Do You Believe in an Architectural Afterlife?

Using Baltimore's Memorial Stadium, which was demolished in 2001, as a case study, Keith Eggener argues that the life of a building isn't confined to its physical presence as a whole object.
October 27, 2012, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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When does life end? For an animal, or for a building, the answer to this elemental question seems elusive. "When does architecture, once started, stop?" asks Eggener. "Does it end when human occupation or attention terminates, when function or fabric are removed?"

"The cessation of a building's material presence might be one indicator of building death, but even this is not so clear-cut. Buildings, like people, regularly live on, not in abstract ethereal realms but in human memory and in the technologies and artifacts we use to support those memories." And in the case of Baltimore's beloved Memorial Stadium, which was dedicated to the memory of those who fought and served in World Wars I and II, "the building lives on today in some surprising and remarkably tangible ways," says Eggener.

In this long read, Eggener traces the building's birth, life, agonizing death, and odd afterlife as a parable of "the vulnerability, the mortality, of all things standing."

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Published on Monday, October 22, 2012 in Places
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