The MacLamity

The News That Stays News, Reported Live

Sunday, October 16, 2005

.

The BBC's Restoration has a natural counterpart in in Channel 4's new show. Sky should combine the two concepts into one program -- called let's say Re-start -- where you would choose an urban or rural area and vote on what era in its architectural history it should be returned to, if any. So the Bullring in Birmingham would be restored to its state in the 1930s. Place de Brouckere would be returned to the 1920s. And of course the old Penn Station would swallow Madison Square Garden whole. This wouldn't be as conservative a program as it sounds. The public would have to get away from saying they liked how things were before. They'd have to recognize that Architecture has historically usually been in a Silver or Bronze Age, 30% to 60% of what it makes is usually faddish and awful. But those awful buildings are necessary in order to make good buildings. A Dark Age occurs when too many buildings are knocked down, meaning that the 40%-70% of new buildings that are decent-to-excellent cannot make up for the truly wonderful ones that get knocked down in the rush.