PRINT March 2006

Aaron Betsky

Morphosis, Diamond Ranch High School, 1999, Pomona, California. Photo: Tim Hursley.

WHAT IS TO BE DONE? Faced with the overwhelming devastation of New Orleans, architects, urban planners, and civil engineers around the world have for months now been asking themselves that obvious question—and others implied by this confrontation between man-made form and nature. Can the art of building solve problems created not by nature alone but by the very ways in which we have historically tried to conquer its potent forces? And on a more practical level, can architecture provide structures that are more logical, just, and useful than those now seemingly ordained by the economic and political powers that be (and not just in the Big Easy)? These, at any rate, were the questions we asked ourselves as the possible contours of a rebuilt New Orleans began to emerge from the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina. The situation in New Orleans, it seemed to us, was only an extreme

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