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Conflict and Natural Disasters
 
The history of the destruction of architecture
First, I would like to note that this discussion is by no means political. It only paves the road for discussing some assumptions about the history of architecture! Some ArchNet members might see it a controversial issue. The intention is to apporach it scientifically, not politically.

The history of architecture shows us how to design and erect buildings; it tells us how specific cultures lived, expressed their identity, and mediated their environment. However, if we blindly and slavishly followed its basic assumptions, there would be such a huge number of temples, mosques, churches, houses, and all types of buildings that it would be almost impossible to find a place for one more building on earth after millions of years of building buildings and of accumulation of civilizations.

There is an assumption that history of architecture should involve the destruction of buildings as it involves the building of buildings. Some argue that building requires a preceding incident of destruction, a spatial void without which it would not be possible to build new buildings. It would appear that very few studies discussed the history of the destruction of architecture. Some literature discusses specific incidents. Are there any documented studies on the history of the destruction of art and architecture in a specific region or in a specific era.
Ashraf Salama
Responses
 
The history of the destruction of architecture
A very interesting question. I am not sure how to approach it, but it would definately make for an interesting article or thesis. Where is Ayssar Arida? I think he would enjoy fielding this question.
Shiraz Allibhai
The history of the destruction of architecture
Interesting, by disection doctores study human anotomy, by de-construction architects proved their point on somebodys design last decade, destruction can create a void, I shall recommend that the old should die naturally, and in bulilding demolition is the answer to clear the old or un-usefull to get meaningfull new.
Dushyant Nathwani
The history of the destruction of architecture
I think its a very important subject. Buildings usually have a life, an "expiry-date" after which they need to be pulled down.

In Pakistan, houses have an average life of 30 years after which they start becoming problematic - plumbing starts rusting, roofs start leaking, cables start wearing out and generally the house starts giving a very shabby look. A lot of house-owners go for complete renovation and end up spending the amount that would be spent on building a new house. But a lot of people prefer pulling the house down, levelling the land and starting afresh. Houses being demolished is not a rare sight in Islamabad. They are usually demolished manually (as use of explosives is not allowed in the residential area!!) so it takes about 5-6 days to demolish a double-storey house (4,000 - 5,000 Square feet built up area)

In Tokyo, where there is an acute shortage of land, and property prices are sky-high, demolition of apartment buildings and commercial buildings is very common. Recently, a huge apartment complex built in 1927 was pulled down and the land was cleared for another residential complex called the "Dojunkai Aoyama Apartments" designed by Tadao Ando. Its expected to be completed in 2006.

I don't particularly support conservation! I find conservation and preservation of buildings unnecessary in MOST cases. Some that truly represent a heritage or an era may be conserved till it is viable and feasible, but others must be razed to pave way for new structures.

If things were left to conservationists, all the existing buildings would be conserved and no new building would be allowed. The interesting point here is that the building they "conserve" was built by demolishing some other building in time.. and in turn that building was built upon some earlier building and so on. So why stop the "renewing with time" process??
Hammad Husain
The history of the destruction of architecture
This is a good example Mr. Hussein, about the event of this building in Tokyo. And, I would say this is one of the forms of destructing architecture; "a building being old", not used or function efficiently and effectively as it was intended. Or the current use of a building does not meet contemporary needs.

I would suggest that one of the important issues that address "the history of the destruction of architecture" is to explore "different forms of destruction". This would be good starting point. Best,
Ashraf Salama
The history of the destruction of architecture
Different forms of destruction:

One worthy of discussing the merits of a preservationist vs. a modernist is the natural process of destruction. In Italy many ancient towns were built on hills - for fortification and medicinal purposes - these towns are known to us as Hilltowns and many publications can be found on them. Due to the type of rock formation that they sit upon, many of these hilltowns have experienced continual erosion from the base. The sweeping winds of the valleys carve out the earth near the streams and eventually the hillside erodes in small daily crumbles and then again in large landslides. This erosion causes the loss of homes and cultural structures to the natural processes of evolution. In Orvieto, a massive stabilization has taken place to secure the sides of the hill. As you approach the town you can see the web of steel and mesh that reinforces the earth. Is it proper to intervene in such a methodical way in order to save a town that has been in existence for many thousands of years? Possibly the answer is in the vitality of the community - it is thriving on it's vineyard crops and eco-tourism and the town is filled with life throughout the winter months. Civita di Bagnoregio is not far from Orvieto and is also eroding rapidly. This town has only a handful of year round residents and very little commerce outside of the summer tourist months. Some would like to see similar intervention in Civita. When is it appropriate to preserve a place, and when is it time to allow natural (or interventional) destruction in order to build the future upon our history?
Erika Harvey
The history of the destruction of architecture
Many thanks Erika for your great posting; your examples are enlightening and show another form of the destruction of architecture. These examples of Orvieto and Civita and the natural destruction processes convey that there is always a conflict between the natural environment and the human made environment, and concomitantly, resistance goes in parallel. What is solid can be destroyed by time due to some natural or human processes, and that which passes resists time. What is really striking is the emotional impacts upon people and cultures when destruction occurs: Images of destruction of several Italian cities have been portrayed by Italian artists and also by poets. The question of intervention remains a challenge, but it asserts that conflict and resistance exist.

I am hoping to see historians and conservationists take part in this discussion to answer two major questions:

The first is the one Erika has already posted and will repeat it: "When is it appropriate to preserve a place, and when is it time to allow natural (or interventional) destruction in order to build the future upon our history?"

The second, should we consider the destruction of architecture as part of the "history courses" taught to students of architecture, and how the "history of architecture" as a field of study can be more inclusive??

It would appear that the assumptions posted in the beginning are valid and might be proved with more historical examples!

Any other thoughts from Archnet community?
Ashraf Salama
The history of the destruction of architecture
Any more responses on this thread. It would be interesting to see more thoughts, ideas, or examples.
Ashraf Salama
The history of the destruction of architecture
Dear Ashraf,

In the wake of industrial revolution, humankind obtained tools and techniques for large-scale destruction along with new means of industrial production. The result was a new way of life. While the industrial workers lived and died in congested slums, the industrial and political elite prospered. The nations were not satisfied with their own growth and needed more space and resources. Wars followed. Some escalated into world-wars leading to large-scale of destruction of architecture apart from loss of millions. Two cities vanished in Japan due to the first use of atomic weapons in history. Since then wars have been fought in the third world. Many more lives have been lost in these regional and local wars than in World War II. But now we have been "civilzed" to accept this as part of our daily life. The destruction of architecture: slums, homes, work-places, places of worships, social and educational facilties, villages, towns and cities continues in some place or the other in the name of religion / political / economic ideology. Yet, we are lured by the aesthetics of destruction, as a source of inspiration for regeneration or rebuilding!

It seems we have been seduced totally by violent acts of destroying / destructing ! This is the natural outcome of sheer madness and thoughtlessness of the current latent virus that, perhaps, has infected us all. We have forgotten the core values that human civilization has evolved over time. It is a new imperialism of the most advanced, most industrial and most fashionable! In the name of wealth and growth, we may not mind destroying homes, villages, cities, nations and environment!

I am afraid that we have forgotten wholistic wisdom in our race for momentary glory on the pages of some glossy journal or a popular channel. Human beings, human rights, human dignity, human relationships and human values are the core issues. The saga of human evolution, is interpreted by many as a violent history while there are a few, like Nold Egenter, Anthropologist and Architect, who have proved with their research that human evolution is primarily due to peaceful, creative and constructive activity!

The 21st Century poses a great challenge to human intellect to develop human society to its next stage of development without violence and destruction. This is equally true for architecture. Displacement of the citizens and destruction of communities go hand in hand with so called destructing of the old housing stock. More than 1 billion people are living in inadequate shelters and 2 billion are suffering in poorly serviced sectors of habitat. The world does not seem to have enough money and technical resources to provide affordable housing for all and employment for all. If these minimal needs are not met, where is the question of realising the ideal of a higher quality of life and living environment?

Conservation and preservation of the relevant heritage, appropriate built environment and livable habitat is an integral part of rational way of life. Yes, it is agreed that everything need not be preserved or conserved for it may not be appropriate. At the sametime, everything that is new need not be construed as appropriate and need not have been built in the first place! We have to evolve balances and harmony in architectural thought and action! We need to reflect on the issues deeply and consider the impact of our thoughts and actions over a period of time! I am glad that you have raised the critical issue. We should explore it fully, collectively, meaningfully and wholistically.

with warm regards,
Akhtar Chauhan
The history of the destruction of architecture
Dear Akhtar;

Many thanks for your elaboration. I believe that we can look at the subject from a different perspective.

Destruction as a phenomenon will occur anyway either because of natural processes or because of human violence, wars,...etc. It seems to me that it is part of the eco-system process, which includes people, buildings, natural and cultural resources among others.

People used to destroy nature by building buildings, and in turn, natural processes destroy buildings and cities over time. Also, people throughout history as you indicated used to destroy buildings too.

The old philosophy that pertains to the relationship between people and environment adopted three principles:

- Man is more valuable than nature
- Man has the right to conquer and subdue nature
- Man has no responsibility for nature.

Over the past two decades we have shifted from this philosophy to preserve and conserve nature. However, in some cases, under the banner of the conservation of nature, governments, planners, and architects in different parts of the world started to adopt policies that conserve nature but at the expense of what? The way I see it is that, it is at the expense of desroying, in whole or in part, old districts, towns, historic fabrics? In this context, examples are endless. I am not advocating the old paradigm, but advocating balance.

Yes, the solution is in sustainable development (that involves conservation of both natural and cultural resources), but the question again would be: Have governments, professionals, international organizations reached a mature level to materialze it, in full. I doubt! So far, sustainability and sustainable development did not go beyond being a dream, utopia, or romantic gesture. Yes, there are attempts here and there around the globe. Still, most of the efforts do not go beyond policy documents that are full of dust on library bookshelves. It would appear that this is the nature of our time. Also, it would appear that it takes ages to develop a concept before it is truly implemented. Also, it takes years and years to create awareness and shift the culture of conventional practices that continued for centuries without questioning. I am afraid it is too late.

My best,
Ashraf Salama
The history of the destruction of architecture
Dear Akhtar,
I completley agree with all you said.
At first I was shocked of the subject destruction is the opposite of building which is our aim, buisnes,........what we architects live for.
I think there are some reasons were a major surgery is needed.
There are several examples for this:

1. A service or a parasite area that needs devolopment to match its dependable society. For example mekka which is nearly rebuilt every decade to to be able to serve the growing haram mosque and the hejj activety.

2.A slum district that long ago out grew its original ifastructure (we can find a lot of these examples in third world over populated cities). Normally to develop these areas and give it a decent infastucture you need to demolisha major parts of it.

3.A dying society with a very law land value that can be recreated to a very flourishing district ( however this normally happens with hight investments and a strong economy- not the third world)
Ahmed Sabry
The history of the destruction of architecture
Dear Ahmed, The points you are raising are logical reasons that show that destruction goes hand in hand with building. Destruction in the cases you mentioned can be looked at as parallel activity to building. Thanks for your examples.
Ashraf Salama
The history of the destruction of architecture
As I understand it, the rise of the conservationist/ preservationist movement in the United States can be tied to urban renewal and in particular the destruction of Pennsylvania Station in New York City. That building was dear to many people, but I wonder if the despair over its destruction is heightened by general dislike for its replacement, the unremarkable Penn Station. In any case, there are a number of city specific publications, such as "Lost Boston" and "Lost New York" which take a sentimental view of what is no longer here. My sense is that in the US we have few buildings of much age, so we venerate what is there, sometimes regardless of quality or value.

I would be interested to learn what might have led to preservation movements in other countries/cultures in an effort to understand why knowing this destruction is, as I belive, an important part of becoming an architect.
Michael Ramage
The history of the destruction of architecture
Dear Ashraf,

I agree with you that our knowledge about sustainable architecture is very limited. A lot more research, studies, experiments, explorations and learning is needed to address the issues that challenge the profession of architecture. As part of the argument that you have put forth, it would also require destruction of unsustainable architecture! Now, that would shock us all beyond belief, since most of the modernist architecture has been unsustainable! Therefore, the better way would be to compete, collaborate and co-exist over a period of time and allow the process of change to evolve a more sustainable architectuere through active participation of citizens and communities.

By saying that sloping roof is irrational, Adolf Loos, created a new wave that would have wiped out all the European villages and towns having building with sloping roofs!

By proposing a new vision of Paris, Le Corbusier proposed destroying the heart of the city to create his dream of new Paris with a few skyscrappers and lots of greens. He also proposed similar schemes for other cities too. Imagine if such an approach was followed world wide, we would not have any heritage of urban architecture left in the world.

By adopting a Charter at Athens, a few architects and planners redefined the patterns of urbanisation. While applying the priniciples, technocrats chose only a few of these norms for application and perhaps some critical ones were ignored. These norms were applied in many a city without much concern for its context, culture and environment. The result was destruction of a lot of urban fabric and loss of urban space. The functionalist cities, with CBDs marked by commercial and residential towers, lack of affordable housing, urban sprawl, distant work places and too much of travelling. The net effect was some pockets of economic growth accompanied by social tension, destruction of communities, alienation, ill health, pollution and questionable quality of life.

So the question is how do we learn from these experiences, success / failures and achievements / mistakes?

How to identify what should be destroyed? How much to destroy? Where to destroy ? Who shall be responsible for the decision? How the process of destruction shall be carried out? Who shall monitor and evaluate the process of destruction? How to trace the history of such a destruction?

The issues need to probed critically, systematically and wholistically. The society and architects would have to shift from being egocentric to a more ecofriendly, humanistic,socially responsible, innovative, sustainable, wholistic philosophy and practice. In order that this does not remain an utopia, we need to have on-going programmes of research, studies, experimentation, exploration and re-educating architects and the society in humane and sustainable architecture. Architecture as a meaningful profession can survive only if it addresses these issues. Or else, the forecast of Tafuri, of the inevitable demise of architecture as a profession, may come true!

with warm regards,
Akhtar Chauhan
The history of the destruction of architecture
Great Postings Akhtar, and in fact I feel that I raise a problem and you provide panacea and remedies to it.

One of the questions that I was trying to raise in one my earlier posting is: should we consider the destruction of architecture as part of the "history courses" taught to students of architecture, and how the "history of architecture" as a field of study can be more inclusive?? Would you have a say or argument on this. I am not talking about a specific region or country, just in general terms.

In response to Michael, preservation movements in other parts of the world started very early in the last century. The first set of laws were devised to conserve Cairo's built heritage in 1882. Although there were continuous laws and regulations for conserving buildings and districts of heritage values, very few conservation projects occured until the seventies, when funding became available and when old Cairo became UNESCO heritage site. Movements occured because of rapid urbanization, population growth, and infrastructure deterioration, and also because of the presence of informal and squatter settlements at the prepheries of old city. These had tremendous pressures on the built heritage, then the government and the professional community started to realize the need for preservation and conservation projects, and different movements and approaches started. However, preservation is taking a different path there, it is very conservative. Demolition is not part of the Agenda because of the extreme value of the buildings,but some projects involved destruction as part of revitalization and renewal efforts. Simply, demolition and destruction are not part of project practices like in the US. The opposite is true as you indicated here in the US. A city like Charlotte, North Carolina has lost its identity because of the continuous destruction of old buildings and houses that started in the late seventies to announce the city as a banking city where "high rise" movements started!
Ashraf Salama
The history of the destruction of architecture
Dear Ashraf,

I find the issues you raise are very stimulating and thought provoking. I learn a lot from the discussion as well as I enjoy! My wife, Pradnya, who is also an architect, is surprised and advises me that I better start writing books instead!

The processes of destruction and creation are interlinked. The way history of architecture is taught in our schools is highly focused on historical periods and styles. The process of design,construction,repairs, conservation, development, re-development or destruction are generally ignored. Architecture is still seen as more of a visual art than a wholistic discipline. How it looks is more important than how it performs or whether it is sustainable or not. In order to evolve sustainable architecture, we would have to restructure architectural education course by course as well as reorient our practices. We need to have a close look at architecture as experiences, processes, systems, components and elements, each having a different life-cycle in various phases of thier existance. The process of change is inevitable and so is final destruction, but all need not change or get destroyed at the same time.

It may be possible to evole a perpetual architecture where the systems, components and elements may keep on changing over time and yet we should be able to sustain architecture over a great period of time.

This is opposite of earlier attempts at creating monuments that sybolise immortality, they did not want to change but act as great constant and symbols.

The architecture in outer space, such as space stations, would require constant upgradation and renewal to be able to provide life-support for human exploration of space.

If one studies the timeless architecture of our villages we may find that they evolved architecture which could be constantly worked upon and renewed, from within and without,in the process they evolved sustainable architecture within their local means and expertise.

We are challenged to evolve sustainable architecture in the context of our time and society. It would be interesting to take this up as an on-going research programme.

with warm regards,
Akhtar Chauhan
The history of the destruction of architecture
Dear Akhtar;

Many thanks for your thoughts and elaborations. Surprisingly, I was warned too from my wife, kids, and some of my archnet friends that I consume a lot of energy here in the discussion, and this might be seen as a waste of time, energy, and as burning a lot of ideas for future work.

In fact, some of these discussions can be edited and be parts of books or publications. At some point, we might introduce some topics as book chapters and will take it from there to form a book as a result of our efforts in this dear site. Architectural Pedaogogy and Andragogy was and still an attempt to do so.

I really like your thoughts on history courses. I hope to see your contributions in APA to get your input on teaching, pedagogy, and curriculum development.

My best,
Ashraf Salama
The history of the destruction of architecture
Dear Ashraf,

We need not worry about burning our ideas! The most important thing is that we believe in sharing our thoughts and we practice it as honestly and truthfully as we can. There are colleagues and students who seem to enjoy it, so it is worthwhile.

I once told a new young teacher who was joining our faculty, that a teacher should be like a well that never dries out! Let students and others draw as much water as they want, but the well should be full the next morning! This discussion forum in a new medium for learning. If we can produce books out of some of these discussions, it would be a more permanent record which would benefit further exploration in the field.

Like I had mentioned in one of my earlier posting, there was this seminar in Lima hosted by the Catholic University of Peru on the new curriculum of the new school of architecture, which was compiled into a book. They made presentation on certain key issues and topics and the group discussed in over the week. It was a memorable experience and very fruitful discussion. On an experimental basis we should attempt some publication and test it if it worthwhile! Like the publication baseds on early AKAA seminars are so useful after all these years!

with best wishes,
Akhtar Chauhan
The history of the destruction of architecture
Dear Ashraf,
I studied the history of destructoin for certain islamic cities during a seminar discussing the evolution of islamic cities and i think that this seminar would have been meaningless if destruction history was not a part of it.

I would like to add a new thread here. when the administraves powers alter/freeze ( normally through new laws )the course of a certain soeciety destroying this society and leading to the neglect/destruction of its built up area. I am sure we can find a lot of examples for this (historic cairo). However it is always to late to generate or revive this society again and destruction follows.
What criteria should we put this to? Evolution, Destruction, Rennovation!
The adminstrative powers are always looking for planners and urbanists to help them undo these mistakes.
This leads us beck to who will watch the watchers? Who are the watchers?
And should urbanists and planners be involved in laws concerning the society or is it not our role?
Ahmed Sabry
The history of the destruction of architecture
Dear All; back to the ideas Ahmed is raising regading the cycle of construction, evolution, destruction, revival, I agree with your argument.

I believe yes, there should be criteria to govern these processes in --at least in any part of a city that has historic value. However, the problem is that many building bylaws and regulations do exist but when it comes to implementation, they disappear or vanish. Perhaps there needs to be an implementation mechansim as well as part of these criteria.

One of the ciritcal roles architects and planners need to play is to be part of law formation, at least when it comes to the relationship between society and the built environment. I believe it is one of their primary roles. In this, the respect architects and planners become advocates or can be seen as political representatives of a segment of a society.
Ashraf Salama
The history of the destruction of architecture
Today I heard that the Egyptian governoment are moving the textile trading from the Mu'iz street which will have a huge impact on the urban enviroment of this area how can you interfere in such a step meant to protect the historic area.

Moving the textile trading from the khayamia area. Ironic is the word that comes to my mind.
How can you move such an enviroment freindly trade killing the genrator of the area and still be protecting it at the same time.
Ahmed Sabry
The history of the destruction of architecture
Thanks Ahmed for your information. Since the discussion is moving to what is happening in Old Cairo, I hope that Dr. Galal Abada, the Director of Studies and Development Center of Historic Cairo take part in this discussion, since I am not familiar with the latest developments.
Ashraf Salama
The history of the destruction of architecture
Dear Ahmed,

I can understand your agony about the displacement / destruction of a historic precinct from the inner city of Cairo.

We have similar situation in Mumbai, where we have problem of sick textile mills. Thousands of workers have been without work for decades while the properties are being developed for shopping malls and high end residential and commercial real estate market.

How does one control and guide such a situation where on oneside thre are intangibles like historical, cultural and aesthetic values of pricinct and on the other tangible reality of financial, business and political aspects which govern the cities.

Dr. Ashraf Salama rightly pointed at the need to have some policies, proper implementation and critical role of architects and experts in this process.

In Mumbai, we are govered by a state policy for historic, cultural and architectural conservation. The Municipal Corporation has framed special heritage conservation bye-laws that protect important landmark buildings, historic precincts and streetscapes. Architects and conservation experts were involved in the framing of these rules and regulations.

A heritage committe is constituted who is charged with the responsibility to identification and categorisation of heritage buildings and precincts. It is authorised to consider proposals for any modification or change in these heritage structures and approve / modify / disapprove the proposals.

As a result of these measures we have succeeded in conserving the key landmark buildings like Gateway of India, High Court, University Campus, Railway Terminuses, and precincts such as Fort, Ballard Estate and Kothachi wadi.

All this was possible due to sustained campaign by concerned citizens and committed architects and conservation specialists over a long period. Today, the citizens are more aware about these issues and the government is more sensitive about enforcing the bye laws.
Although there are cases of poor implementation and poor design, but still we are proud of the achievement of the conservation architects, specialists and NGOs working for the cause.

Creating mass awareness about conservation issues is the best guarantee of the successful heritage conservation. In Mumbai, we have branch of Indian National Trust for Art, Culture and Heritage (INTACH), there are several heritage conservation societies, the Brihan Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority has a heritage society which funds research and studies in the field. The Municipal Corporation has a heritage committee to oversee the heritage conservation and redevelopment proposal. The Indian Institute of Architects was active on the issue. We hosted an international conference on the theme in 1991. I was the secretary of UIA Work Group on Architectural Conservation for region IV during 1989-95 and we brought out important document on the theme. Several books have been published on the city and its heritage. Most notably two books on Mumbai by Sharda Dwivedi and Rahul Mehrotra and several other conservation reports by conservation architects. Rizvi College of Architecture consultancy cell did two studies, namely conservation of Marine Drive Art Deco precinct and the conservation of coastal villages of Madh, Aksa, Marve, Manori and Erangal. The studies were co-ordinated by conservation architect Pankaj Joshi and were highly appreciated by the authorities and fellow professionals. We also hosted UIA Workshop on Arch Conservation in 1995. We offer an elective on the subject as part of the B.Arch course.

I am sure in Cairo you have groups, organisations and committed architects and experts and must have made great efforts. One has to be vigilant and engage the public attention on the issues well in time to succeed. It is an on-going struggle that one has to wage on the issues. Architects give up if the concerned community and citizens are not involved actively in such struggles.

with best wishes,
Akhtar Chauhan
The history of the destruction of architecture
Dear Dr.Akhtar,

I agree with you, persistency should be our main strategy.

Our office was once asked to submit several ideas that would help genrate and develop the Gamalia district ( a part of historic Cairo). We submitted five projects that the commity in charge of Cairo's planning agreed that they were exactly what they wanted. After the end of our presentation I asked the head of the commity if at last we are going to contribute something to historic cairo (meaning me and my partner). The man asked me how long have we been doing this (working on ideas for historic cairo), I told him for nine years now he answered me laughing that he have been doing the same for 25 years.
We have a lot of ideas, concepts and researches but nothing major is taking place till now.

This doesnot mean that any of us will lose hope. It is the right of the country that we keep on trying.
Ahmed Sabry
The history of the destruction of architecture
Dear Ahmed,

First of all, let me thank you for the honorary doctorate that you have bestowed on me, I have yet to get one from some university. You may address me simply as Akhtar!

I would like to know more about your suggestions for the conservation of historic cairo. May be you should start a separate discussion topic on heritage conservation on ArchNet discussion forum.

I would like to suggest that you need to take your projects to people, communities, professionals, business persons, press and last but not the least to the Schools of Architecture!

You have to be constantly expressing your views and encouraging others to respond. The issue must be kept alive in the press. How about organising a group discussion in a popular cafe in the area? Or organising a heritage walk
in the area which is being destroyed ?
Please get some young architects to help you out with these events. The policy makers are not so insensitive to ignore such issues.

You may have Non-Government-Organisations for conservation of historic Cairo or key precincts and areas that need to be conserved. If not you should establish one for the area of your study.

Have you published brochures or booklets on the subject? You need these to create greater awareness among the citizens. Have you published articles or essays in general and architectural press? or you can now use internet and have a website for Conservation of Cairo!

Please do not give up your creative struggle to conserve historic Cairo. We owe it to the future generations!

with warm regards,
Akhtar Chauhan
The history of the destruction of architecture
This posting has some relevance to the topic, that is "Simulating the Ruin!" In a recent article entitled Contemporary Ruin published by Inform, an architecture and design magazine for the mid Atlantic region in the US. In the new addition to the Temple "Rodef Shalom" in Falls Church, Virginia, the architect James Ritter intended to remind congregants of Jerusalem, by covering the only visible facade with Jerusalem stone, piercing the wall with a variety of deeply shaded openings and creating a forest of columns carrying the roof. The article refers to the words of the architect "Recalling Jerusalem Ruins." It is interesting to see how the term "ruins" is used as metaphor by the architect in his descirption of the building!

photo source: Inform:#3-2003-P.20
Ashraf Salama
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