Skip to comments.World Trade Center Architecture
Posted on 10/13/2001 9:21:55 PM PDT by John Jamieson
I don't believe I've ever seen a discussion of the architecture of the World Trade Center. From a distance, the WTC looks like two simple towers, but up close, at street level, I think it looked kind of Islamic. I was struct by how much even the ruins of the facade looked like scenes of recent architecural elements shown on TV, in Pakistan. bin Laden hates us for many reasons, but did he have extra hate for this building? See link for photo.
So, what can we say about the arch and its origin? Seems to me its not really attributable to one culture or another. It's more of an architectural inevitability, given the building materials of early times, and has been discovered and rediscovered, semingly independently, in different cultures and at different times.
It's very difficult to argue that the Greeks didn't perfect the column - of course they did. I suppose you could argue the relative perfection of each order, as the canons changed, but that would be subjective and really off topic, I think.
Monumental structures of the 21st century? What a tantalizing subject! Buildings made of RTV, Corten and crushed safety glass? Decorated with holograms of the great documents of art history?
A serious thought: I think we ought to consider going down into the earth than building upon it.
And, as you suggest a little further down in your post, TPTB are as vulnerable to primal fears as anyone else. Fear dictating taste? Perhaps.
But, as you said, we might shift to a new Dark Age mentality and hunker down, and our monuments might reflect that. Fortresses and bunkers.
Actually I was thinking about the zeitgeist of the 21st century. The 20th was dominated by the phallus; The Eiffel Tower, the skyscrapers, Freud. My idea was that perhaps the 21st would be dominated by the oomphalos, the attachment to the mother. Or perhaps you are correct; and all this has made me want to assume a fetal position!! ; Perfectly understandable.
All through architectural history we have had our ups and downs, depending on our overall outlook. At this moment, a sense of security appears to be the prevailing idea that will influence the new style
What can you foresee? I rather like the idea of rubber buildings fortified with crushed glass myself.
Yep, those entrance-way arches are Gothic.
The WTC towers were very controlversial. They used a new structural method in which the floors were suspended only at the periphery and at the elevator core. There were two alarms given even before the buildings were completed.
First, there were published articles in engineering journals saying that failure of the trusses of a single floor or of the connections of a floor to its supports would cause pancaking of all floors below it in a process that would bring down the entire building. This is almost certainly what happened as seen from the videos of the buildings' collapse.
Second, the use of asbestos to cover the steel and protect it from the heat of a fire was stopped (by environmental regulations) when the buildings reached 70 stories high. The man doing the asbestos installation, named Levine, correctly and precisely predicted that a major fire above the 70th floor in either building would bring down the entire building secondary to weakening of the relatively light steel trusses carrying the floor spans between their connections at the periphery and the core. Collapse of a floor would collapse the entire structure due to the pancaking described above.
I think that the special about the construction and engineering design is on the History Channel as follows:
The World Trade Center Wednesday, October 17 10:00 PM-11:00 PM Eastern time, repeated at 2:00 AM (11PM Pacific time)
A historical look at the technological engineering of the World Trade Center.
With no disrespect to the WTC, I believe a pyramid shape would have done better -- is in the San Francisco skyscraper. Less weight from above, possibly a less catastrophic failure.
Main Entry: ap·pro·ba·tion
Date: 14th century
a: an act of approving formally or officially
b : COMMENDATION, PRAISE