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New York


New York with intact skyline before the 11th of september
Photo by Michael Mehaffy ( www.tectics.com )

The brutal and murderous agression of New York and the destruction of the World Trade Center have profoundly shocked and grieved all of us. We express our condoleances to those who have been cruelly deprived of loved relatives and friends and we compassionate with the New Yorkers and Americans about the treacherous mutilation of their cherished and fascinating metropolis.


Photo by Pablo Redondo published by Architecture Ink

This is a page of commemoration and deference to New York and its citizen and it does not engage into architectural debates about skyscrapers, their symbolisms and their architectural and urbanistical shortcomings. This debate has been initiated in many places in very contrasting ways and will be continued in the significant context of the moral and physical reconstruction of Manhattan's WTC site. Katarxis will appropriately open its pages to this reflection on reconstruction in following editions with contributions by New Yorks architects and citizen and international professionals.


View of Manhattan, New York from the Queen Mary (1939)


Manhattan, New York, June 2000
Photography by spaceimaging.com (copyright)
Ikonos travels 432 miles above the earth at a speed of 17.500 miles per hour.


Manhattan, New York on September 12th 2001
Collected by Space Imaging's satellite Ikonos at 11:43 a.m E.D.T
(spaceimaging.com copyright)

The grief and pain of the World Trade Center tragedy can only be overcome in the civic process of reconstruction. It is not up to the architects and urbanists to decide about the height of skyscrapers, and the debate which arose on the ruins of the terrorist attack site is a legitimate and reasonable questioning of high-rise building types and their consequences on urban comfort...The new traditional architects, urbanists and planners will weigh in these discussions because they do, more than others consider legitimate popular expectations of comfort, permanence and beauty and of urban conviviality. Pursuing the common good in a project of moral and material reconstruction, they qualify for the authority of reason and common sense!

Reconstruction is based on memory. Rather than consacrating "Hybris" and "Vanity" in new challenges which some would like to tie to the symbolic essence of New York, it would be wiser to return to the genealogy of the typological and morphologic history of New York. There are many excellent publications on the subject, among which Robert A.M. Stern's excellent books on the urban history of New York should be commended.

Rebuilding the World Trade Center should be a celebration of the virtues of urban life and of the complex identity of Manhattan, rather than an architectural and a technological " tour de force ".


" Inventing the Skyline ", by Cass Gilbert ( Margret Heilbrun, editor )
New York Historical Society
Published at Columbia University Press

" Cass Gilbert's pioneering buildings injected vitality into skyscraper design....
Gilbert is most famous for his skyscrapers -" symbols of our national genius and unrestraints "- monuments of the Beaux-Arts " City Beautiful " aesthetic he embraced throughout his career. "
( Amazon.com )


" Sidewalk Critic: Lewis Mumford's Writings on New York "
Lewis Mumford, ( Robert Wojtowicz, editor )
Published at Princeton Architectural Press