers, they represented the faceless civic corporations that razed a thriving and diverse neighborhood called Radio Row in order to build the towers. When I was studying architecture, they embodied empty modernism – the “biggest radiators in the world,” said one of my tutors.

Yet the Japanese-American Yamasaki was rejected by his contemporaries to be “delicate”, “prissy”, “epicene”, “ballet school”, for example, because of the fine Gothic-looking arches that ran around the bases of the towers. Now, looking at the old images reposted with the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the towers look majestic and graceful, magically capturing the shifting light, the serene counterparts of the frenetic city that stretches beneath them. Not to mention the pillars of the world that changed forever with their collapse.

Suspicious methods

Sachets of ivermectin in Argentina, where its use was on the increase at the start of the year. Photograph: Roberto Almeida Aveledo / Shutterstock


On a bus shelter outside the British Library in London – and, as far as I know, in other places – a poster appeared last week lamenting the effects of the closures on children. It looked compelling and official, with the UK government and NHS logos at the base, but if you scan a QR code between the logos you are taken to an anti-vaccine, anti-mask, and anti-vaccine website. locking. It was devious, in other words, in a way that seems characteristic of those who promote alternatives to official positions on the pandemic.

See also the arguments used to present ivermectin, a drug more often used to deworm livestock, as something that prevents Covid. These are based on studies which have been credibly called “suspectOr were withdrawn for “ethical concerns”. To which methods the question arises, if your arguments are strong, why present them in this way? In this context, I prefer the straightforward language of the US Food and Drug Administration. “You are not a horse” he tweeted about ivermectin. “You are not a cow. Seriously, all of you. Stop that.”

Childish ideas

child's drawing of house and family
UK home builders should be able to do better than this. Photograph: Professor25 / Getty Images / iStockphoto


“If you ask the children to draw a house, they Play at school house, with a door in the middle, windows on each side and a sloping roof ”, explains Andrew Whitaker, director of planning for the Federation of Home Builders. He tries to justify the ubiquitous volume homebuilder products his organization represents, which roughly fit this description, but without the charm of a child’s drawing. I wonder how far we have to take this idea of ​​basing the adult world on infantile perceptions: would anyone really want the idea of ​​a child of a car arriving at the school gate, again? less than mum and dad come out of it, in the stick shape of people with circles for faces and triangles for skirts?

Embarrassing puppy

Jeff Koons' puppy, at the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao.
Jeff Koons’ puppy, at the Guggenheim, Bilbao, in full bloom. Photograph: Matteo Colombo / Getty Images


The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao has posted a rap video to help crowdfund the restoration of the large flowered statue of a puppy by Jeff Koons that sits outside his Frank Gehry building. “It’s the ‘P’ with the ‘U’ with the ‘P’ with the ‘P’ with the ‘Y’, says local musician MC Gransan. “So please don’t kill my vibe.” It’s cringe-dancing daddy. Plus, given that Koons’ net worth is said to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars and the Bilbao puppy has helped build his reputation, you would have thought he might be looking at the back of his house. metaphorical sofa for the € 100,000 (£ 85,000) needed. It would save everyone from being embarrassed.

Rowan Moore is the architecture critic for the Observer



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