CYCLES OF PRODUCTION LECTURE SERIES: DANIEL M. ABRAMSON
Daniel M. Abramson
Director; Architectural Studies
Professor; American & European Architecture Boston University
Where does the idea come from that architecture can become obsolete, suddenly lose its value and utility, and so become expendable in a short period of time? This paper traces the origins of the idea of architectural obsolescence to early-twentieth-century American financial district demolitions, tax policies, and decaying cities. In mid-century, many architects worldwide responded to obsolescence positively by embracing ephemerality and short-life buildings. Others, however, sought to revalue the obsolete and reinstate permanence, for example, through an invigorated preservationism, concrete brutalism, and ecological design. The idea of obsolescence thus gave way in the 1970s to sustainability, today’s dominant paradigm for conceptualizing and managing change in the built environment, conserving rather than expending existing resources.
Thursday, January 11 at 6:30pm