When is Historic Preservation Just Misplaced Nostalgia?

With projects in the U.S. and the U.K., architect Rafael Vinoly attempts to navigate "the hazy and treacherous borderlands that lie between architectural history and public nostalgia."

The famed architect is working on two projects revamping beloved industrial buildings; London's Battersea Power Station is famous for appearing on a Pink Floyd album cover, while the Domino Sugar Refinery in Williamsburg is famous for its 40 ft. sign.

Wayne Curtis of The Atlantic, who interviewed Vinoly, injects his own opinion into the story. He writes:

"Cities are living projects, and must be constantly edited, often by an invisible hand-one structure needs to be deleted to make room for another, an early draft of this neighborhood is recast in a newer, tighter form. If nostalgia rules the day, nothing changes, nothing moves forward."

Vinoly has mixed opinions, but expresses some wonder that these industrial hulks are so beloved.

Thanks to Richard Florida

Full Story: The Nostalgia Trap



Nostalgia or Revulsion

I agree that those industrial hulks should be demolished and replaced with human-scale neighborhoods.

But maybe people are objecting not because they love the industrial hulks but because they are revolted by the sort of building that Rafael Vinoly designs.

For example, look at his design at
He has managed to design a building that is more inhuman and more hulking than that old Domino Sugar factory.

Charles Siegel

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