Wednesday, September 9, 2009

NYC skyline - no room for risk?

I generally regard NY Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff as a real life Ellsworth Toohey, so I'm pleasantly surprised to see him expressing dismay over a New York City Planning Department’s ruling that limits the height of a skyscaper proposed by Jean Nouvel for midtown Manhattan:
But the greater sadness here has to do with New York and how the city sees itself. Both the Empire State and Chrysler buildings, built during the Great Depression, were celebrated in their time as emblems of the city’s fortitude. The Freedom Tower, our era’s most notable contribution to the skyline, is a symbol of posturing and political expediency. And now a real alternative to it, one of the most enchanting skyscraper designs of recent memory, may well be lost because some people worry that nothing in our current age can measure up to the past. It is a mentality that, once it takes hold, risks transforming a living city into an urban mausoleum.

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