Website Worth domain valuewebsite worth domain value How the demolition of a practice station modified America - Flowing News

How the demolition of a practice station modified America

On the coronary heart of the continuing debate on the potential demolition of TSC and Kamalapur Railway Station in Dhaka is an previous philosophical dilemma—learn how to progress whereas retaining some loyalty to historical past, a key concern of many 20th century philosophers, equivalent to Paul Ricoeur. The connection between progress and historical past may simply be diminished to one among hostility. If progress or modernisation is seen as a one-directional march in the direction of an improved state of life, issues that presumably signify historical past could also be thought-about impediments to it and, due to this fact, their elimination is justified within the identify of progress. What’s denied on this falsely simplified equation is the opportunity of a symbiotic relationship between progress and historical past.

This debate has a protracted report in 20th century city improvement. The talk deserves a revisit within the context of the present plans to take down such iconic constructions as TSC and Kamalapur Railway Station. The expertise of the West within the final century could possibly be instructive for city directors in growing nations.

Allow us to contemplate the contentious case of one other railway station: New York’s Pennsylvania Station. Designed by the acclaimed architectural agency McKim, Mead and White in 1910, this neoclassical constructing served, each actually and symbolically, as a gateway to New York Metropolis (just like the position Kamalapur performed 50 years later). The biggest station on this planet on the time of its inauguration, with a concourse longer than the nave of St Peter’s in Rome and a light-filled ready room 148-feet excessive, Penn Station was meant to be a hovering civic monument to America’s technological prowess and rising world stature within the early 20th century.

By the mid-1950s, nevertheless, its future grew to become unsure as practice journey declined because of the rise of automotive and air journey. Yearly monetary loss grew to become a headache. Whereas the edifice continued to function an city attraction for architects, photographers, filmmakers and vacationers, many observers discovered its practice degree, entrances and exits complicated.

Regardless of protests from main architects, artists, critics and the general public, the demolition of Penn Station started in 1963. No authorized instruments to stop the destruction of historic buildings existed on the time within the US. Moreover, a demolition frenzy marked the post-World Conflict II interval in America as rebuilding grew to become a key driver of modernisation. It was an period of what was often called City Renewal—an city “cleaning” coverage of demolishing huge swaths of metropolis blocks, dense neighbourhoods, congested housing complexes, “out of date” historic constructions and enterprise districts to compensate for a fast inhabitants and enterprise decline within the metropolis centre, on the one hand, and accommodate new developments and automobile-centric planning, on the opposite. That was the euphoric period of progress.

Penn Station would have been simply one other constructing that was razed and tossed into historical past’s dustbin. However this time, it was totally different. The lack of the long-lasting transportation hub, utilized by hundreds of thousands of commuters and vacationers, was a watershed in elevating public consciousness on historic preservation within the US. In 1965, President Lyndon B Johnson appointed a particular committee to look at the state of heritage safety. A yr later (the demolition of Penn Station was full by then), the US Congress handed the primary nationwide coverage governing preservation: The Nationwide Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Earlier preservation measures—the Antiquities Act of 1906 and the Historic Websites Act of 1935—had didn’t do what the NHPA may start to perform from the 1960s onward.

The regulation not solely helped formalise and professionalise historic preservation as a course of but additionally spawned different helpful preservation measures, together with the President’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations. The Nationwide Register created a authorized foundation for shielding particular person buildings, districts and archeological websites throughout the US that have been thought-about witness to nationwide and regional narratives.

In growing nations right this moment, there is a vital lesson to be realized from the American expertise of the NHPA. The regulation empowered American cities and communities to inform their distinctive tales by the preservation of buildings and websites that they cherish as a part of their historical past. It’s a truism that there is no such thing as a pleasure to go to a metropolis crammed with acquainted buildings, acquainted restaurant chains and a well-known enterprise district. There’s a motive that folks like to go to Rome, Venice, Paris, London, Prague and Kolkata, amongst many different cities with a robust historic-preservation tradition. Within the period of globalisation, when world firms perpetuate city sameness within the identify of good cities, historic preservation as a singular means of storytelling could possibly be each a cultural draw and an financial enhance. Analysis exhibits {that a} metropolis with a singular city character is in reality good economics. Heritage tourism bolsters native economies, helps construct social capital and creates jobs. Each native and international traders are interested in a singular metropolis as a result of there are areas for brand spanking new alternatives and folks hungry for experimentation. From Hanoi to Marrakesh, Seoul to Shanghai, I’ve seen in latest occasions how cities are making efforts to protect their historic buildings and neighbourhoods.

Improvement, insensitive to what it replaces, could possibly be a everlasting wound. Outdated Penn Station’s fashionable substitute, together with Madison Sq. Backyard (the venue of the 1971 Live performance for Bangladesh) and the adjoining business constructing, has drawn a lot derision for its lack of creativeness. Recalling the civic worth of the unique station, architectural historian Vincent Scully sarcastically wrote: “One entered town like a god; one scuttles in now like a rat.” Developments can each modernise and traumatise on the identical time. Historic reminiscence is a robust driver of feeling citizenship.

Preservation doesn’t should freeze a heritage constructing right into a glorified museum and snuff out the vitality of its on a regular basis life. Immediately, “adaptive reuse” of historic buildings has grow to be a dynamic and economically vibrant various to the demolition-and-replacement mannequin of improvement. Adaptive-reuse initiatives usually protect the outside of a constructing, retrofit it with fashionable facilities, and repurpose its inside for a brand new suitable use. An deserted manufacturing unit may grow to be a museum or a housing advanced. This fashion the historic constructing is protected, whereas it’s infused with a brand new financial and social life. Adaptive-reuse initiatives are gaining traction all over the world since they provide a win-win scenario.

Two of my favorite examples of adaptive-reuse initiatives are London’s Tate Fashionable (2000) and Cape City’s Zeitz Museum of Modern Artwork Africa (2017).

Bankside Energy Station, a mid-20th century oil-fired energy station on the banks of the Thames that ceased operations in 1981, was set to be demolished. However group marketing campaign saved the long-lasting industrial constructing from the wrecking ball. Within the mid-1990s, Swedish architects Herzog and de Meuron remodeled the deserted constructing into probably the most visited fashionable artwork museums on this planet and one of many UK’s prime three vacationer points of interest. The mammoth turbine corridor of the facility station grew to become an impressive, repurposed artwork gallery. Greater than 40 million folks have visited the power-station-turned-museum since its inauguration in 2000, whereas producing on common GBP 100 million in financial advantages to London yearly.

London-based architectural agency Heatherwick Studio transformed a virtually 100-year-old grain silo in Cape City’s Victoria and Alfred Waterfront into what has grow to be one among Africa’s best-known museums: the Zietz Museum of Modern Artwork Africa. It’s the world’s largest repository of up to date artwork from Africa. Deserted because the 1990s and the tallest constructing in Sub-Saharan Africa, the grain silo’s 116 large concrete tubes have been sliced inside to create an enormous central atrium and 80 interconnected galleries throughout 9 flooring, with a rooftop sculptor backyard, restaurant and The Silo Resort. All of this was made doable with out sacrificing the unique industrial expertise of a grain silo. A derelict constructing doesn’t all the time should be demolished. It may be given a brand new life. All one wants is a little bit of cultural aspiration and a artistic need to tackle a problem.

Improvement is crucial. A metropolis can’t be static. It must accommodate inhabitants development and meet financial objectives. Infrastructure should be constructed to modernise a metropolis. However all of that is doable with out sacrificing the buildings and websites that function symbols of a folks’s historic reminiscence. I’ve written earlier than on why TSC and Kamalapur needs to be preserved in sync with new improvement plans. These beloved buildings could possibly be tailored to the calls for of our time. They don’t have to be demolished. They’re Dhaka’s quintessential tales. We’d like these tales, perhaps with a number of new characters and a little bit of plot twists.

Adnan Zillur Morshed is a professor of structure on the Catholic College of America in Washington, DC. He additionally serves as Govt Director of the Centre for Inclusive Structure and Urbanism at BRAC College. He’s the writer of DAC, Dhaka in 25 Buildings (Altrim Publishers, 2017). Electronic mail:

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