Keeping At Least The “Image” of A Place

A lot of people actually don’t give a dime about the value of historic preservation. They see old buildings as obstacles to growth and “redevelopment” of a city. Buildings and other larger physical elements that have been at the same place for a long has actually contributed to the collective memory that we have of that place. Trafalgar Square would not be the same without the National Gallery in the back; San Francisco’s Powell Station Plaza would also be very different if there is no more cable car there. The way our brains construct the image of a place has a lot to do with the built world. Tourists go to a certain destination because they are attracted to the image they have of that place. It would be “wrong” if they don’t find the “Bean” at the Millennium Park or the sculptures of lions in front of the Chicago Institute of Arts. The “image” of a place does have an economical value that cannot be easily measured in dollars.

As shown in photos above, the least you can do to save the image of a place is to physically retain the facade of the buildings around it. It may seem a little too superficial, but at least the facade is genuine. What’s worse is destroying the original building and then rebuilding the old facade with new materials and new technologies. This would end up looking really fake.

grand circus park, detroit – 4:39pm, mar 24, 2010


2 thoughts on “Keeping At Least The “Image” of A Place

    • kam says:

      Thanks for the note. I guess the result of “facadisme” isn’t quite satisfactory, as described by wikipedia that “The term “façadism” also entered the everyday language to describe things or concepts superficial, without depth or have a semblance of functionality.”!


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