preservation and MoMA’s proposed expansion

A discussion related to the April 2014 In Print article:

Re: severing the invisible hand

by ted landrum (04.14.14 01:26 pm)

I don't believe it is correct to assume that all of the critics of MoMA and DS+R's proposal have a reductive view of the merits and diverse practices of preservation (or for that matter, of adaptive reuse). Also, this case is exemplary: in the sense that, whatever happens to it, others may follow the precedent it will set; and it is unique, most especially in its richly loaded and representationally ambiguous facade. Recently I learned that the gesture of displaying an open hand, extended downward (as in the facade above), was once used by orators at the moment when they introduced a piece of persuasive evidence, or an argument, which could be understood as “self-evident” - some factor, which speaks so decisively as itself to prove a case. With this building, especially the facade, it is self-evident both that well-made architecture matters AND that it is human. Likewise, the corollary: to cut it down also matters, AND in ways that connect with motives that will rightly be felt as inhuman, even as they are carried out by human beings. Lex Talionis is a barbaric practice, all the more so in 2014.